|Boko Haram leader’s wife killed in Nigeria airstrike|
|[PRESSTV] The Nigerian military says it is investigating reports that one of the wives of , the leader of the group, has been killed in a recent .|
"Efforts are ongoing to confirm the reported killing of Shekau's wife, alongside other BHTs (Boko Haram terrorists)," said air force Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya on Tuesday, six days after an attack on Boko Haram near Urga in the Konduga area in Borno state.
Adesanya said the air raid on October 19 targeted "a large gathering of Boko Haram terrorists" at the Durwawa settlement. He added that the attack killed scores of on the ground and triggered a fire.
The official said that Shekau's wife, identified as Fitdasi, was "reported to have been representing her husband in a coordinating meeting with other at the location of the s".
Fitdasi was thought to be one of Shekau's four wives. Nigerian army another wife, Hassana Yakubu, in a raid in the northeastern city of Damaturu in 2012. She was released a year later along with the wives of several other top commanders of Boko Haram.
One of other wives of Shekau is a widow of Muhammad Yusuf, the founder and former leader of Boko Haram who died in 2009.
Under Shekau’s leadership which began after Yusuf’s death, Boko Haram has led an insurgency in northern Nigeria and neighboring countries that has left around 20,000 people dead. Hundreds of thousands have also been displaced in the violence.
|Two Boko Haram factions ready for dialogue -- Arrested sect commander|
|[PREMIUMTIMESNG] Two factions of the insurgency group may be ready for talks with the federal government, Abdulkadir Abubakar, a former commander of the group has claimed.|
Mr. Abubakar, also known as Abu Muhammad, was the chief intelligence officer of the Boko Haram group and one of its top commanders, until his arrest in June by the military in Buni Yadi, Gujba local government area of Yobe State.
Mr. Abubakar told the News Agency of Nigeria at his cell in Maiduguri that Albarnawi and Mamman Nur factions of Boko Haram were willing to dialogue and cooperate with the government to defeat the most visible leader of the group, According to him, Mr. Shekau, whose capture, dead or alive, the military high command has ordered, has been the major obstacle to peace, since the insurgency began in 2009.
"Shekau is not willing to surrender due to his high handedness. Unfortunately, the government and military authorities accorded priority on dealing with Shekau, who is blood thirsty.
"Albarnawi has indicated interest to dialogue with the government to end insurgency and provide a lasting solution to the crisis. Albarnawi discusses this with members of his circle. And I can assure the government that he would cooperate to achieve peace.
"The two factions are willing to cooperate with Nigerian Government to defeat Shekau," he said.
Mr. Abubakar’s claim about the readiness of the factions to dialogue with the Nigerian authorities could not be verified as he had been incarcerated since June. But he insisted that the groups are predisposed to a peaceful resolution of the eight-year-old crisis.
Mr. Abubakar claimed to have undertaken various espionage missions and provided intelligence to the s, which enabled them to hit a long list of targets, among which were the abduction of 275 students at Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, and the massacre of students at Federal Government College, Buni Yadi. Over 20 students were murdered at Buni Yadi.
He also claimed to have been involved in other attacks on schools in Maiduguri, Damaturu, Potiskum and Mamudo.
The detained Boko Haram commander expressed his willingness to give the military useful information to crush the and arrest Shekau.
"I am cooperating with the military and I am ready to provide information on the whereabouts of Shekau. Shekau has left his enclave in Sambisa and moved deep into Mandara Mountain. I know the area where he is hiding and willing to provide a guide to the military.
"The intensified military offensive has weakened Shekau’s position and that of the other groups," he added.
|3 female suicide bombers kill 27, wound 83 in northeast Nigeria|
|[AlAhram] A woman blew herself up and killed 27 others at a market in on Tuesday, two local officials said, in an attack bearing the hallmark of s.|
Two more suicide bombers detonated their devices at the gates to a nearby refugee camp, wounding many people, an emergency services official said.
In all, 83 people were in the three s near the city of Maiduguri, epicentre of the long-running conflict between government forces and Boko Haram.
Nigeria's military last year wrested back large swathes of territory from the Islamist s. But they have struck back with renewed zeal since June, killing at least 143 people before Tuesday's bombings and weakening the army's control.
The group has waged an eight-year war to create an Islamic state group in northeast Nigeria, and provoked international outrage by kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls known as the Chibok Girls in April 2014.
Its better-known faction, led by , has mainly based itself in the sprawling Sambisa forest, and been characterised by its use of as suicide bombers targeting mosques and markets.
A rival faction - based in the Lake Chad region, led by Abu Musab al-Barnawi and boasting ties to group - has in the meantime quietly become a deadly force capable of carrying out highly-organised attacks.
