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 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.
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.”
A former military officer, Sunday Adoba, on Monday admitted that the military was aware of the location of the Chibok girls abducted by the Boko Haram terrorists two years ago.
“They are within the Gambalu Dam axis.
“In about late June or early July, we knew some of them were handed over to one Mala Yamari who is an Amir of the sect,” he told Channels Television while answering questions focused on military efforts to rescue the girls.
The Boko Haram group, who were formerly said to be residing within a location called “Camp Zero” of the Sambisa forest, have now purportedly relocated.
Mr Adoba said that the ‘Camp Zero’ had not been attacked and was not an issue presently, as the entire Boko Haram group had moved out of the main Sambisa to somewhere close to the Gambalu Dam.
Gates Of The Sambisa
Mr Adoba confirmed that the important areas for now were the Bama, Conduga axis in terms of military significance.
In his words: “They are the areas that you can now get what you want from. They are just within the gates of the Sambisa.
Ever since the girls were handed over, his team has been monitoring the activities around the current location of the insurgents.
“Their strength has improved and they have increased in number within this same area where these video clips were taken.
“So to me, I don’t think it is possible for us to say we do not know where they are. I think we do.
“I don’t have personal contact with the Chibok girls or the families, but the fact remains that consistently ever since their abduction, we have tried to link up both with the Military, the Borno State Government and other interested parties excluding the BBOG [Bring Back Our Girls] group”.
The former Army Officer, who believes that the girls are being used for a purpose, opined that “the world has come to accept the fact that these girls are important and the Boko Haram know that the importance of their campaign, for now, depends entirely on these girls.
“So they won’t just let go, we would have to fight to pick these girls out of their domain”.
He also revealed that in May, four girls were said to be married off to some Boko Haram leaders around the Goza hills.
Air Force Bombardment
The retired military officer said that his team told the Air Force not to drop bombs around certain areas, as most of the girls had been moved out of the bunkers and were staying under trees.
However, regarding the truth about the reports that some of the girls had been killed by Air Force bombardment, he said it was a 50-50 issue.
He further explained that “one cannot tell the radius to which a bomb explodes, as it depends on the surface where it lands”.
Mr Adoba assured Nigerians that the girls were well protected by the Boko Haram who also give them preferential treatment compared to other hostages, apart from those that have been married out.
On how the girls could be identified, he said they could easily be known in terms of language and level of protection, as they are not allowed to move around the way other hostages move.
He also mentioned that despite the Boko Haram movement around Sambisa, a lot of communities still existed there, from which they receive some inside information.
Military Should Be Properly Equipped
The retired military officer, however, expressed hopes about the possibility of rescuing the girls.
“It is possible for these girls to be located and rescued but it requires equipping the military with the right equipment and the right motivation to get this thing done”.
“I sincerely believe the military is doing a lot. At least presently over 75% of the remaining Boko Haram Camps have been cleared, So I expect that with less than 25% camps left, the military should be able to get these girls.”
He explained that one of the reasons the military had not been successful was because they launched out at an inappropriate time.
“The military went into the Sambisa forest and I have said it repeatedly, not once nor twice, that Sambisa is an area that you can only operate within the dry season, it shouldn’t be the rainy season.
“They went in in May, and they had to get stuck because the terrain wasn’t very conducive and they were very close to their objective, yet they could not achieve that immediate aim which to the very best of my knowledge was going to the camp, popularly known as the ‘Camp Zero’, where the Boko Haram had their headquarters, where we believe they had the girls in the bunkers,” he said.
The former army officer opined that when vital leads are provided by the intelligence officers, there should always be proper interaction between all parties involved in order to trace the locations that are being mentioned.
He pointed out that some of the other problems that had contributed to the issue were equipment, communication, and the efficiency of the air-force.
“If the air force has enough helicopter gunship, transport, I don’t see why our paratroopers or the airborne group cannot do this job and we need a lot of light, fast moving vehicles,” he added.