With the recent feat achieved by the military in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria, the capture of Abubakar Shekau, the factional leader of the group, is no longer of any consequence, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai has said.
Shekau group had been reported to be responsible for most deadly attacks on military formations and civilian communities across the North east, making him the most wanted by Nigerian military. The other two groups, Al-Barnawi and Maman Nur fell-out from Shekau, citing his approach to the teachings of the sect, which the duo said was a departure from that of the founder father, Mohammed Yusuf.
The army chief had on 21 July 2017 directed the Theater Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, to within 40 dayscapture Sekau dead or alive.
The directive elapsed on 30th August 2017, without the commander bringing Shekau’s head.
But in a statement by the army spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, Buratai said recent military successes in neutralizing five key leaders of the terrorists group and scores of their combatants during military operations had made the capture of Shekau inconsequential.
He said the “main thrust of the operations at present is the decapitation of all the remaining terrorists’ factions” within the Nigerian territory.
Since the initials directive had expired, the army chief extended his directive to the Theater Commander. Although no new date was fixed, Buratai said “giving and extensions of deadlines are strategic means of focusing troops’ efforts in the theater of operation.”
The Theatre Commander had asked for the extension of the deadline and was granted by the army chief, according to Army spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, in a statement .
He said giving deadlines and extensions are strategic means of focusing troops’ efforts in the theatre of operation.
The army chief had on July 21, 2017 ordered the Theater Commander to capture the terrorists leader within 40 days, died or alive. The directive expired yesterday, without military capturing the sect leader.
Buratai said although the terrorists leader had not been captured, he was satisfaction with the zeal and determination with which the directive was pursued.
He commended the Theatre Commander, Sector Commanders and troops for eliminating 5 key Boko Haram leaders and score of their members in recent operations.
“With this feat achieved the relevance of Shekau is no longer of any consequence,” he said. “Currently the main thrust of the operations is the decapitation of all the remaining terrorists factions within the Nigerian territory.
“The people of the North east and indeed all Nigerians are enjoined to be more confident of the Nigerian troops and go about their normal activities.”