Army confirms death of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau

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  •  As Cluster bombs kill more than 400 people, over a third of them children

The commander of ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’ Major General Lucky Irabor has reiterated the position of the Nigerian Army that the original leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, is dead.

The army general who is commanding troops fighting insurgency in the Northeast said the original individual identified as Shekau has been killed.

General Irabor who made this clarification during a tour of formations under his command in Adamawa State said: “I can confirm to you that the original Shekau was killed, the second Shekau was killed, and the man presenting himself as Shekau, I can also confirm to you that few days ago, he was wounded. We are yet to confirm whether he is dead or not”. He said that the Army does not make statements that are not based on facts.

General Irabor said the military will continue the military operations until the last terrorist is taken out. He also mentioned that there had been division amongst the Boko Haram as a result of the constant pressure put on them by the Army.

According to him, “They released videos to prove that they are still active, but that’s just a façade.”

In the meantime, more than 400 people were killed by cluster bombs in 2015, most of them dying in Syria, Yemen and Ukraine, which have not signed up to a treaty banning the weapon, an international anti-cluster bomb coalition said on Thursday.

Cluster bombs, dropped by air or fired by artillery, scatter hundreds of bomblets across a wide area which sometimes fail to explode and are difficult to locate and remove, killing and maiming civilians long after conflicts end.

They pose a particular risk to children who can be attracted by their toy-like appearance and bright colors.

In 2015, cluster bombs killed 417 people, more than a third of them children, the Cluster Munition Coalition said, adding that the actual number of casualties was likely to be much higher.

“The suffering is still continuing and civilians continue to be the predominant victims of cluster bombs,” said Jeff Abramson, program manager at Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which is part of the coalition.

“Unfortunately now we’re seeing a new spate of people being injured at the time of attack, which is something that needs to be condemned very strongly,” he told Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone from Geneva.

Abramson did not give figures for 2014, saying data was constantly being revised due to difficulties in gathering it, especially in conflict zones like Syria.

The majority of cluster bomb casualties in 2015 were in Syria (248), followed by Yemen (104) and Ukraine (19), the coalition said in a report.

None of these countries are signatories of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of the weapons, it said.

The Convention, which came into force in 2010, also requires the destruction of stockpiles of cluster bombs and clearance of contaminated areas.

Since August 2015, five more countries – Colombia, Iceland, Palau, Rwanda and Somalia – have ratified the Convention, while Cuba and Mauritius acceded, bringing the total number of states that have signed or accepted the treaty to 119, the coalition said.

Casualties were also recorded in Laos, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Western Sahara, Chad, Cambodia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

The report was published ahead of the Sixth Meeting of states Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions that will be held in Geneva on Sept. 5-7.

The Citizen with additional report from MSN