Boko Haram’s Abubakar Shekau Reappears After Health Questions

Boko Haram’s factional leader Abubakar Shekau has re-emerged in a new video after a long absence that fuelled speculation about his health and ability to lead the Islamist militants.

In a 36-minute message, seen by AFP on Tuesday, Shekau wore a white robe and skull cap and held an assault rifle as he sat in front of a military camouflage canvas.

He appeared unwell but made no direct mention of his health or reports from last month that he had high blood pressure, failing eyesight and diabetes-related complications.

The jihadist leader used to appear frequently on camera but was last seen in a 14-minute video message on February 6, in which he claimed responsibility for attacks in the northeast region.

He is widely believed to be aged in his late 40s. The US justice department lists 1965, 1969 and 1975 as possible years of his birth

He said the latest message was recorded on July 12 at the request of his supporters “as a kind of Eid greetings… to show that their brethren are well, in view of all sorts of things infidels are saying (about us) which we have ignored”.

The end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan was celebrated in Nigeria on June 15. It was not possible to obtain independent verification of the claimed date, and there was no explanation about the apparent delay in recording or publishing the message.

In May 2017, Shekau looked frail and appeared to have difficulty reading from a prepared speech, which he held close to his face in an apparent indication of vision problems.

Two well-placed sources told AFP last month that Shekau’s health was failing and he was “too weak to be in charge” of the jihadists.

His lieutenants were said to be in talks about the situation.

Boko Haram, whose insurgency has left at least 20,000 dead since 2009, split in mid-2016 over ideological differences about the targeting of civilians in the conflict.

One faction, headed by Abu-Mus’ab Al-Barnawi, whose father Mohammed Yusuf founded Boko Haram, won the support of the Islamic State group.

The Barnawi faction has been blamed for a spate of attacks in recent days against the military.

Eight people were killed in a suicide bombing at a mosque in Borno state on Monday, in an attack that bore the hallmarks of the Shekau faction.

AFP

Army Places Bounty On Boko Haram Leader, Shekau

Boko Haram Leader, Shekau Threatens More Attacks

 

The Nigerian Army has announced a cash reward of N3million for information on Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.

“The Nigerian Army will give out Three Million Naira (N3,000,000.00) cash reward for any credible information that leads to the arrest of Abubakar Shekau, the fugitive factional Boko Haram terrorists’ group leader,” a statement by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Sani Usman, read in part.

“Anybody with such credible information can either contact the Military Command and Control Centre, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, any military location, security agencies or call the Nigerian Army Information and Call Centre 193.”

The announcement comes just days after the army said the elusive Boko Haram leader was on the run dressed as a woman.

On Tuesday, the army had said months of military operations in Sambisa Forest has forced Shekau to flee, disguised as woman.

It based its claim on credible information from captured terrorists.

“Credible information from arrested and surrendered insurgents indicated that the purported Boko Haram terrorist group factional leader, Abubakar Shekau could not bear the heat anymore as he has abandoned his followers, he is running for his dear life,” Brigadier-General Usman had said in a statement.

“He is desperately trying to escape the theatre disguised as a woman dressed in Hijab. We reliably gathered that to avoid detection Abubakar Shekau alternates between blue and black coloured hijabs. He was last seen in a black hijab.”

Nigeria Army Vows To Deliver Shekau Within 40 Days

Nigerian Army Launches Operation To Tackle Herdsmen Attacks
File photo

The Nigeria Army has reiterated its determination to arrest or kill the Boko Haram terrorist leader Abubakar Shekau on or before the expiration of the 40-day ultimatum earlier given.

The Army spokesman Brigadier General Sani Usman revealed this in Buniyadi, Yobe state, one of the front lines operational base center in the prosecution of the Boko Haram terrorists’ war in the north east.

The Chief of Army Staff had a closed door session with the troops particularly the troops of 27th Taskforce, the Nigeria Army Special Forces School and other students on the course and these soldiers during the interactive sessions bared their minds in proffering solutions were necessary.

The soldiers expressed gratitude and happiness with the COAS for being with them and also promised that the deadline for the capture of Shekau Eith dead or alive will be accomplished.

“The clearance operation of the remnants of these criminals that call themselves Boko Haram will be decisively dealt with to a logical conclusion,” The director of Army Public relations said.

On the ultimatum to capture Shekau after declaring him dead years back, the Army spokesman said the military has never said Shekau has been killed but a man parading himself as Boko Haram leader on the social media is the one we are currently hunting for.

