By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-THE Nigerian Army said Tuesday day that Abubakar Shekau ,factional leader of Boko Haram terrorists group has fled the Sambisa Forest following its troops’ intense raid in the area to completely dislodge the terrorists.
This screen grab image taken on January 2, 2018 from a video released on January 2, 2018 by Islamist group Boko Haram shows Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau speaking in his first video message in months amid a surge in violence casting doubt on the Nigerian government’s claim that the jihadist group is defeated.
Shekau’s message comes during an acceleration of Boko Haram attacks and just days after the jihadists killed 25 people outside Maiduguri, the birthplace of the Islamist insurgency. / AFP PHOTO
But the Army said the terrorists’ leader disguised as a woman by dressing in a woman attire while fleeing.
The troops of Operation Lafiya Dole,in statement relayed to the media through Army spokesman, Brigadier General Sani Usman,said Shekau is on the run disguising as a woman in different hijab attires.
It said credible information from surrendered insurgents indicated that the factional leader of the group could not sustain the tempo of the heat of the ongoing counterinsurgency going on in the forest.
Usman added that the troops also rescued civilians that were being held hostages by the terrorists and recovered arms, ammunition, Improvised Explosives Devices (IED) factories and making materials as well as other equipment.
The statement reads: “The concerted efforts of troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE on the ongoing clearance of the Boko Haram terrorists through Operation DEEP PUNCH II has been yielding tremendous results.
“Troops have successfully been clearing Boko Haram camps in Sambisa forest including Camp Zairo. They have also rescued civilians being held hostages by the terrorists, recovered arms, ammunition, Improvised Explosives Devices (IED) factories and making materials as well as other equipment. Consequently, the terrorists are in disarray and scampering for safety while others were surrendering.
“Credible information from arrested and surrendered insurgents indicated that the purported Boko Haram terrorists group factional leader, Abubakar Shekau could not bear the heat anymore as he has abandoned his followers, he is running for his dear life.
“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.
“We therefore call on all those remaining Boko Haram terrorists to know that they are following a coward moving about in hijab disguised as a woman.
“We also request all the remaining Boko Haram members to come out from hiding and lay down their arms and be treated humanely,” the statement noted.
He therefore, advised residents of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to be more vigilant, security conscious and be on the look out for the Boko Haram leader and other terrorists that might want to disguise as woman.
“While concerted efforts are ongoing to track and apprehend the fugitive terrorist leader, we implore also members of the public, especially the residents of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States to be more vigilant, security conscious and be on the look out of Abubakar Shekau and other terrorists that might disguise as women to escape.”