Having twice claimed that it had killed Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, the leadership of the Nigerian military in what seemed like a renewed onslaught against Boko Haram, has declared that they want to capture Shekau dead or alive. The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Saturday gave a 40-day ultimatum to Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole in the North-east, to capture the terror group leader, Abubakar Shekau, dead or alive.
Director of Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, who announced the military declaration said, “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.” He urged the general public to assist by volunteering information that would lead to the accomplishment of this task.
This is the first time the military would be giving an ultimatum to its commanders for the capture or elimination of Shekau and it is believed that the capture or elimination of Shakau will be a turning point in the war against terror, which the nation has been waging in the past six years. Though Shekau’s location is currently unknown, he is believed to be hiding on the fringes of Sambisa Forest. The military had, on more than two occasions claimed it killed Shekau, only for the Boko Haram leader to resurface on each of those instances in videos to debunk such claims. Even when the military announced the capture of Sambisa forest, it was evidently clear that Shekau had escaped their radar as there were no reports of his death or capture. While it has been established that there are two factions of Boko Haram groups that the federal government has been waging war against, it is believed that the one, which released the Chibok school girls was not the Shekau faction.