MILITARY chiefs have dismissed fears that Boko Haram may pose further threats to security after Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) announced that it was recognising Abu Musab al-Barnawi as the terrorist sect’s new leader.
Nigerians have always know Abubakar Shekau to be the Boko Haram leader since 2009 when its founder Mohammed Yusuf was killed by security forces. It had been rumoured that Shekau had been killed as he had not been seen in public for months and when Isis declared that it recognises al-Barnawi as the new leader, it appeared that these fears were confirmed.
However, in a swift reaction, Shekau issued a Youtube video yesterday, claiming he was still alive and was the Boko Haram leader. In a brief speech, he said that he had been deceived by certain people, indicating that there is a rift within the sect.
Nigeria’s defence headquarters has said that it was not in the least bit perturbed about the latest change of leadership in Boko Haram. Military spokesman Brigadier Rabe Abubakar, said that the military was not interested in what happens to nearly dead Boko Haram terrorists, including a change of leadership or its alliance with Isis.
Brigadier Abubakar said: “The leadership change in Boko Haram, as purportedly stated, does not in any way bother us, as the group is nearly dead in Nigeria and other countries within the Lake Chad Basin. So whether there is a change in leadership or not, we are sure of total annihilation of the group.
“Our focus is to clear them from their hideouts which we have been doing through the ongoing Operation Crackdown and Operation Gama Aiki with the Multinational Joint Task Force. It’s leadership change does not mean anything to us and we will continue to reduce them to nothing.”
He added that the military has been capturing members of the terror sect on a daily basis and they are certain that Boko Haram was in disarray and collapsing. According to Brigadier Abubakar, people should not take them seriously, as they no longer pose a threat and the military dismisses this change of leadership as child’s play.
Shekau was last seen in a Boko Haram propaganda video in March 2015, one of many footages released in his years of leading a brutal campaign against Nigeria. In one of the videos, Shekau pledged allegiance to Isis which was originally based in Syria and Iraq.