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Abubakar Shekau Boko Haram has no leader, and that’s very bad news for Nigeria

Shekau was last heard from in March 2015 when the sect pledged its allegiance to Middle Eastern counterpart, the Islamic State.

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Boko Haram’s boisterous and eccentric leader, Abubakar Shekau is missing in action.

Abubakar Shekau play

Abubakar Shekau

(Illustration by Joel Kimmel for TIME)

 

Shekau was last heard from in March 2015 when the sect pledged its allegiance to Middle Eastern counterpart, the Islamic State.

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, flanked by his sect members play

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, flanked by his sect members

(Linda Ikeji)

 

Since then Boko Haram has released two videos, one in June and another in August, but there was no sign of Shekau.

The sect leader Abubakar Shekau, flanked by his subordinates. play

The sect leader Abubakar Shekau, flanked by his subordinates.

(Sun News)

 

Instead, seen in the videos speaking for the group is a more reserved and much younger man who doesn’t quite convey the extent of Boko Haram’s evil power like Shekau did.

New Boko Haram spokesperson seen in group's recent video in August 2015 play

New Boko Haram spokesperson seen in group's recent video in August 2015

(AFP)

 

The Boko Haram leader had been reported dead so many times that it became difficult to believe that he could be annihilated.

People carry a banner with an image of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau as they protest for the release of the abducted secondary school girls in the remote village of Chibok, along a road in Lagos May 12, 2014. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye (NIGERIA - Tags: CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST POLITICS RELIGION) play People carry a banner with an image of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau as they protest for the release of the abducted secondary school girls in the remote village of Chibok, along a road in Lagos May 12, 2014. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye (NIGERIA - Tags: CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST POLITICS RELIGION)

 

However, it seems that Shekau has finally been put out of circulation, one way or another.

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau play

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau

(Shoebat)

 

Instead of this being good news however, it is bad, very bad news for Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau play

President Muhammadu Buhari and Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau

(Daily Review)

 

This is because a sect without a leader is one without organization or unity. This means that Boko Haram is currently fragmented.

Abubakar Shekau in the middle, with other lieutenants. play

Abubakar Shekau in the middle, with other lieutenants.

(ewn)

 

The problem with this is that each fragment is likely to develop its own set of goals and desires which might be worse than those of the original Boko Haram.

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau is seen preaching to his fighters in a screen shot from a recently released video play

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau is seen preaching to his fighters in a screen shot from a recently released video

(AFP)

 

Each fragment is likely to have its own leader, some maybe even more dreadful than Shekau.

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau pictured in a new video released on November 9, 2014 play

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau pictured in a new video released on November 9, 2014

(AFP)

 

The worst part of it all is that the proposed negotiations between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram would be impossible to hold with all the different fragments.

All the times bounty has been placed on Shekau's head play

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, has head numerous bounties placed on his head

(Premium Times)

 

A scattered group is a vulnerable one but it’s a potential threat that needs to be nipped in the bud before it gets out of hand.

President Muhammadu Buhari play

President Muhammadu Buhari

(Getty)

 

The Nigerian government needs to step up its efforts to eradicate the remainder of what was once Boko Haram before each splinter group gathers the strength to become even more powerful than the original one was.

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Watch video of Shekau preaching in captured territory below:

Do you think Shekau is dead?»

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