By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said the latest change of leadership in Boko Haram terrorist group by the Islamic State and reported division within the terror group is an orchestrated gimmick to remain afloat and relevant.
This is coming as the federal government and members of the public have been warned to take pre-emptive measures against likely adoption of ‘lone-wolf’ attacks strategy by the new leadership of the terror group.
The ISIS had last Wednesday announced a new leader for the Boko Haram sect as Abu Musab al-Barnawi, who was previously the spokesman for the sect, replacing Abubakar Shekau.
But the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, while speaking with THISDAY yesterday, said the group days are numbered and that their recent “drama will consume them.”
Abubakar said: “The DHQ has total conviction that the group is just trying to remain afloat by engaging in media drama which, as far as we are concern, is just a matter of time.
“This drama will certainly consume them as more coordinated operations are on their way. The Nigerian military is certainly consolidating and focusing more on uprooting the group as we are too big to be taken for granted by bandits and enemy of the state and its citizens.”
He expressed confidence that the reported division among the Boko Haram leadership into pro-Abubakar Shekau group and pro-Barnawi/ISI group-will continue with its consequences.
The DDI noted that like all evils as being represented by terrorists, it would never last, insisting that the group total destruction is around the corner.
He vowed that the military would clear the remnants of the terror group, and no matter where they may be hibernating, including the Sambisa forest, they would be routed.
Abubakar assured Nigerians that the main base of the Boko Haram has been destroyed and that what remains are sleeper cells trying to regroup, urging those remnants to either surrender or be crushed by the ongoing military onslaught.
Meanwhile, sources within the intelligence and security circles have warned of a possible resort to ‘lone wolves’ attacks by the Barnawi-led Boko Haram.
According to one the intelligence officers, “One of the implication of ISIS involvement in the terror group leadership is also a radical shift in strategy that might involve the use of ‘love wolves’ being successfully deployed by the ISIS to wreak havoc where they don’t hold ground like what they are doing in Europe and United States.”
In the same vein, a security expert, Mr. Max Gbanite, has explained that ideological differences is at the root of the reported crack within the leadership of the Boko Haram terrorists.
Gbanite also agreed with the security sources of possible change of tactics and strategy by the terror group, saying while Shekau favours holding of ground, Barnawi prefers to adopt the classic terror acts and ‘lone-wolf’ attacks.
He also noted that the speed and manner with which the military inflicted defeat on the group, has forced both Barnawi and ISIS to re-strategise their approach.