Last month, an oil prospecting team was captured by al-Barnawi's group. At least 37 people, including members of the team, died when rescuers from the military and vigilantes attempted to free them.
|Nigeria: Govt Orders Military Chiefs to Relocate to Troubled Northeast|
|[All Africa] Nigeria has ordered its military chiefs to relocate to Maiduguri in the northeast following a on an oil exploration team in which more than 50 people were killed by earlier this week.|
Tuesday's attack in the Magumeri area of Borno state on a ten-vehicle convoy of specialists from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was the Islamist s' deadliest in months.
A rescue was attempted by military personnel and vigilantes - many of whom were killed.
The army said on Wednesday that 10 people were killed in the attack.
But a source involved in dealing with the aftermath told AFP on Thursday: "The keeps mounting. Now we have more than 50... and more bodies are coming in.
"It's clear that the attack wasn't for abduction. They (Boko Haram) attacked just to kill."
Kidnapped oil workers speak on Boko Haram video
[AlAhram] Boko Haram Islamists have published a video showing three kidnapped members of an oil exploration team, after an ambush in earlier this week that killed at least 50.
In the four-minute video, the trio identify themselves as being from the University of Maiduguri and call on the government to meet the jihadists' demands in exchange for their safe return. The men were part of a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) team on a mission to find commercial quantities of oil in the Lake Chad basin when they came under attack on Tuesday.
"I want to call on the acting president professor Yemi Osinbajo to come to our rescue to meet the demand," one of the men says in the video, which he said was shot on Friday.
He attributed the attack to the -supported Boko Haram faction headed by Abu Mus'ab al-Barnawi, which has promised to hit military and government targets.
There was no indication of where the video was shot but the convoy came under attack near Magumeri, some 50 kilometres (31 miles) by road northwest of Maiduguri.
Most of the victims were soldiers and civilian militia members providing security. Five members of staff from the university -- two lecturers, two technologists and a driver -- were also killed, vice-chancellor Ibrahim Njodi said on Friday.
University of Maiduguri Danjuma Gambo confirmed the identities of the three kidnapped men in the video.
"They are our staff but one more is yet to be accounted for," he told AFP.
"It's a confirmation of the boldness and reassurance that Boko Haram has managed to gain over the last six weeks," Yan St-Pierre, from the Modern Security Consulting Group in Berlin, told AFP. "They have been attacking more and more military outposts and more military convoys. For them to go after NNPC personnel just shows they don't fear any military reprisal.
"Basically they have managed to gain enough resources, enough material, to plan ambushes targeted towards high value targets."
The al-Barnawi faction differs from fighters loyal to Boko Haram's long-time leader in that it disagrees with the indiscriminate targeting of civilians in suicide and s.
Nigeria is searching for oil in the northeast to try to reduce its reliance on supplies from the Niger delta, where attacks have slashed production and deepened the country's worst recession in decades.
The military gave the NNPC the green light to continue exploration in November 2016, according to Nigeria's junior oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu.
The University of Maiduguri's vice-chancellor told s on Friday the university had been hesitant to send staff with the NNPC team but had been assured about security.
|Nigeria: Boko Haram confirms abducting several police|
|[AA.TR] factional chief said in a new video on Tuesday that his men were behind last week's abduction of several policewomen in Nigeria's northeastern area of Damboa.|
"I want to tell you that we were the ones who attacked the convoy...we were the ones that the female ; in fact, they are senior female ," Shekau claimed in the 17-minute footage.
"What we did is nothing when compared to our women, children, and friends that have been wiped out or for many years by the Nigerian government. We only them to serve as slaves to us," according to the top who had repeatedly been reported killed by the local army.
Last Tuesday, a convoy of security agents was ambushed along Maiduguri-Damboa road. Several and civilians in the convoy as opened fire on them, with several security operatives escaping into the bush. Police confirmed one officer dead but has been silent on the abduction which were reported by many local media outlets.
Shekau did not say the exact number of the policewomen by his men.
|Happy news: 82 Chibok girls free in Boko Haram exchange|
|[Ynet] Three years after they were kidnapped from a school in Chibok, dozens of girls have been released from captivity in return for the release of Boko Haram arrested by Nigerian authorities; the fate of over a 100 others girls remains unknown.|
Eighty-two Chibok schoolgirls seized three years ago by have been freed in exchange for detained suspects with the group, Nigeria's government announced early Sunday, in the largest release negotiated yet in the battle to save nearly 300 girls whose mass abduction exposed the mounting threat posed by the -linked fighters.
The statement from the office of President Muhammadu Buhari was the first confirmation that his government had made a swap for the girls. After an initial release of 21 Chibok girls in October, the government denied making an exchange or paying ransom.
The April 2014 abduction by Boko Haram brought the group's rampage in northern Nigeria to world attention and, for families of the schoolgirls, began years marked with heartbreak.
