Collectively more than 260 militants from the terrorist group Boko Haram have surrendered in north-eastern Nigeria, according to the military.
The surrender to Nigerian authorities follows the news that the military had killed the man who commonly seen in Boko Haram propaganda videos, Mohammed Bashir, who “had been acting or posing in videos as the deceased Abubkar Shekau, the eccentric character known as leader of the group”, claimed by Defence spokesman Major-General Chris Olukolade.
However the military had said last year in August that Shekau may have died weeks after being wounded in a clash with soldiers, and failed to show proof.
This time Nigeria has released pictures showing the alleged leader’s body and detainees sitting on the floor.
On Tuesday, 135 Boko Haram members would surrender with their weapons in Biu, Borno state, and the BBC reported that 133 others had surrendered elsewhere in north-eastern Nigeria.
Also this week, one of the schoolgirls that were abducted by Boko Haram had been freed and found, according to the police and a parent of some of the other girls. She is currently receiving medical attention after being found running in a village after spending four days in the bush.
If this is all true, it could mean that the Nigerian government and military may finally have the advantage that they need, after a period of embarrassment and criticism over their conduct dealing with the threat.
However, an African journalist Ahmad Salkida, who has contacts in Boko Haram said that he has it “on authority that Shekau is alive and well”, tweeting:
— Ahmad Salkida (@ContactSalkida) September 22, 2014