By Dan Wooding, who was born in Nigeria and is the founder of the ASSIST News Service
CHAD, AFRICA (ANS – August 13, 2015) — Abubakar Shekau, the brutal head of the Boko Haram Islamist terror group, has been ousted and replaced by his deputy according to Idriss Déby, the President of neighboring Chad.
A story posted on the Nigerian-based website — http://www.tori.ng –- says that if the security reports of the president of Chad, Idriss Déby, are to go by, world renowned terrorist and the leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, has been removed from the position of leadership and consequently replaced by his deputy, Mahamat Daoud.
President Idriss Déby revealed this surprise information during a press conference on Tuesday, August 11, 2015, in which he also said that Boko Haram is “losing the way” and would be “annihilated” by the end of this year.
Déby said, “There is someone apparently called Mahamat Daoud who is said to have replaced Abubakr Shekau and he wants to negotiate with the Nigerian government. For my part, I would advise not to negotiate with a terrorist.”
Mr. Shekau has not featured in the group’s recent videos, leading to speculation that he has been killed.
The website stated that the source of his information is “currently unknown” as Abubakar Shekau was reported to have relocated due to increased military operations by the Nigerian and Chadian soldiers.
Mr. Déby was speaking to reporters in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena, on the 55th anniversary of Chad’s independence from France.
“His claims that Boko Haram are facing imminent defeat will be questioned by some, however, given the carnage the group has wreaked in recent days across its strongholds in north-east Nigeria,” added the Nigerian website.
“While claiming progress in the fight against the jihadists, who have repeatedly hit border areas of Cameroon, Chad and Niger, President Déby admitted that suicide bombers still posed a threat.
But he added: “Boko Haram is decapitated. There are little groups [of Boko Haram members] scattered throughout east Nigeria, on the border with Cameroon. It is within our power to definitively overcome Boko Haram.”
He went on to say, “Abubakar Shekau must surrender. We know where he is. If he doesn’t give himself up, he will suffer the same fate as his compatriots. He [Shekau] was in Dikwa (in Borno State, Nigeria) two days ago. He managed to get away but we know where he is. It’s in his interests to surrender.”
The BBC says that the last Boko Haram video, which was released earlier this month, showed an unidentified young man speaking in the name of the Islamic State in West Africa calling on people to be patient: “We are still present everywhere we had been before.”
He spoke in the regional Hausa language, with an accent from the Kanuri ethnic group, to which Mr. Shekau belongs.
In numerous videos, Mr. Shekau has taunted the Nigerian authorities, celebrating the group’s violent acts including the abduction of the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls in April 2014.
He was last heard from in March, when he released an audio message pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group.
Last month, Nigeria’s new President Muhammadu Buhari said he would be willing to negotiate with the Boko Haram leadership for the release of the Chibok girls – depending on the credibility of those saying they represented the group.
Photo captions: 1) Abubakar Shekau was the leader of the Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which been behind a deadly insurgency in the north-east of the country for the last five years, and has now been replaced. 2) This unidentified man spoke in the last Boko Haram video earlier this month (BBC). 3) Idriss Déby, the President of Chad. 4) Norma and Dan Wooding (PHoto: Bryan Seltzer)
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 74, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He has written some 45 books and has reported for ANS from all over the world.
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