Many of the captive girls, most of them Christians, were forced to marry their captors and give birth to children in remote forest hideouts without ever knowing if they would see their parents again. It is feared that other girls were strapped with explosives and sent on missions as s.
Before Saturday's release, 195 of the girls had remained captive. Now 113 of the girls remain unaccounted for.
The freed girls were expected to meet with Buhari on Sunday in the capital, Abuja.
A Nigerian military official with direct knowledge of the rescue operation said the freed girls were found near the town of Banki in Borno state near "The location of the girls kept changing since yesterday when the operation to rescue them commenced," said the official. Boko Haram remains active in that area.
On Friday, the United States and issued warnings that the group was actively planning to kidnap foreigners in an area of Borno state "along the Kumshe-Banki axis."
The 276 schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok in 2014 are among thousands of people by Boko Haram over the years. The mass abduction shocked the world, sparking a global #Bringbackourgirls campaign supported by former US first lady Michelle Obama and other celebrities. It has put tremendous pressure on Nigeria's government to counter the group, which has roamed large parts of the north and into neighboring countries.
|Boko Haram Planning Foreign Kidnaps in NE Nigeria|
|[An Nahar] and the United States on Friday said was preparing to kidnap foreigners in remote , which is in the grip of a food crisis caused by the conflict.|
The Foreign Office in London said it had received reports the Islamist were "actively planning" to seize foreign workers in the Bama local government area of Borno state.
Both said in travel advice that the affected area was "along the Banki-Kumshe axis", which is near the border with The US embassy in Abuja said in a message to its nationals that the report was "credible".
Boko Haram has kidnapped thousands of , including more than 200 schoolgirls from the Borno town of Chibok in 2014, which brought the conflict to world attention.
At least 20,000 people have been killed since 2009. But abductions of foreigners have been rare.
There was a spate of kidnappings of foreign workers in the wider north from 2011 to 2013, claimed by a Boko Haram splinter group, Ansaru, which was more ideologically aligned to al-Qaeda. The leader of Ansaru, Khalid al-Barnawi, has been charged with the abduction and murder of foreign workers, among them an Italian, a Briton, a German, Greek, Lebanese and Syrians. Most were engineers or construction workers.
|Suicide Bomber Kills Five Troops in NE Nigeria|
|[AnNahar] At least five soldiers were killed and another 40 injured when a jihadist rammed an explosives-laden pick-up truck into a military convoy in , security sources told AFP on Friday.|
The bomber, believed to be loyal to factional leader Abu Mus'ab al-Barnawi, targeted the convoy, which was conducting "clearance operations" between Yobe and Borno states, two military officers said.
"At about 1100 hours (1000 GMT) on Thursday, a believed to be a Boko Haram terrorist riding in a van loaded with explosives rammed into a military convoy at Manguzum village," one said.
"We lost five soldiers in the incident and more than 40 sustained various degrees of injuries," added the officer, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak about the incident.
The convoy was heading to the garrison town of Damboa, which is some 90 kilometres (55 miles) from the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, at the time.
A second military source said the troops were heading into Borno when the jihadist crashed his vehicle into a tank.
"The armoured tank was seriously damaged and the operation slowed down," he added.
There has been a spate of deadly attacks on military targets in recent months, as troops fight to end the eight-year insurgency, which has left at least 20,000 dead in Nigeria alone.
The conflict has also spilled into neighbouring countries , Chad and Niger, making more than two million homeless.
Most of the recent attacks are suspected to have been carried out by the al-Barnawi faction, which is backed by the group.
Last August IS declared al-Barnawi, whose father founded Boko Haram, as the group's new leader, replacing its long-time figurehead Shekau has rejected al-Barnawi's leadership and maintained he was still in charge, leading to a split and infighting.
While Shekau focuses mainly on hit-and-run raids on villages and attacks on civilian targets, al-Barnawi is focused on attacks on the military.
|Suspected Boko Haram militants kill five soldiers|
|[NEWS24] Suspected jihadists killed five Nigerian soldiers and injured five others in a raid on a military post in the violence-torn northeast, locals and a military officer said on Tuesday.|
"Our men were outgunned and outnumbered," said a military officer in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.
Scores of fighters loyal to the Boko Haram faction headed by Abu Musab al-Barnawi stormed a checkpoint near Sabon Garin Kimba village about 140km from Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram.
"We lost five men in the fight. Five more ," the military officer said.
The group last year appointed al-Barnawi as head of Boko Haram, replacing long-time leader
|Suspected Boko Haram militants kill five soldiers in NE Nigeria|
|[AlAhram] Suspected killed five Nigerian soldiers and injured five others in a raid on a military post in the violence-torn northeast, locals and a military officer said Tuesday.|
"Our men were outgunned and outnumbered," said a military officer in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak about the incident.
