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Boko Haram leader Shekau 'may be dead'

20 August 2013, 13:32

Cape Town - The Nigerian military has said that terrorist leader Abubakar Shekau of Islamist sect Boko Haram "may have died".

Shekau may have died of injuries suffered during an attack in June on Boko Haram in Borno State's Sambisa forest, newspaper This Day reported on Tuesday citing a military statement.

He was then taken to neighbouring Cameroon, the report said. 

Shekau is wanted internationally, and the United States offered a 7-million-dollar reward for his capture in June.

"Intelligence reports available to the Joint Task Force, Operation Restore Order, revealed that Abubakar Shekau, the most dreaded and wanted Boko Haram terrorist leader, may have died," said Sagir Musa, the JTF spokesperson in north-eastern Borno State.

But earlier this month, Boko Haram released a video of Shekau in which he claims responsibility for two attacks on military camps in Mallam Fatori in Borno State on 4 August and calls for war against Nigeria and the US.

Borno is one of three northern states that the government placed under a state of emergency in May to curb attacks by Boko Haram.

Boko Haram, which means "Western education is sinful", has been active in the Muslim north of the West African country, regularly carrying out attacks aimed primarily at Christians.

Since 2009, about 1 500 people have been killed in the attacks. Boko Haram has been fighting for an Islamic state in the region.



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