The Federal Government has finally admitted that the leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, is not dead but alive and hiding somewhere in the Sambisa forest.
Addressing journalists after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister Of Defence, Mr Mansur Dan-Ali, explained that it has been difficult to arrest the sect leader because the insurgents normally wear masks to conceal their identities and divert attention.
Mr Dan-Ali however said the military has taken over the Sambisa forest and will soon capture the leader of the sect.
In August 2016, the Nigerian Air Force had said it killed some key members of the group and wounded many others, including the leader of the sect, Abubakar Shekau, during an airstrike in Taye Village, Borno State.
However, in September, a video purportedly released by the factional leader of the insurgent group, debunked the military’s claims.
A man claiming to be Shekau appeared healthy in the video, speaking in Arabic, Hausa and Kanuri languages.
More recently, Shekau, reportedly reappeared in a new video in which he dismissed claims that many of his members have been killed.
According to the AFP, Shekau released a 27-minute video in which he spoke for about 20 minutes in Hausa and Kanuri, criticising the countries in the Lake Chad area fighting the group under the Multinational Joint Task Force.
He was said to have singled out Cameroon which reportedly announced that its soldiers killed about 60 Boko Haram members and arrested scores of others, while freeing about 5,000 hostages.
Speaking in the video, Shekau reportedly described the claim as a lie, insisting that his so-called caliphate was ‘running smoothly‘.