Scores of fighters loyal to the Boko Haram faction headed by Abu Musab al-Barnawi late Monday stormed a checkpoint near Sabon Garin Kimba village about 140 kilometres (90 miles) from Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram.
"We lost five men in the fight. Five more ," the military officer said.
The (IS) group last year appointed al-Barnawi as head of Boko Haram, replacing long-time leader Mustapha Karimbe, a civilian assisting the military, said the Islamist took military vehicles and burned three armoured cars along with makeshift sheds at the checkpoint.
"The attacked the soldiers... and remained in the village for three hours before they withdrew," said Karimbe.
This was the second attack on the same military checkpoint in under a month.
Late last month, Islamist dressed in Nigerian military uniforms attacked the checkpoint and forced soldiers to withdraw before looting food and medical supplies from the village.
Boko Haram has in recent weeks intensified attacks on military targets in the northeast.
|Boko Haram Kidnap 22 Girls, Women in Northeast Nigeria|
|[An Nahar] Islamists have 22 girls and women in two separate raids in , residents and vigilantes told AFP Friday.|
In the first attack on Thursday, the jihadists raided the village of Pulka near border with where they kidnapped 18 girls.
"Boko Haram fighters from Mamman Nur camp arrived in pickup vans around 6:00 am and seized 14 s aged 17 and below while residents fled into the bush," a Pulka community leader told AFP by phone.
"They picked four other girls who were fleeing the raid they came across in the bush outside the village," said the community leader who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.
According to the official, the attackers were loyal to the faction headed by Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the son of Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf.
Barnawi was appointed last year by the group to replace leader , who had pledged allegiance to the Middle East jihadist group in 2015.
Another resident confirmed the raid and said the girls were likely to end up as brides for the fighters.
"They didn't harm anyone during the raid and they made no attempt to shoot people running away from the village," said the resident.
In the second incident outside the village of Dumba, close to Lake Chad, the jihadists killed a herdsman who had tried to escape after refusing to pay protection money, said Adamu Ahmed, a member of an anti-Boko Haram militia.
"When the Boko Haram came for the money they realised he had left with everything and they decided to go after him on their s," Ahmed said.
"They caught up with him near Dumba where they slaughtered him and 50 of his cattle.
"They took four women from the man's family and the rest of the herd," he said.
The promotion of Barnawi had revealed divisions in the group, as Shekau had been criticised for mass killings and s against civilians.
Barnawi and his right-hand man Mamman Nur, who is seen as the real leader, had promised residents in areas under their control would not be harmed as long as they did not cooperate with Nigerian troops fighting Boko Haram.
But in recent weeks the Islamist fighters have intensified raids in areas near Lake Chad, stealing food from residents.
|Boko Haram raids stoke fear of fresh attacks|
|[AlAhram] Islamists raided a village in , in the latest rampage to steal food and medical supplies, as fears grew of more attacks, locals and security personnel said on Sunday.|
Scores of fighters loyal to the faction headed by Abu Musab al-Barnawi stormed Sabon Garin Kimba, some 140 kilometres (88 miles) southwest of the Borno state capital Maiduguri.
They were dressed in military uniform and arrived in a pick-up in Nigerian army colours at about 6:00 pm (1700 GMT) on Friday,
The raid is significant as no or injured.
The group last year announced Barnawi was in charge of Boko Haram instead of its long-time leader . Barnawi has criticised Shekau's indiscriminate violence against civilians.
Militia member Mustapha Karimbe, who visited the village on Saturday, said: "The attackers took away food items and medical supplies from shops and a pharmacy but they didn't harm anyone.
"They kept telling residents they were from the Barnawi faction and would not harm anyone as long as no-one got in their way."
A CJTF member in Maiduguri told AFP last week that co-ordinated military action by Nigeria and its neighbours had cut off the Islamist s' food and fuel supply lines.
Militants from both Boko Haram camps have in recent weeks intensified raids on villages and towns in the region in search of food.
On Sunday, residents in the town of Magumeri, some 50 kilometres northwest of Maiduguri, said Boko Haram fighters were mobilising in nearby villages.
"The fighters have been mobilising since yesterday (Saturday) and we don't know where they intend to strike," said one local resident, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.
"There is so much fear among people in the area because the Boko Haram fighters are definitely up to something," said another.
Boko Haram attacked Magumeri on March 15, looting food supplies and burning homes after overwhelming troops.
Nigeria's chief of army staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, and other senior military officers were expected to attend the small arms championship.
There have been sporadic attacks in and around the Sambisa Forest area against people and traffic.
On March 1, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Boko Haram attacks had forced some 7,000 people to flee villages around the town of Chibok in less than a week.
On Saturday, Buratai said the shooting competition would enable Nigerian troops to "continue to dominate the area" as well as hone soldiers' marksmanship skills.