- Maiduguri residents are happy over the news of the alleged death of the Boko Haram, leader Shekau
- Many of the residents prayed the news was true, noting that Shekau's death will be a positive development in the anti-insurgency fight
- Some unverified media reports claimed a rival terrorist group, ISWAP, invaded Shekau’s stronghold in Sambisa Forest and killed him
Some residents of Maiduguri, Borno state have expressed delight over the widely reported alleged death of a Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.
A cross-section of residents on Friday, May 21, expressed excitement over the news and prayed it was true, Premium Times reported, adding that the resident spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
A member of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) who simply identified himself as Lawan was quoted to have said:
“I am happy like others in Borno about this news and pray it’s real.
“I also pray that the development will serve as a major breakthrough that will facilitate the end of this crisis.’’
A student named Sadiq Ibrahim also said the news signified that something positive was about to happen for the people who had been praying for an end to the insurgency, Daily Nigerian also reported.
“We have been praying over the years and even observed special prayers during the just-concluded Ramadan for divine intervention and it seems God has answered our prayers."
Bala Musa, a driver, said that the news was a big relief to the public who yearned for an end to the insurgency.
“People are happy about this development and we hope it’s true.
“If you observe, wherever you see a group of excited people discussing when the news broke out, the issue of discussion by such groups is Shekau’s death.
“We hope our security forces will seize this opportunity of the conflict among the insurgents, to further degrade them."
Nigerians on social media have also reacted to the unverified reports which claimed that Shekau, had been killed.
The reports which emanated on Thursday morning, May 20, alleged that a rival terrorist group, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), invaded Shekau’s stronghold in Sambisa Forest and killed him.
Another account claimed that after a gun battle, Shekau surrendered to the ISWAP fighters and was asked to pledge allegiance to ISWAP’s authority. While the ISWAP delegation expected Shekau to issue a statement, the factional Boko Haram leader who secretly had a suicide vest on eventually blew himself up, the account stated.
Nigerian military reacts
The Nigerian military said it is yet to receive information on the reported death of the Boko Haram sect leader.
Brig.-Gen. Bernard Onyeuko, the acting director, Defence Media Operations, stated that he didn’t have information concerning the incident.