The name of the Boko Haram commander killed by Nigerian troops, popularly referred to as “Abubakar Shekau” and seen appearing in many Boko Haram propaganda videos has been revealed to be Isa Damsaka.
Damsaka, who went by two other monikers – Bashir Konduga and Bashir Mohammed – was killed by soldiers in Konduga, Borno state after an ambush.
Details about Damsaka are few and far fetched, he is thought to be of Kanuri origin, with fluency in Arabic and Hausa languages, which he used sparingly in his videos and little or no understanding of English language.
The real Shekau had in 2009 taken over the reins of power of the sect after the killing of the founding leader of the insurgent group, Yusuf Mohammed and was announced to have been killed twice – in Maiduguri (2009) and in Sambisa forest (2013) – although he came out twice refuting the claims. A top military source disclosed that he was finally killed around mid-June in 2013.
Following his passing away, Boko Haram commanders appointed Damsaka as Shekau’s replacement, still posing as Shekau and maintaining his name which has been used in many a propaganda video by the terror group.
In one of such videos Damsaka, posing as Shekau denied being “dead” as claimed by the Nigerian media. He said: “The world should know that I cannot die except by the will of Allah. They said I am dead, but here I am. The world should know that I am alive and will only die at the appointed time. Everybody should be judged according to the dictates of his conscience.”
In the video he further mocked the efforts of the Nigerian military and the federal government. He said those who were underestimating his powers should have a rethink as he will never allow democracy thrive in the country as it will be replaced by a government of Allah, from Allah and for Allah.
The unnamed official also disclosed that Damsaka’s video messages were pre-written by another unknown commander as the real Shekau had a firmer grip of English language than Damsaka and appeared more composed.
“You would notice that Damsaka was not always coherent and was more dramatic in his video outings, sometimes appearing to be mentally deranged,” the official said.
Damsaka has made many pronouncement on behalf of the group, including the kidnap of over 200 girls from a school in Chibok, Borno state, the bombings in Plateau, Abuja, Kaduna, Kano and Lagos and only recently declared the creation of a caliphate in parts of north eastern Nigeria.
The officers assured that the Defence Headquarters will soon address the nation after full investigation of their latest discovery.
SLIDESHOW: PHOTOS From The Battle In Konduga, Borno In Which Hundreds Of Boko Haram Fighters Were Killed