MAIDUGURI- The Nigerian military claimed on Thursday that US-designated “global terrorist” Abubakar Adam Kambar was killed in an operation last year, though Washington had not confirmed the death.
Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Suleiman said Kambar, believed to have links to Al-Qaeda’s north African branch and Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, was killed on March 18, 2012.
That would have been before the United States listed him and two other Nigerian Islamists, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau and Khalid al-Barnawi, as “global terrorists” in June of last year.
Brigadier General Chris Olukolade, a defence spokesman, said that may have been because information had not been properly passed along, but could not give further details.
Another military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, also confirmed the death but declined to give details on why the US designation would have been issued afterwards.
“We trailed him to somewhere. He didn’t want to be arrested, so we gunned him down,” Suleiman told AFP after a briefing to journalists in the northeastern city of Maiduguri in which he mentioned Kambar’s killing.
US officials in Nigeria were not immediately available to comment.
During the briefing, Suleiman called Kambar “the main link with Al-Qaeda and al-Shebab,” referring to Somalia’s Islamist insurgent group.
Security sources had previously estimated Kambar to be in his mid-30s and a native of Borno state, where Maiduguri is the capital.
He was said to have been an active member of Boko Haram at the time of a 2009 uprising in Maiduguri, which was crushed by the military.
According to security sources, he fled Nigeria after the uprising was put down but eventually returned.
Boko Haram members have trained with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in northern Mali and there have been suspicions of further links with it and other extremist groups in Africa.