The leader of Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram is dead, according to reports.
News agency Reuters said it had heard an audio recording made by Boko Haram’s rivals The Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP), which said Abubakar Shekau died around 18 May.
He died after detonating an explosive device, according to a person on the recording who identified himself as ISWAP leader Abu Musab al Barnawi.
Al Barnawi said his fighters had sought the warlord on orders of Islamic State leadership, chasing him and offering him the chance to repent and join them.
“Shekau preferred to be humiliated in the afterlife than getting humiliated on Earth, and he killed himself instantly by detonating an explosive.
“Abubakar Shekau, God has judged him by sending him to heaven,” he added.
Shekau has been reported as dead on numerous occasions, only to later appear in videos.
The latest claims, however, appeared to have been confirmed by a Nigerian intelligence report shared by a government official and by people who have studied Boko Haram.
The death has also been reported in Nigerian news outlets.
Since Shekau took the lead, Boko Haram has transformed from an underground sect to a fully fledged insurgency, killing, kidnapping and looting across Nigeria’s northeast in the past decade.
The group has killed more than 30,000 people and forced about two million to flee their homes.
It was behind the 2014 kidnapping of more than 270 girls from the northern town of Chibok, which sparked the #BringBackOurGirls campaign backed by then US First Lady Michelle Obama.
About 100 of the girls are still missing.
ISWAP was part of Boko Haram before it pledged allegiance to Islamic State five years ago.
However, it is thought that Shekau’s death could lead to Boko Haram fighters moving over to the ISWAP group, meaning the two can concentrate on fighting Nigeria’s military and government.
Tetiana’s raw and devastating story of loss reveals the pain behind Ukraine’s war statistics
In a country like Ukraine, where entire cities are being bludgeoned to the ground, the human ramifications are so vast that they often overwhelm the ability of journalists to describe them.
Instead, we rely on numbers – numbers, for example, from the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine which reports that 10,582 civilians have been killed since Russia launched its full-scale attack.
We quote statistics from the Office of the President of Ukraine, which says 529 children have died as a result of the fighting since February 2022.
It was in the city of Kharkiv, however, that I was confronted by the consequences of this conflict in a way that was so raw and devastating that the meaning buried within these numbers was painfully revealed.
On 10 February, the Russians targeted a large fuel depot in the city, using three of their Iran-made Shahed drones.
Their assault was successful – spectacularly so, with smoke and flames from the ruptured tanks billowing miles above the city. A million gallons of diesel and petrol poured into the surrounding streets, flowing like lava into a nearby residential neighbourhood.
The heat was so intense that firefighters struggled to approach the blaze. Some 4,000 square metres were incinerated, along with 15 homes in the city’s Nemyshlyansky district.
When we first saw Tetiana Putiatina, she was standing outside the charred remains of 32 Kotelnia Street. She used to live here with her only son Hryhory and his family of five.
When I approached, I could tell that the 61-year-old had been crying.
“The children were asleep, there were three of them – seven years old, four years old and 10 months old. They just didn’t have time to get out, to gather the children,” she whispered.
Tetiana was visiting a relative on the night of the attack, leaving the rest of the family at home.
“By nine in the morning, I’d already returned, when they were recovering the bodies. They didn’t show them to me. They were so badly burned.”
Her son Hryhory was a builder and his wife Olna worked at the local prosecutor’s office. She told me the pair had spent much of the past two years trying to keep their three boys safe.
Their oldest child was Oleksii with Mykhaylo in the middle. Pavlo – or Pasha, as they called him – was the baby.
Their parents had taken them to western Ukraine at the beginning of the war when the Russian troops tried to break into Kharkiv but they had returned to the city after several months.
Tetiana said the family would rush to their underground shelter in the garden when the sound of the bombing got close.
On the night of 10 February, however, they had no time to escape, no chance to avoid a river of fire that was racing their way.
“They found my son here, this is where he lay,” said Tetiana, pointing to a spot on the floor in what remains of the corridor.
“It looks like he was looking for a way out. Here in the bathroom, that’s where Olna was, holding two of the children close to her chest. The middle boy (Mykhaylo) ran out to the kitchen. Probably, he was trying to reach his dad.”
Their funeral was held three days later and in a recording of the event, we see surviving family members trying to grapple with the catastrophe. The baby, Pasha, was buried with his mother and we see Tetiana wrapping her arms around their coffin as she sobs.
When these images were posted online, Tetiana was mocked by some who accused her of pretending to be upset. They were Russians seeking to deepen her wounds, she said.
“When we were mourning at the cemetery, I held the coffin. There were comments, like, ‘what an actress’ and ‘she plays her role well’.”
She began to cry. “They say they are liberating us. Who are they liberating?
“I was born in the Belgorod region (of Russia) myself. Do they liberate me?
“And my in-laws, my parents-in-law, were all from Russia. We were all Russian-speaking.”
The fuel depot was still smoking when we visited the site and the roads surrounding it were thick with a black sticky residue. We saw workers trying to patch up the heating and water pipes – but there are things in Kharkiv that will never be repaired.
A security guard who works next to what is left of the fuel depot told us it was like looking at a picture of hell.
