N'DJAMENA, Chad, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- The violent leader of the Boko Haram Islamist group in Nigeria, Abubakar Shekau, was reportedly replaced by another Boko Haram deputy who seeks peace talks.
The president of Chad, Idriss Deby, held a press conference where he claimed Boko Haram is on the defensive from a military standpoint and that their reign would conclude by the end of this year. Deby's forces have been fighting Boko Haram militants on the country's border with Nigeria.
Deby added that a man named Mahamat Daoud has replaced Shekau and that Daoud wants to negotiate peace talks with the Nigerian government. This would mark a departure from Boko Haram's violent acts, such as the explosion of a bomb in the Nigerian village of Sabon Gari on Tuesday. The blast killed at least 47 people. On Sunday, Boko Haram militants also shot four individuals and abducted five. Most notably, the group has kidnapped over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls in 2014.
Reports claiming Shekau's death or absence have surfaced before. Some even believe the videos Shekau posts feature doppelgangers.
It has not been confirmed how Deby received the news about Shekau's replacement. However, rumors have been circulating recently regarding Shekau fleeing from Nigeria due to increased military attacks on his group. Nigerian and Chadian governments have dispatched military operations against the group.