Two days ago, Nigerian security forces claimed to have killed a top Boko Haram militant commander and six of his “lieutenants” in the northeastern city of Maiduguri. Ibn Saleh Ibrahim, a lead suspect in last month’s assassination of retired war hero General Mohammed Shuwa at his Gwange residence, was reportedly killed along with six of his associates during a fierce clash with the Nigerian Joint Task Force (JTF) and State Security Services (SSS). Boko Haram has not yet commented on whether Ibn Saleh Ibrahim has been killed.
Nigerian military officials have indicated that Ibn Saleh Ibrahim was a close confidant of Abubaker Shekau, the alleged emir of Boko Haram, and that he had a reputation for “invincibility,” according to the AfricaNews Monitoring Team and the BBC.
The International Business Times reports:
“It took the efforts of the combined troops of the Joint Task Force operation to restore order in Borno, 333 Air Defence Regiment, The Department of State Security Services and supported by Armoured personnel carriers with Helicopters, which conducted a major offensive operation against the insurgence to get at the top commander and his foot soldiers,” a JTF statement read.
“During the offensive and in a counter-attack, a major commander of the Boko Haram terrorists commanding the north-west and north-east of Maiduguri by the name Ibn Saleh Ibrahim with some of his foot soldiers, was killed by the JTF troops.”
If confirmed, the death of Ibn Saleh Ibrahim will mark the latest blow against Boko Haram, which has already sustained a series of blows conducted by the JTF and SSS elements in northeastern Nigeria. Nigerian officials have often prematurely claimed the capture or death of senior Boko Haram commanders, however.
Abu Qaqa, the official spokesman for Boko Haram, was reportedly arrested by Nigerian forces in February of this year, a claim dismissed by Boko Haram. Nigerian officials later claimed that Abu Qaqa was killed at a security checkpoint in mid-September near the northern city of Kano, but again, Boko Haram dismissed the report, on Oct. 2.