Nigeria

Report: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau’s death only escalated ISWAP terrorism

A Nigerian scholar, Prof. Isaac Olawale Albert, said that though notorious ex-Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, may have been killed, the Boko Haram crisis is far from being over.

According to him, the death of Shekau only escalated the lingering terrorism acts perpetrated by the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP).

“What is most likely to happen now is that the ‘super camp’ strategy of the Nigerian military will suffer more threats as the two factions of Boko Haram now target them,” he said.

Albert stated these in a report published by the Journal of International Affairs, recently.

“What is emerging is that Shekau’s death is favouring ISWAP more than it is favouring the Nigerian state. It has helped to unite the two factions of Boko Haram, now in the hands of ISWAP, which is notorious for attacking military bases and locations,” he said.

In the report obtained by PRNigeria, the renowned don observed that ISWAP’s policy of establishing friendly relationships with the communities in which it operates is likely to make local communities less cooperative with government fighting forces.

Pointing out that the Nigerian military is doing its best to ensure that the insurgents do not have it all their own way, Prof. Albert, said that if the present rate at which Boko Haram members are surrendering to the Nigerian military continues, and if those who surrender are handled more transparently, Nigeria could soon begin to see a drastic reduction in the Boko Haram crisis.

“The death of Shekau matters for Nigeria’s neighbours and for the rest of the world. The fact remains that the Boko Haram crisis is not just a Nigerian problem. ISIS seeks to use ISWAP (now in control of Boko Haram) as one of its channels for turning West Africa into a safe haven, given the problems it is facing elsewhere.

“One sign of the things to come was the decision by ISIS headquarters to reshuffle the leadership and shura council of ISWAP immediately after Shekau’s death. This is more likely to reflect global strategy than to be a coincidence,” he said.

Isaac Olawale Albert is a Professor of African History, Peace and Conflict Studies and the pioneer Director of the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies (IPSS), University of Ibadan.

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