Army forces have killed a man suspected of acting as a Boko Haram group leader, Nigeria’s Defence Ministry stated.
Security forces have been engaged in clashes with Boko Haram militants over the past week in the city of Maiduguri, in the north eastern state of Borno.
“In the course of those encounters, Mohamed Bashir, who has been acting or posing on videos as the deceased Abubakar Shekau, the eccentric character known as leader of the group, died,” the ministry stated.
Several other Boko Haram fighters also died in the latest fighting, and a number were captured, the Defence Ministry said.
“Since the name Shekau has become a brand name for the terrorist’s leader, the Nigerian military is resolute in delivering justice to anyone who assumes that designation or title,” the ministry added.
The terrorist group abducted an estimated 276 girls in April this year from a boarding school in Chibok, north eastern Nigeria. Dozens escaped, but more than 200 are still missing.
Boko Haram was established in 2002, led by a cleric named Mohamed Yusuf, who was pushing for a pure Islamic state.
The name ‘Boko Haram’ translates into ‘Western education is sin’ in the local Hausa language.
Yusuf was killed by police in 2009, and Abubakar Shekau took over the group.
Boko Haram has for several years been engaged in a bloody conflict with the government, as the group is attempting to establish an Islamic caliphate in West Africa.
Much of this violence has been in the Yobe, Kano, Bauchi, Borno and Kaduna states in the country’s north and east, though the national capital, Abuja, has also been hit.
In July 2014, Nigeria was estimated to have the highest number of terrorist killings in the world over the past year, with 3,477 killed in 146 attacks, according to local officials.