Chad's president says Boko Haram has a new commander willing to negotiate with Nigeria's new government.

His announcement Wednesday broadcast on Chad state radio fuels speculation that the Islamic extremists' leader Abubakar Shekau is dead.

President Idriss Deby, who led a failed attempt at negotiations last year, said Boko Haram's new leader is "someone apparently called Mahamat Daoud." The Nigerian militant group is believed to comprise several factions.

The Chadian leader said a five-nation regional army will be deployed in days and predicted it will destroy Boko Haram by year's end.

Chadian troops earlier this year helped drive the insurgents out of northeastern Nigerian towns but suicide bombings and village attacks have killed hundreds in recent months. The 6-year-old Islamic uprising has killed 20,000 people and spilled across Nigeria's borders.