Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram leader, has allegedly suffered serious injuries after trying to kill himself to avoid capture during clashes with rival Islamic State-allied jihadists in northern Nigeria.
According to one intelligence source on Thursday, “Shekau shot himself in the chest and the bullet pierced his shoulder.”
Shekau has been reported dead multiple times.
His Boko Haram faction and fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) have been battling for control of territory.
The source said ISWAP jihadists surrounded Shekau and his men on Wednesday in Boko Haram’s Sambisa forest stronghold.
Another intelligence source said Shekau was critically wounded after detonating explosives in the house where he was holed up with his men.
The Nigerian Army did not immediately respond to the AFP’s requests for confirmation of the incident.
Shekau took over Boko Haram, formally known as the Jama’tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, after its founder Muhammad Yusuf was killed by police in 2009.
Angered by Shekau’s indiscriminate targeting of civilians and use of women and children suicide bombers, a rival faction broke away in 2016 to become ISWAP with the backing of the Islamic State group.