Nigeria’s armed forces said on Tuesday that Shekau had been wounded in an air strike on Boko Haram’s forest stronghold, but released no further statement or evidence confirming his condition.
The president made his remarks from Nairobi this weekend where he is attending the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, a summit designed to boost ties between Africa and Japan.
President Buhari said:
“We learnt that in an air strike by the Nigeria Air Force he was wounded,”
“Indeed their top hierarchy and lower cadre have a problem, They are not holding any territory and they have split to small groups attacking soft targets.”
Buhari said that Shekau had been “edged out” of the group, adding credence to claims that ISIL-appointed Abu Musab al-Barnawi was now in charge of the insurgency.
Signs of a power struggle in the top echelons of the terror group appeared earlier this month when Shekau released a video denying he had been ousted.
Barnawi is believed to be the 22-year-old son of Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf and was announced as the group’s leader in August by ISIL.
Buhari also said he “is prepared to talk to bona fide leaders of Boko Haram” to negotiate the release of 218 Chibok girls captured by the militants in 2014.
“We will deal with them as we dealt with Boko Haram if they refuse to talk to us,” Buhari said.
Boko Haram has ravaged Northeast Nigeria in its quest to create their self-proclaimed state, killing over 20,000 people and displacing 2.6 million from their homes.
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At the other axis of country, the Niger Delta Avengers are demanding a greater share of oil revenues, political autonomy, and infrastructure development in the southern river lands where despite massive oil wealth people still struggle to access basic health care and education.
Buhari said his government was in talks with the some of the militants but said there was no “ceasefire”, despite an announcement by some parties last week.