The deadline to get him dead or alive according to him is still enforced.

“From July 2014 to date nobody, especially on the part of the Nigeria Army, has ever said Shekau was dead

“And If you are following things carefully, there is an individual that is coming up on the social media to claim responsibility and leadership of Boko Haram, that is the person we are talking about.

If you are in possession of our wanted terrorists’ poster, you would have known that is the person we are talking about and we are so determined to meet up with that deadline to either kill him or capture him”

Severally, the military had claimed that the Boko Haram leader had been killed, after which a man claiming to be him would reappear in a video in which he dismisses claims that himself as well as his members were killed.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Army Insist Shekau Is Dead

In 2014, the military claimed that one Mohammed Bashir, who had been acting or posing in videos as the deceased Abubakar Shekau, was killed in a counter-terrorism operation in the north-east.

But on July 22, 2017, The Chief of Army Staff, Nigerian Army, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, directed the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, to capture Abubakar Shekau, the self-acclaimed leader of the Boko Haram terrorist group, dead or alive.

The Theatre Commander has been directed to do so within 40 days.

READ ALSO: Chief Of Army Staff Gives Troops Deadline To Capture Shekau

Security Consultant Insists Chibok Girls’ Release Was An ‘Exchange’ Deal

sunday-adobaSecurity consultant, Sunday Adoba, has expressed belief that the Nigerian government made an exchange deal with members of the Boko Haram group for the release of the 21 Chibok girls.

The Federal government has insisted that there was no exchange agreement reached prior to the girls’ release but the statement has been greeted with varying opinions from Nigerians.

Mr Adoba holds the belief that the government “works in a mysterious way” and explained why he had this belief.

He said that it was a surprise to him that “there were other rescue operations ongoing somewhere else while the Chibok girls were released at another angle, within that same period”.

“I don’t think the entire actors within the operational area were carried along,” he said, and this, to him, shows that there was a special arrangement involved.

He insisted that the known face of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau had gone broke and would not miss the chance of using the Chibok girls’ release to raise funds.

‘Money Has Changed Hands’

Mr Adoba opined that since there has been no record of prisoners released, then the exchange would have involved cash.

He further questioned: “Can any right thinking man sit down and say the Chibok girls were released by Shekau of all people, without a price?”

“There was a conflict between Shekau and Mahmoud Mamman, which was as a result of money.

“Shekau had given him money to go and procure equipment and they took off. So definitely he is in need of hard currency.

“Money has definitely changed hands because nobody was returned to the Boko Haram group,” he insisted.

‘Hope For Others’

He, however, stated that the most important thing was the successful release of the girls, which he believes the government has made significant progress with.

“For me the girls are out, no matter what procedure was carried out to get them, all I am interested in is that we have saved lives.

“For the girls to come out of the bondage, it means at least there is hope for others. And I believe with the efforts of the government, more of them will be rescued,” he stated.

On April 14, 2014, over 270 school girls were abducted from their hostel, in Chibok town, Maiduguri borno state.

While some of them have managed to escape, and the additional 21 were recently released on October 14, 2016, a larger number still remain in the terrorists’ captivity.

The insurgence brought Boko Haram into international spotlight, with many using the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag to raise awareness for the campaign to find the abductees.

Convener of the movement, Oby Ezekwesili, however praised the military for its efforts so far, while also promising to join efforts with government to help in the quick recuperation and rehabilitation of the girls.

Suspected Suicide Bomber Says She Is One Of Chibok Girls

Chibok GirlsA suspected suicide bomber reportedly intercepted in northern Cameroon before she could blow herself up has claimed to be one of the 219 Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants.

The claim now suggests there may be some element of truth in the claim in some quarters that the girls abducted in Chibok, Borno State in 2014, are being used as suicide bombers.

According to Reuters, quoting military and government sources in Cameroon, two girls carrying explosives were stopped by local self-defence forces in Cameroon’s northern village of Limani.

The girls were said to have been handed over to troops of the multi-national force who said that the claim by one of the intercepted girls is being investigated.

Boko Haram militants had kidnapped about 270 of the schoolgirls and loaded them onto trucks, with about 50 of them escaping afterwards.

The incident sparked outrage and a Chibok Girls to free them, which went viral worldwide.

 

Defence Headquarters Dismisses New Boko Haram Video

Boko Haram videoThe Defence Headquarters has advised the public to dismiss an online video said to have been released by Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.

According to the BBC, Shekau had reportedly released a video purportedly showing remorse over the insurgency in the northeast of Nigeria.

