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    Chad President Says Boko Haram Militants Have New Leader

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    Chad's President Idriss Deby claims that the Nigerian-based Islamist militant group Boko Haram has a new leader.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Nigerian-based Islamist militant group Boko Haram has a new leader, Chad's President Idriss Deby announced Wednesday.

    "Boko Haram is decapitated… There is someone apparently called Mahamat Daoud who is said to have replaced Abubakar Shekau," Deby told reporters in the capital N’Djamena during the celebrations marking the 55th anniversary of Chad’s independence from France.

    The new head of the Boko Haram Islamist group, in contrast to Shekau, is open for peace talks with the Nigerian government, according to Chad’s president.

    Shekau, who used to regularly feature in the jihadists’ videos, has stopped to appear online in recent months, triggering speculation about his fate.

    The Boko Haram began its military operations in Nigeria in 2009, aiming to impose Islamic rule in the country.

    In February, the militants expanded the area of their operation to neighboring Niger, Cameroon and Chad, prompting the states' governments to launch a regional offensive against them.

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