How Elhaj, Shekau’s closest commander planned his surrender, but ended up ‘going by the knife’


BY YUNUSA BUNU, MAY 17, 2022 | 02:33 PM

Elhaj Ousman, one of five Abubakar Shekau's amirul fi’a was executed over the weekend.

Though reports published by some media platforms said he died in a clash between the two factions of Boko Haram: Jama'atu Ahlil Sunnah Lidda’wati wal Jihad, JAS and Islamic States of West African Province, ISWAP, our findings showed that this was not accurate.

After Shekau was killed in the clashes May last year, Elhaj, was among those who surrendered and joined the ISWAP faction.

Elhaj did that despite being one of the closest people to Shekau.

Understandably, while this endeared him to the ISWAP overlords, it infuriated those who stood their grounds and stayed loyal to Shekau.

But Elhaj went ‘overboard’ 13 months after that, when he decided to also surrender to the Nigerian Army, taking advantage of the massive defections currently going on.

Both factions of the terrorists consider defection to the Nigerian side a ‘treason’ punishable by death.

By attempting to do that, Elhaj invited the ultimate wrath of both factions.

Nonetheless, Elhaj who was least to claim ignorance of this, contacted his ex-colleagues who have already surrendered and now in the custody of the Nigerian government to plan his own defection.

A source explained to YERWA EXPRESS NEWS that Elhaj ‘went by the knife’ after he 'he contacted some of their members who are in our custody to arrange his surrender.

'Unfortunately, as he tried to escape, he was caught by Boko Haram and returned to Sambisa.

'He was later executed for betrayal in the weekend,' a security source said.

YERWA EXPRESS NEWS cannot immediately establish which faction of Boko Haram caught him but whichever way, both factions treat attempted defections with death.

Our sources explained that he was killed for betrayal.

If it was the Shekau’s faction who intercepted him, the attribution to betrayal may be both for the attempted surrender to the army and his previous defection to ISWAP, which was considered an act of disloyalty to the faction.

In a recent report, we explained how Boko Haram were intensifying efforts to prevent the continuous surrender of its members to the army. So far, over 60, 000 have surrendered according to information out in the media.

A fortnight ago, Qa’id Ikrima, a top commander of the group, executed three munzirs. A qa’id is third in command in the terrorists’ hierarchy, after amirul fi’ah, the second and wali, the supreme leader.

The wali has five amirul-fia under him; and each amirul-fia has five qa'ids under his control.

The qa'ids equally has five munzirs, while the munzir has several amirs answerable to him.

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