But the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) in a statement says the Nigerian Armed Forces will continue with its operations against insurgents in the north-east in spite of the purported Boko Haram video.

The DHQ also stated via its Tweeter handle, “The video clips by Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, should be disregarded as it could be another antic of the terrorists.

“Members of the public should not be carried away by the video clips, and be security conscious at all times during Easter celebration and beyond.”

North-east Insurgency: Kano Enrols Affected Children In Special Schools

special education programmeAbout 100 children from Borno State, whose parents were either killed or displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east have been enrolled into the Kano State Special Education Programme.

Under the programme, Kano State will take care of their education from primary to tertiary level.

During a special guidance and counselling held for the children at the state government house, Governor Rabiu Kwankwanso urged wealthy individuals in the state to help cater for the needs of the kids.

For over eight years, the Boko Haram terrorists have killed thousands of people in the north-east region of Africa’s most populous nation and some other states in northern Nigeria. The attacks have left thousands of children displaced and their parents are no where to be found.

Authorities do not even know their names, hence, one of them was named after the Kano State governor, Musa Kwankwanso.

According to governor Kwankwanso, the children are the responsibility of any responsible democratic government.

It is expected that the Kano government under the Special Education Programme, will feed, cloth and shelter the kids. It will also cater for their health care needs.

However, if the parents or kinsmen of the children are found and fit to take full responsibility of their children, they would be allowed to leave. But the governor stressed that the decision would be that of the child to make.

Meanwhile, Governor Kwankwanso said the government would soon resume the search for other children whose parents were either killed or displaced, to add to the school which was not named for security reasons.

The EU had earlier on Friday announced a grant of $325 million, to support children who have been affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno State.

Borno Insurgency: EU Grants $325mln To Support Affected Children

Internally_displaced_persons_2The European Union (EU) has announced a grant of $325 million, to support children who have been affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno State.

Announcing the grant at a meeting in Abuja on Friday, the Head of the European Delegation in Nigeria, Mr Michel Arrion, said the one year support would provide psychological first aid services to 45,000 children in the state.

Mr Arrion observed that the psychological needs of the children was a vital component of the EU humanitarian support.

Several children in the nation’s north-east have been affected by the over five years’ insurgency that has claimed over 13,000 lives. While some have lost their parents to bomb blasts and attacks by members of the Boko Haram terrorist group others have been deprived access to education, after their schools were razed by the dissident group.

The Nigerian government had established a Safe School Initiative to provide a safe studying environment for children with adequate protection from terrorists’ attacks.

The EU’s grant would further deepen the government’s efforts to cater for children in the region that that has witnessed less cases of terror attacks in the last two months.

Counter-terrorism efforts have increased against the Boko Haram sect after the oil-rich nation postponed its general elections on February 7. Nigerian troops, aided by troops from Chad, Niger and Cameroon, have reclaimed Yobe and Adamawa States from the terrorists and are making efforts to chase the dissidents out of their strong hold, Borno State.

Military, Allied Forces In Battle With Boko Haram

militaryFierce fighting is on going between the Nigerian military, the Allied Forces and Boko Haram terrorists in the Mungulo Baga Area of Borno State, north east Nigeria.

Reports say that the militants relaunched attack in Dikwa, Baga and Mungulo in the early hours of Wednesday.

Eyewitness reports says the Allied Forces are repelling the militants, who have suffered very high casualty.

In the last few weeks, the terrorist made efforts to take over the 6th Battalion in the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri twice, but the military repelled both attacks.

While some Nigeria Army officers are being tried by a military court martial for allegedly fleeing while fighting the terrorists in Baga, some have been withdrawn to allow new faces fight the terrorists.

 

 

Emergency Security Meeting: Elections Will Hold In North East – Shettima

ElectionsBorno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has said that the 2015 general elections must hold in the north eastern part of Nigeria despite the security threats on the people.

That is the outcome of an emergency security meeting which took place in Abuja on Tuesday between President Goodluck Jonathan and Security Chiefs.

The focus of the meeting was to assess the security situation in the country especially in the north east.

The Governor spoke to state house correspondents after the meeting with the President.

He said that elections have taken place in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and so many other places where there is terrorism but that the important issue is how to safeguard the lives and property of the people of those areas and recover the lost territories and the abducted Chibok girls.

He cried out that several territories like Bama, were now under the territory of the Boko Haram but that with the robust plan by the military the war against insurgency would be worn.

