Buratai orders troops to capture Shekau within 40 days

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau PHOTO:AFP

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai has given troops of Operation Lafiya Dole in the northeast, 40 days to capture the leader of the Boko Haram terrorist group, Abubakar Shekau.

A statement signed late Friday in Abuja by Army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Sani Kukasheka Usman, said Buratai gave the order to the Theatre Commander, Maj. Gen Ibrahim Attahiru.

“The Chief of Army Staff, Nigerian Army, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, has directed the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, to capture Abubakar Shekau, the so-called and self-styled leader of Boko Haram terrorists group, dead or alive.

“The Theatre Commander has further been directed to do so within 40 days. He is to employ all arsenals at the disposal of the Theatre Command to smoke out Shekau wherever he is hiding in Nigeria.

“The general public is please requested to also assist and volunteer information that would lead to the accomplishment of this task,” the statement said.

The military had several times in the past claimed it had killed Shekau, only for the Boko Haram leader to later show up in videos mocking either the military or the nation’s top officials.

On August 23, 2016, the Army spokesman, Sani Kukasheka Usman, had issued a statement announcing that Shekau was inflicted with “fatal injury” in a major air strike on Boko Haram’s location in the dreaded Sambisa Forest.

Sani, a Colonel, said at the time that the bombardment was carried out while the Boko Haram leader was leading his group at the Friday prayers in a secret location called Tayye, in the heart of the vast forest.

The military had by that time too repeatedly claimed credit for killing Shekau. But the sect denounced the claims each time, saying its leader remained alive.

The military, however, insisted that the original Abubakar Shekau had long been killed, and that the so-called Abubakar Shekau said to be alive was a made-up character.

Also, on March 28 this year, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, had in a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari reassured Nigerians that the army would soon apprehend Shekau.

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