News / Africa

Boko Haram Second-in-Command Killed in Nigeria

In a April 12, 2012 screengrab, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau (C) is sitting flanked by militants. Nigeria's military said it had killed the second-in-command of Islamist group Boko Haram while repelling an insurgent attack.
In a April 12, 2012 screengrab, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau (C) is sitting flanked by militants. Nigeria's military said it had killed the second-in-command of Islamist group Boko Haram while repelling an insurgent attack.
Heather Murdock
Nigerian security forces said they have killed Boko Haram's second-in-command and his father, who they accuse of indoctrinating child soldiers for the Islamist militant group. Security forces cannot agree on where or how he was killed.
Nigerian security forces in Adamawa State on Tuesday announced that they killed Abubakar Zakaria Ya’u and Muhammed Bama in a gunfight.  Both men, they said, were wanted leaders of the militant group known as Boko Haram.
But on Thursday, in a press conference in the city of Maiduguri, the original home of Boko Haram, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa said Momodu Bama - the local way of saying Muhammed Bama - was not killed in Adamawa, but in Borno state.

Major attacks blamed on Nigeria's Boko Haram
  • July - Attacks prompt government crackdown in Bauchi and Maiduguri; 800 people killed
  • December - Bombings in central Nigeria and church attacks in the northeast kill 86
  • June - Attack on a bar in Maiduguri kills 25
  • August - Suicide bomber kills 23 at U.N. building in Abuja
  • November - Bombings in Damaturu and Potiskum kill 65
  • December - Christmas Day bombings across Nigeria kill 39
  • January -- Gun and bomb attacks in Kano kill up to 200
  • February - Maiduguri market attack kills 30
  • June - Suicide car bombings at three churches kill 21
  • July - Attacks in Plateau state kill dozens, including two politicians at a funeral for the victims
  • February - French family kidnapped in Cameroon, held hostage for two months
  • April - Fighting with troops in Baga kills up to 200; residents say troops set deadly fires
  • May - Attacks in Bama kill more than 50
  • July - Gunmen kill 30 at a school in Yobe
  • August - Gunmen kill 44 at a mosque outside Maiduguri
  • September - Gunmen kill 40 students a dorm in Yobe
  • October - Attack Yobe state capital Damaturu, clash with military in Borno state
He said Bama was second only to Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, and calls him a "vicious and heartless" killer who planned "terrorist" operations.  He added that Bama was killed alongside his father, Abatcha Flatari, when Boko Haram members attacked a military base in the town of Bama.  Nearly 55 police and soldiers were killed in a battle at the same base in early May.
A week after that attack Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States and sent thousands of troops on the offensive.  Since then the military says it has killed or arrested hundreds of Boko Haram members and reclaimed formerly occupied lands.
But as Elizabeth Donnelly of the Africa Program at the London-based policy institute Chatham House sayid it’s hard to know who’s really winning.  

The Boko Haram leadership structure is also unclear, she said, with some people claiming to be leaders only later to be denounced by Shekau, who portrays himself as the top leader.
“In terms of how decision-making within that group plays out, in terms of actually defining its own motivations and its own end game, it’s not clear how that happens within the group.  It would certainly being the case that Shekau is a figurehead in the least,” added Donnelly.

Borno State officials say Flatari, Bama’s father, was also killed in the battle at the military base.  They say Flatari was one of the group's "spiritual mentors" and accuse him of teaching kidnapped children violent extremism.

In nearly four years of insurgency, Boko Haram has been blamed for thousands of deaths in attacks on churches, mosques, schools, media houses, government buildings, banks and the local U.N. headquarters.  Rights groups said security forces have also killed hundreds of people in their fight with Boko Haram and that they are often likely to shoot somebody before making an arrest.

Abdulkareem Haruna contributed to this report from Maiduguri.

You May Like

Pakistan Among Developing Counties Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs