You have 40 days to capture Shekau, Buratai orders troops

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has directed the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maiduguri, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, to capture Abubakar Shekau, self-styled leader of the Boko Haram sect, “dead or alive”.

And Attahiru has 40 days to accomplish the task.

Buratai issued the order at the weekend, according to the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman.

He quoted the Chief of Army Staff as directing Attahiru 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,” Usman said.

Shekau assumed leadership of Boko Haram following the death, in 2009, of the founder of the sect, Mohammed Yusuf.

He had been reported killed several times in the past only for him to appear in recorded video messages debunking such reports.

On August 23, 2016, Sani himself had issued a statement saying Shekau was inflicted with “fatal injury” in a major air strike on Boko Haram’s location in Sambisa Forest.

The bombardment was said to have been carried out while Shekau was leading his group in performing the Friday prayers at a secret location called Tayye in the heart of the vast forest.

On March 28 this year, Defence Minister Mansur Dan-Ali, emerging from a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, assured Nigerians that the army would soon apprehend Shekau.

He said: “If you have had the opportunity to go to Sambisa (forest in Borno), you will know that Boko Haram has been defeated, go and see what is happening in Sambisa.

“We have dominated the whole stronghold where they used to be, there is where we call ‘camp zairo’ where their spiritual and their strong headquarters that they were using as communication base was destroyed and as at the same time occupied by our men of the armed forces.

“So, I believe it’s just a matter of time, it took America about seven to 10 years to get Bin Laden so we will get Shekau as soon as possible.

“I told you before now, the spiritual headquarters has been ransacked and vandalized. He (Shekau) is on the run, so he may be hiding in one of the enclaves of Sambisa forest that we are dominating.

“We have opened up the place; we are using it as a training area whereby the army engineers will open roads. We shall be patrolling and be ransacking that forest for the whereabouts of Shekau,’’ he said.

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