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Shekau Was Almost Killed In 2012 - CNN

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1 Shekau Was Almost Killed In 2012 - CNN on 9th May 2014, 2:32 pm


The Nigerian military has touted Shekau's death several
times, only to retract its claim after he appeared alive
and vibrant in propaganda videos.
They almost got him in September 2012 when they
raided his home, where he had snuck in for his six-day-
old baby's naming ceremony, according to the
International Crisis Group. He managed to get away
with a gunshot wound to the leg; his wife and three
children were taken by the military.
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With Shekau (whose nom de guerre is Imam Abu
Mohammed Abubakar bin Muhammed Shekau) at the
helm of its most significant faction (see below), Boko
Haram has grown more ruthless, violent and destructive
and less open to dialogue. Perhaps most audacious were
its suicide bombings in Abuja of the police headquarters
and the UN building in June and August 2011.
The security forces became more aggressive in turn in
September 2012. On 22 September, troops slapped
round-the-clock curfews on three cities in the North
East, Damaturu, Potiskum and Mubi, killed 36
suspected militants, including a top sect commander
and arrested more than 200 in house-to-house raids.
Two days later they stormed a Boko Haram enclave in
Damaturu, including Shekau’s home. They almost
caught him – he had sneaked in the day before for the
naming ceremony of his six-day old baby. Fighting was
fierce: 35 militants were killed and two soldiers injured.
Shekau escaped, with a thigh wound; his wife and three
children were taken into military custody. Three SUVs,
seven laptops and a large arms cache reportedly were
recovered from the house.
Shekau was said to have been spirited to Gao, in
northern Mali, when it was held by Islamist armed
This is one reason Nigerian troops were deployed to Mali
in January 2013 to support the French Operation Serval
that expelled Ansar Dine and the Movement for Oneness
and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) from that country’s
northern cities.
Shekau now reportedly travels frequently to Niger and
Cameroon, facilitated by his Kanuri ethnicity and the
long, porous borders. He re-
surfaced in 2013, however, in internet videos
demanding the release of detained Boko Haram women
and children (presumably including his own family).
A top commander, Abubakar Yola, alias Abu Jihad, was
killed in a shoot-out with troops in Mubi, where 156
suspected members were rounded up. Other factions
were neutralised following the capture or killing of their
On 17 September 2012, soldiers shot dead a sect
spokesman, alias Abul Qaqa, outside Kano, along with
the sect commander in charge of central Kogi and
Kaduna states and Abuja.
This was a significant blow, a source close to the sect
said, because the two were considered its “think-tank”.
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