The Nigerian Army has dismissed a video clip released by Boko Haram terrorist group from an undisclosed location on Thursday, showing its purported leader, making spurious claims.
In the video, the man usually identified as Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, reportedly claimed that reports of the group being crushed by the Nigerian Army during the capture of its Sambisa forest stronghold Camp Zero were untrue.
He also claimed that the group is safe and far away from any location where the Nigerian military can capture its members or defeat it.
“If you indeed crushed us, how can you see me like this? How many times have you killed us in your bogus death?” he asked.
The Acting Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, said that effort is ongoing to subject the video for further forensic analysis to determine its authenticity.
He maintained that the Nigerian Army “has captured and occupied the last known stronghold of the terrorists group in the Sambisa forest”.
“We would like to reassure the public that this video is nothing but mere terrorists propaganda aimed at creating fear in the mind of people and to remain relevant.
“Therefore, there is no cause for alarm, more so as concerted effort in clearing the vestiges of Boko Haram terrorists wherever they might be hiding is still ongoing.
“Our gallant troops deployed in various parts of the northeast have continued to intensify search for all persons associated with Boko Haram terrorist group with a view to bring them to justice.
“Consequently, the public are hereby enjoined to go about their normal lawful business, remain vigilant and security conscious.
“They should also report any suspicious person or group of persons to security agencies.”
The Nigerian military has described the recent video clip released by the Boko Haram sect as diversionary and a desperate attempt by the dying terror group to remain relevant.
In a statement on Thursday by the Acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier-General Rabe Abubakar, the Army said that the video clip was “a complete show of weakness and sign that the end is near for the insurgents, hence it does not in any way pose a threat” to the armed forces.
The statement reads: “The military is equally not deterred by the Photoshop assemblage of worshippers at the supposed Eid-El Kabir prayer which is a replica of the video clip released by the sect in 2014. This has cast aspersion to the credibility of the clip and therefore should be disregarded.
“The Nigerian military is highly committed to making lives unbearable to the enemies of this nation wherever they are and would do all that is required within its rules of engagement to ensure that no part of Nigerian territory is conducive and habitable for insurgents and any other criminals to stay and operate.
“The military believes so much in making statement through its action as evidenced in its past achievements rather than making noise in propaganda gimmick as exhibited by the Boko Haram elements in its recent video clip.
“Empty vessel, they say, makes most sound. All threat to leadership of our nation, military and citizens, should be discountenanced in its entirety as military is capable of further decimating the insurgents and providing security for all.”
The military said that its reaction became necessary in order to douse the apprehension of the Nigerian citizens concerning the outburst in the video clip, otherwise it “would have allowed the ranting of the Boko Haram in its latest video clip to go without formal reaction”.
It then warned the terrorist group: “While our operation will continue as planned with many terrorists already surrendering and many captives rescued, we advise all the remaining surviving Boko Haram terrorists to surrender now for their own good.
“The military wishes to reiterate its commitment, determination and resilience in stamping out Boko Haram and other related criminals across the country.”
The military urged Nigerians not to bother about the antics of the degraded sect, adding that “meeting their waterloo is surely imminent”.
“With the support and prayers from the good citizens of our great country the Armed Forces make bold to say that never again would insurgence be allowed to reign supreme in our fatherland.
“We want to use this opportunity to once again remind all citizens to report any suspected person(s) or object to the nearest security agency for prompt action.”
One of the individuals placed on wanted list by the Nigerian Army for alleged link with Boko Haram terrorist group, Ahmed Salkida, has been arrested in Abuja, security source said on Monday.
The journalist, who released a Boko Haram video showing abducted Chibok girls from Nigeria’s northeast, was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja, the nation’s capital city.
A source at the Airport told Channels Television that Nigeria secret police officials, who arrested him were aware of his arrival from Dubai through the passengers’ manifest usually sent by airlines to their destinations.
The source said he was arrested at about 4:30p.m. local time by operatives at the tarmac of the airport and had been taken into custody by the security agency.
After the video of the abducted girls was made public, the Nigerian army declared Salkida and two others wanted in connection with the video.
Spokesman for the Army, Colonel Sani Usman, said that the suspects, Salkida, (Ambassador) Ahmed Bolori and Aisha Wakil had information on the conditions and the exact location of these girls.
The girls were abducted on April 14, 2014 from their school’s dormitory in Chibok, while they were preparing for their Secondary School Certificate examinations.
Their abduction triggered wide protests across nations, with a slogan, “Bring Back Our Girls”.
Giving reasons for declaring them wanted, Colonel Usman said that two recent incidents had pointed to the fact that the suspects were connected to the terrorist group.
In his reaction to the declaration by the army, Mr Salkida, who was not in Nigeria at that time, said that he was prepared to return to Nigeria and had indeed kick started the process to honour the invitation.
