Army Fails own Deadline for Capture of Boko Haram Leader, Shekau

  • Boko Haram kills 11 IDPs in Banki camp

By Paul Obi in Abuja

The Military yesterday extended the dateline for the capture of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau following the expiration of the 40 days ultimatum handed down to the troops to capture him dead or alive.

This is coming on the heels of report that the terrorists killed 11 people yesterday in a raid on a camp for civilians displaced by the Islamist group’s violent insurgency, military and vigilante sources told AFP. 

According to Director of Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, “the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Nigerian Army, Lieutenant General TY Buratai commended the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, his Sector Commanders and all troops of Operation Lafiya Dole for pursuing the COAS directive of capturing the purported Boko Haram terrorists leader, Abubakar Shekau dead or alive within 40 days beginning from 21st July 2017 which elapsed yesterday 30th August 2017.”

Usman explained that although the leader had not been captured, the COAS noted with satisfaction the zeal and determination with which the directive was pursued. 

“He congratulated the Commander for eliminating 5 key leaders of the terrorists group that were the closest associates and right hand men of the terrorists’ group leader. 

“Within the same period, 82 of the Boko Haram terrorists were eliminated. Therefore, the Commander is very close to achieving the directive.” 

In a related development, Boko Haram killed 11 people yesterday in a raid on a camp for civilians displaced by the Islamist group’s insurgency.

The sources said the Boko Haram fighters penetrated the camp in Banki on Nigeria’s border with Cameroon which houses 45,000 internally displaced people (IDP), using knives to kill their victims silently.

“At around 12:30 am this morning, some Boko Haram terrorists broke the barricade securing the IDP camp from the rear towards the Cameroon border and entered to seize food from IDPs,” a senior military officer in the town told AFP.

“They killed 11 IDPs and wounded two in the attack,” said the military officer who declined to be named.

Adamu Ahmad, a member of a civilian militia charged with protecting the Banki camp, confirmed the incident. The jihadists used knives to kill their victims instead of firearms to avoiding alerting soldiers at a military base adjacent to the camp, Ahmad said.

Soldiers expelled the attackers from the camp after the informal militia raised the alarm. The raiders also stole food aid rations given to those living in the camp, said the military officer.

Boko Haram is reported to be running desperately low on supplies after Nigerian security forces successfully cut off supply lines to the group’s bases.

“We have reason to believe they most likely acted on a tip-off from insiders,” said the officer who suggested that wives or children of Boko Haram fighters may have infiltrated the camp disguised as displaced people to conduct reconnaissance.

Banki, which is 130 kilometres southeast of Maiduguri, was initially an area of relative safety for those fleeing Boko Haram since the camp opened in March 2015.

But it has been repeatedly targeted by Boko Haram suicide attacks.

In April last year, at least seven people were killed at the camp in a suicide bomb attack carried out by two women.

In January, a girl thought to be 10-years-old died in a botched suicide attack after the explosive vest she was wearing detonated outside the camp.