Buratai’s deadline over,where is Boko Haram leader,Shekau?
Buratai’sThe Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, had on the night of July 21, 2017 issued an order to the theatre commander of Operation Lafia Dole, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, to go out and ensure that the elusive leader of the Boko Haram terrorist sect, Abubakar Shekau is captured, dead or alive.
The COAS gave the commander 40 days within which to attain this feat.
In efforts to ensure success in the charge handed down to him, the commander commissioned 2,000 men from the Special Forces, with code name “MSTs”, mobile strike teams, and gave them the same charge.
40 days after, nothing has been heard of the capture, or (another) death of the sect leader, whom the Nigerian military has seemingly killed many times over.
This is also after the Nigerian Army chief himself had relocated to the troubled north east region of the country, on the directive of the then Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, in efforts to halt the terrorist attacks.
The Boko Haram sect, once described as the deadliest terrorist group in the world, overtaking ISIS has killed more than 10,000 innocent people, displacing millions, since its campaign began in 2004.
Though based in Nigeria, Shekau’s group has launched attacks into Chad and Cameroon, and at some point pushed the affected countries to seek a collaboration to smoke him out, and end the sect’s atrocious deeds.
The Nigerian military on different occasions had claimed it killed, or fatally wounded the sect’s leader, but such claims were usually refuted by the group with mostly a video or audio message of Shekau boasting that it was a lie.
In 2009, security forces reportedly killed him along with 1000 other Boko Haram members, including his boss, Yusuf and key financier Alhaji Buji Foi. But the report was proven wrong as he re-emerged in a video in July 2010 and took responsibility for most of the sect’s attacks.
Then in 2011, another report emerged that he had been sent to the great beyond by security agents in Kano after an exchange of fire in a Kano neighbourhood.
In 2013, an army spokesman announced that Shekau may have died between July 25 and August 3 from gun shot wounds sustained during a shoot-out with security forces attached to the Joint Task Force.
The statement from the JTF on his death said: “Shekau was mortally wounded in the encounter and was sneaked into Amitchide, a border community in Cameroon for treatment from which he never recovered.”
Not long after, Shekau appeared in a video talking about an attack carried out by his group on two military camps in Mallam Fatori border village, well after he was supposed to have died.
Again in 2014 Nigerian and Cameroonian sources provided a video that a Boko Haram commander named Bashir Muhammed, who ‘doubled’ as Shekau and took up the mantle of leadership after the real Shekau died in unclear circumstances in 2013, was killed in Konduga in Borno state.
There was even an argument between security forces of both countries as each tried to claim credit for the killing.
Yet again however, Shekau resurfaced in another video debunking claims that he had been killed. He said: “Here I am alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath.”
There were reports again in August 2016 that Shekau had been fatally wounded during an air raid.
Army spokesman, Brig Gen Usman had said then, that “Those Boko Haram terrorists commanders confirmed dead include Abubakar Mubi, Malam Nuhu and Malam Hamman, amongst others, while their leader, the so-called ‘Abubakar Shekau’, is believed to be fatally wounded on his shoulders”.
The Nigerian military has unwittingly accorded Shekau a status of an individual with nine lives, with the several claims which have always been rubbished by the sect, with evidence.
Put on the defensive, the military on their part had usually, dismissed, or played down his messages, sometimes claiming they were concocted.
The military had also claimed that the sect was using Shekau look-alike fighters to impersonate the supposedly dead leader.
Not even Maj. Gen. Attahiru’s MSTs, whom he said will “achieve the conduct of long range patrols and ambushes deep into the hinterland. All these are in an effort to ensure the success of Operation Lafiya Dole, thereby, enhancing our operational efficiency”, has yielded any fruit in the attempt to bring down Shekau.
It is still unclear what Lt. General Buratai, or the government for that matter, will do since his marching order to his theatre commander has been flouted as it were.
However, responding to questions Wednesday morning on what may have become of the wanted Shekau, Director, Defence Information, Major General John Eneche, claimed that the name ‘Shekau’ had become synonymous with every Boko Haram leader, and that the military had ‘neutralized’ all Shekaus that its intelligence gathering units had recommended for action.
Eneche spoke while fielding questions from Channels Television Reporters on the programme, Sunrise Daily.