The United States has said it will not give the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) the $7 million bounty it earlier placed on the late leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau.

PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday published a report by Humangle indicting that Mr Shekau had died in his hideout in Sambisa forest.

According to the news platform, the incident occurred on Wednesday evening following the invasion of the terror group’s stronghold in the Sambisa forest area by a column of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters.

ISWAP, which had broken away from the Shekau-led Boko Haram faction in 2016 after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), raided the group’s hideout using multiple gun trucks.

Mr Shekau’s fighters were also said to have been killed in the process, followed by a gunfire exchange between the invading group and his bodyguards.

$7 million bounty

The United States Government had in 2020 placed a $7 million (N2.5 billion) bounty for information that leads to the arrest of Mr Shekau.

The U.S. made the announcement via a tweet by the U.S Department of Rewards for Justice Programme.

“The United States Department of State is offering a reward of up to $7 million for information leading to the arrest of the terrorist Abubakar Shekau, boss of #BokoHaram.

The U.S. State Department, while reacting to the death of the terrorist on Friday, said the bounty was not meant for a group under ISIS.

“News reports today indicate that Boko Haram terrorist Abubakar Shekau blew himself up in a confrontation with ISIS affiliates. Hey, ISIS guys. To clarify: no – you are not eligible for the reward for information on his identity or location. That’s not how the program works,” the US State Department for justice tweeted.

Mr Shekau took over the leadership of the deadly Boko Haram group in 2010 following the killing of Mohammed Yusuf, its former leader.

He garnered public attention in 2014 globally following the abduction of over 300 female school children from a school in Chibok, Borno State.

The development later generated a social media outburst campaign across the world with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls among celebrities, activists and former US first lady Michelle Obama.

In June 2012, the United States Department of State designated Mr Shekau as a terrorist and offered a reward of up to $7 million (£4.6m) for information about his location.

On June 21, 2012, the country designated Mr Shekau a “specially designated global terrorist” under executive order 13224.

The Boko Haram group kicked off as a religious institution and a critic of the affairs of the government. In 2014, it regenerated to neighbouring Chad basin countries in Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

It has caused the death of over 35,000 persons in the ongoing crises in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states and other parts of Nigeria since the beginning of the conflict in 2009, according to the UN.

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