“You know, the stench will linger for years – that smell is going to stay and it has affected the atmosphere here because there were huge clouds of smoke. It was terrible.”
The consequences of this attack will strike many as a depressing feature of Ukraine’s daily existence, another number in an endlessly rising statistical column. But there is nothing normal about this for Tetiana Putiatina.
The destruction of her house and the death of her loved ones have left her with nothing to live for.
“Of course, it’s hard. I come here every day, sometimes multiple times a day.
“I’ll come here, walk around the house, where they found their bodies.
“I’ll shout, I’ll cry, and then I’ll leave.”
State of emergency in Haiti as gang leader seeks to oust prime minister and prisoners escape
A state of emergency has been declared in Haiti after violence in the capital led to two prison breaks as a major gang leader tries to oust the prime minister.
The government decree follows a dramatic escalation in clashes over the weekend, which paralysed parts of Port-au-Prince and temporarily downed communications.
Heavy gunfire has caused panic in recent days after calls by gang leader Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer, for criminal groups to unite and overthrow Ariel Henry.
In a bid to restore order, a curfew will apply from 6pm to 5am each day until Wednesday, which may be extended for another 72 hours.
Armed groups attacked the country’s largest prison on Saturday night, defying police forces who had called for help.
On Sunday, there was no sign of police officers at the National Penitentiary and the main prison doors remained open.
“I’m the only one left in my cell,” one unidentified inmate told Reuters news agency. “We were asleep when we heard the sound of bullets. The cell barriers are broken.”
It is unclear how many inmates are on the run, but sources close to the institution say it is likely to be an “overwhelming” majority.
The prison was built to keep 700 prisoners, but held 3,687 as of February last year, according to rights group RNDDH.
One voluntary prison worker on Sunday said 99 prisoners had chosen to stay in their cells for fear of being killed in the crossfire.
The bodies of three inmates who had tried to flee lay dead in the prison courtyard on Sunday, while two bodies with their hands tied behind the backs lay face down in another neighbourhood.
Among those still in the prison are 18 former Colombian soldiers who were jailed for their alleged involvement in the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, Mr Henry’s predecessor.
“Please, please help us,” one of the men, Francisco Uribe, said in the message widely shared on social media. “They are massacring people indiscriminately inside the cells.”
On Sunday, Mr Uribe told journalists who walked into the normally highly guarded facility: “I didn’t flee because I’m innocent.”
Mr Cherizier had warned locals earlier this week to keep children from going to school to “avoid collateral damages” as violence surged while the prime minister sought support abroad.
Nearly 15,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in recent days, according to the UN International Organisation for Migration.
Prime Minister Henry, who came to power in 2021 after Mr Moise’s assassination, had previously pledged to step down by early February.
He later said security must first be re-established in order to ensure free and fair elections.
Ferrari stolen from Formula One driver Gerhard Berger in 1995 recovered by police nearly three decades later
A Ferrari stolen from former Formula One driver Gerhard Berger nearly three decades ago has been recovered by police.
Police believe the car – a revamped version of Ferrari’s iconic Testarossa – was shipped to Japan soon after it was stolen.
However, the sports car, painted in the classic Ferrari red and said to be worth around £350,000, was brought to the UK in late 2023.
It came to the attention of the Metropolitan Police in January this year, when officers received a report from the Italian car marker.
Ferrari had carried out checks on a car being bought by a US buyer via a UK broker in 2023, which revealed it was a stolen vehicle.
PC Mike Pilbeam, who led the investigation, said: “The stolen Ferrari was missing for more than 28 years before we managed to track it down in just four days.
“Our enquiries were painstaking and included contacting authorities from around the world.
“We worked quickly with partners including the National Crime Agency, as well as Ferrari and international car dealerships, and this collaboration was instrumental in understanding the vehicle’s background and stopping it from leaving the country.”
The second car remains missing.
No arrests have yet been made, but enquiries are ongoing, the force added.
The Ferrari F512M was the last version of the Italian car maker’s iconic Testarossa. Around 500 were produced between 1994 and 1996.
The Testarossa itself was Ferrari’s flagship model throughout much of the 1980s, becoming synonymous with yuppies, and famously featuring in the hit crime drama, Miami Vice.
Berger, who raced for Scuderia Ferrari for much of his Formula One career, was among the famous faces who owned a Testarossa, along with the likes of Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, and Elton John.
Sports1 year ago
‘Storybook stuff’: Inside the night Bryce Harper sent the Phillies to the World Series
Sports12 months ago
MLB Rank 2023: Ranking baseball’s top 100 players
Environment10 months ago
Japan and South Korea have a lot at stake in a free and open South China Sea
Sports2 years ago
Team Europe easily wins 4th straight Laver Cup
Environment1 year ago
Game-changing Lectric XPedition launched as affordable electric cargo bike
Sports4 months ago
Game 1 of WS least-watched in recorded history
Technology3 years ago
Game consoles were once banned in China. Now Chinese developers want a slice of the $49 billion pie
Politics2 years ago
Have the last few wobbly weeks seen a turning point for Johnson as PM?