The United States yesterday expressed doubts over claims by the Nigerian military that Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau had been killed in recent clashes with troops.
According to a senior State Department official who spoke with reporters, “ the Nigerian government has announced several times that the head of Boko Haram was dead, and every single time, we find out that it is not true.
“What I read recently is that Shekau’s lookalike or some Shekau impostor was killed and then I read later that maybe, Shekau himself was killed. I don’t put a lot of weight on those stories until we see more evidence,” the official added, asking not to be identified.
The Nigerian Defense Ministry had, on Wednesday, said that Shekau was dead and that one Bashir Mohammed, killed during recent clashes with troops, was a lookalike who had been impersonating him in videos.
The announcement makes it the first time that the military high command will be confirming the death of Shekau, after refusing to validate two previous claims from police and a regional task force in 2009 and 2013.
But analysts have also dismissed the report, saying it was a propaganda. The State Department official equally maintained that Boko Haram was still carrying out attacks.
The official held that the United States remains committed in trying to find some 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the militant group in April, which he acknowledged was “a huge challenge” stressing that “many of them were taken into the forest and given the long time in the hands of the terrorists, it is possible that many
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