At the risk of giving publicity to the Boko Haram leader, Shekau, who he described as a lunatic, the Borno State Governor said that the military has been rising to the challenges.

Governor Shettima stressed that no matter what the odds were the Chibok girls would be returned.

He had last year decried the poor motivation of the Nigerian military in the fight against Boko Haram, insisting that the military lacked what was required to fight the Boko Haram sect.

Withdrawn Troops From Baga

For over two hours, they brainstormed while reporters waited to be briefed of the outcome of the meeting.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh told reporters that Niger and Chad had withdrawn their troops from Baga in Borno State, a major contention spot for the Boko Haram terrorist group.

He, however, said that the countries have not pulled out of the multinational Joint Task Force contingent fighting the terrorist group in the north-east.

The defence chief assured Nigerians that the military would overcome the insurgents at all cost.

“I wish it could be closed. But how do you close such a large border? And it is not for military to close border anyway,” he said, emphasising that more collaboration with the security agencies of the border nations should be explored rather than border closure.

The army chief may have given needed explanations about the border issues, but many Nigerians want to know how safe it is to conduct elections in the north-east.

Also addressing reporters, Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State, which is another state in the eye of the storm, called for deployment of more troops.

The meeting was said to be a fruitful one, with a rich cross-pollination of ideas many Nigerians hope will indeed bring a lasting solution to insurgency bedevilling the nation.

It is barely a month before the commencement of the general elections in Nigeria and with the palpable insecurity in the north east, many Nigerians would want to know what the Federal Government is doing to secure lives and property in the region.

Those also in attendance at the meeting were the Attorney-General of the Federation, Governors of Adamawa, Yobe and Kaduna States.

Boko Haram Leader Denies Ceasefire Agreement In New Video

Boko HaramThe leader of the Boko Haram terrorist group, Abubakar Shekau, has denied claims that the group had reached a ceasefire agreement had been reached with the Federal Government of Nigeria, insisting that the group will not negotiate.

In a new video released by the AFP, Shekau also said that the more than 200 girls kidnapped by the group six months ago from their school dormitory in Chibok had been “married off” to its fighters, contradicting Nigerian government claims they would soon be freed.

Nigeria’s military says it killed Shekau a year ago, and authorities said in September that they had also killed an imposter posing as him in videos. In the latest recording it is hard to see the man’s face as he was filmed from a distance.

But it is likely to raise grave doubts about whether talks between a Boko Haram faction and the government in neighboring Chad will secure the release of the girls, who were kidnapped from a secondary school in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, in April.

“We have married them off and they are all in their husbands’ houses,” the man claiming to be Shekau says.

“The over 200 Chibok girls have converted to Islam, which they confess is the best religion. Either their parents accept this and convert too or they can die.”

Majority of the kidnapped girls were Christians.

Denial Of Ceasefire 

The man in the video also denied there was a ceasefire, and denounced Ahmadu Danladi, who says he represents Boko Haram in Chad.

“Who says we are dialoguing or discussing with anybody? Are you talking to yourselves? We don’t know anybody by the name of Danladi. If we meet him now we will cut off his head,” the man in the video says.

“All we are doing is slaughtering people with machetes and shooting people with guns … War is what we want.”

He also said that the group was holding a “white man”. The only known hostage seized in the northeast is a German teacher kidnapped from a college in the northeastern city of Gombe in July by gunmen widely assumed to be linked to Boko Haram.

Shekau’s denial of the ceasefire appears supported by the violence since the government announced it two weeks ago. It also raises doubts about the actual influence of Ahmadu.

For over five years the terrorist group demanding for an Islamic state and an end to  western education has killed thousands.

The government had said that negotiations with the group is ongoing, but attacks have also continued despite the ceasefire agreement claims, with a car bomb, thought to have been planted by the Boko Haram sect killed at least 10 people at a crowded bus stop in Gombe on Friday morning.

 

 

FG Meets With Boko Haram Representatives

Boko HaramThe Principal Private Secretary to the President, Ambassador Hassan Tukur, has met with Chadian Government officials as well as representatives of the Boko Haram sect in Saudi Arabia, in an effort to secure the release of the 219 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram.

The President’s Principal Private Secretary was speaking on the Voice of America Hausa service.

The Boko Haram sect was represented by Danladi Ahmadu at the meeting, which has also been independently confirmed by Channels Television.

Reports say talks of a cease fire has been achieved while other areas that were discussed are the location and health condition of the girls, those they want to swap with the girls, where Shekau is and more.

The meeting is to continue next week.