President of Chad, Idriss Deby, has claimed that Boko Haram sect has replaced its leader, Abubakar Shekau with his deputy, Mahamat Daoud, who is willing to dialogue with the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Among other atrocities, Shekau had claimed responsibility for the kidnap of the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls on April 14, 2014.
Deby, whose forces have been fighting Boko Haram militants around Nigeria’s borders, made the comments at a press conference on Tuesday in which he claimed that the group was now on the back foot militarily, and would be finished “by the end of the year.”
He said: “There is someone apparently called Mahamat Daoud who is said to have replaced Abubakar Shekau and he wants to negotiate with the Nigerian government,”, adding that, “For my part, I would advise not to negotiate with a terrorist.”
Agency reports yesterday said it was not clear how Deby obtained the information, although rumours had been circulating for months that Shekau had been on the run or even fled Nigeria altogether as a result of increased military operations against Boko Haram by both the Nigerian and Chadian governments.
Little seems known as of yet about the man named by Deby as his successor, whose name may well be a nom de guerre.
“I have not heard of any individual called Mahamat Daoud,” said Dr. Jonathan Hill, a Reader in the Defence Studies Department at London’s King’s College, who monitors Boko Haram’s activities closely. “But there are a number of characters claiming to represent different factions within Boko Haram, and their bona fides are often hard to verify.”
Deby disclosed the new leadership of Boko Haram to reporters in N’Djamena, the Chadian capital on the 55th anniversary of the country’s independence from France. His claims that Boko Haram are facing imminent defeat will be questioned by some, however, given the carnage the group has wreaked in recent days across its strongholds in north-east Nigeria.
Deby said: “The war will be short, with the setting up of the regional force; it will be over by the end of the year.

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