Carrying Out Professional Duties
In a statement issued days after he was declared wanted, Mr Salkida said that the army knew he was not in Nigeria prior to being declared wanted.
He pointed out that his return home would be quickened if the government could fund his trip.
Salkida added that the army was declaring him wanted for simply carrying out his professional duties as a journalist, stressing that he does most of his work with ‘total allegiance and sacrifice to the Federal Republic of Nigeria’.
“Clearly, my status as a Nigerian journalist, who has reported extensively, painstakingly and consistently on the Boko Haram menace in the country since 2006 is an open book known to Nigerians and the international community,” he said.
The other persons that were declared wanted had turned themselves in for questioning.
Security Expert, Captain Umar Aliyu (Rtd), believes that the Military may be right to say that Nigeria’s territorial integrity was still intact but believes that there were indicators that it is threatened.
This is in reaction to the Nigerian Army’s response to a 52-minute video purportedly released by the Boko Haram sect, declaring an Islamic caliphate in Gwoza, Borno State.
Speaking on the Monday edition of Channels Television’s breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’, Aliyu noted that there were both technical and fundamental indicators on ground that shows that the Nigerian Military had challenges handling the security situation.
He said that the goings on in the Army in recent times have shown that the sect must have been emboldened to take the step they took, making reference to issues like soldiers’ alleged mutiny, protests by soldiers’ wives, as well as complaints of lack of motivation and equipment to match the terrorists.
“From my side of the table as an observer I think time will confer or un-confer the truth of that statement or that position. But if we want to play it safe, I will want to assume that given the indicators that the adversaries have gleaned off, the goings in the Army in the last six to nine weeks, its not unlikely that they’ve been emboldened to take that step and make that declaration whether for truth or for fallacy.”
He added that Nigeria has not been focused about the State of Emergency it declared in the states affected by insurgency, as “somebody should be in charge” but this hasn’t been so.
He stated particularly that the issues within the Army had become one that needed to be addressed at a time when the soldiers were still complaining to their authorities. He warned that a situation where they stop complaining would make the situation worse.
Sophisticated weapons were on display in the video released by the sect and there have been questions about the possibility of military equipment being among those used by the Boko Haram sect. Aliyu said that the sect could have looted the military facilities they have attacked in the past.
He, however, also revealed there are black markets for arms all over the West African region and the sect could have acquired them or looted different locations to get the sophisticated weapons on display in their latest video.
“We have an Army that is more physical than mental” Aliyu said, adding that the insurgency in the country was an opportunity for Nigeria to improve on its military tactics but unfortunately the Army was still doing things the old way.
“We are just doing, we are not thinking”, he said.
He wondered why questions were not being asked about the reason why the sect was bent on taking over Gwoza. He recalled that the sect had successfully eliminated the Emir of Gwoza and activities that followed showed that there had been a plan.
“From the account of the average man who lives there (Gwoza) the presence of the insurgents is louder than that of the military troops” Aliyu said this based on his personal research on the web, checking the social media spaces of persons who are residents of Gwoza.
The military capacity to carry out thorough investigation also came to the fore, and Capt. Aliyu maintained that the reason why the Nigerian Army seemed incapable of this was that the personnel lacked the enabling environment to replicate some of the laudable performances they record when on international duties and trainings.
“We tend to look at the physical soldier, what about the psychological soldier?” Aliyu asked.
“The zombies Fela sang about is long extinct, today’s soldiers are people of these times, not Fela’s times when he sang Zombie.
“The Army is a community with its own values and culture and its also a subset of the larger Nigerian community.
“When you go recruiting to bring in soldiers, you are going to bring the majority of your recruits from the Nigerian youths who share the same social, mental fads. You’ll be getting the ‘Dorobuchi’ generation and the ‘Skelewu’ guys to come and become soldiers.
“Now, you cannot just get a soldier to follow you to battle just because you said so, he has to believe in you.”
He stressed that the Army needs to “step out of the stereotype” and do things differently.
He also said that there was need to develop a culture whereby monies spent on the military are accounted for. While admitting that this does not mean that details of all military procurements should be made public, he insisted that they should be bench marked and taken responsibility for, as regards what has been achieved with them.
While maintaining his earlier stance, aligning with the military statement that the Boko Haram claims could be untrue, he said that he expects to see a robust military action which would indicate that things were not being taken for granted.
Capt. Aliyu believes that the alleged take-over of Gwoza, which is a border town, means that Cameroon would also have started giving focus to their side of the region too.
He, however, also stated that this was not a totally military issue, but an opportunity for the Customs, Civil Defence Corps and other agencies to upgrade their operations to be able to address the situation.
He referred to the setting up of the Civilian JTF as one that would make him cry, as it only indicates the inability of the Nigerian military to handle the security challenges in the country.