The Nigerian Ministry of Justice announced on Tuesday the death of the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno’s attorney general Zanna Malam Gana, according to Reuters. Gana was reportedly shot dead on Monday night by suspected members Islamist militant group Boko Haram.
The killing followed unconfirmed reports of the death of two Boko Haram senior leaders at the hands of Nigerian military officials. According to AFP, military troops reported that two Boko Haram members were shot Monday at a checkpoint at the outskirts of the city of Kanu.
AFP sources claim that Boko Haram’s spokesperson Abul Qaqa and another top Boko Haram leader, supposedly the field commander for the states of Abuja, Kaduna and Kogi, were killed on Monday while escorting a woman to receive medical treatment.
Abul Qaqa was shot dead on the spot, while the field commander died later from his wounds, AFP reported.
However there were contradictory statements on the apparent deaths. Neither Nigerian authorities nor Boko Haram have confirmed that the man killed at the checkpoint on Monday was indeed Abul Qaqa.
Nigerian authorities had earlier claimed having eliminated Abul Qaqa, only to have the claim refuted by Boko Haram, according to AFP.
Abul Qaqa is an alias used by the militant group’s spokesperson. Following the attack, Abul Qaqa’s wife, the woman who was with the two suspected Boko Haram leaders at the checkpoint, stated that the person shot dead was Abul Qaqa, according to AP. The women and her children, who were also in the vehicle, were taken into custody following the incident.
Boko Haram, a term meaning western teachings are prohibited, is an organisation seeking to impose Islamic Shari’a law in Nigeria, especially in the Muslim-majority north.
The United States accuses it of working with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb as well as Al-Shabab militants in Somalia. They are believed to have caused at least 1400 deaths since they began operations in 2009.