Boko Haram: Shekau still alive, says Defence Minister

Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd) yesterday disclosed that the leader of the Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, is still alive.

The minister explained that Shekau disguised himself, using mask to evade arrest.

Dan-Ali, who stated this while speaking to State House Correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said the leader of the sect was still hiding in a part of Sambisa forest.

The Nigerian Army has boasted several times of killing the leader of the terrorist group, parading faces of the sect members as Shekau. According to the Defence Minister, the military has not given up on trailing his whereabouts until the sect leader is arrested.

He, however, said that just like it took the United States seven years to capture Osama Bin Laden, Shekau will be captured very soon. “I believe it’s just a matter of time. It took America about seven to 10 years to get Bin Laden, so we will get Shekau as soon as possible,” he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari had, on December 24, 2016, announced that the military had succeeded in liberating Sambisa forest, Boko Haram’s hideout. Shekau, in a video posted shortly after, had said he and his members were safe and have not been flushed out of anywhere.

The Boko Haram leader had urged the government to stop telling lies to the people in the 25-minute video. Dan-Ali told reporters that he had taken the opportunity of yesterday’s meeting to brief President Buhari on the security situation in the country. He insisted, however, that the Boko Haram sect has been degraded.

“The spiritual headquarters has been ransacked and vandalised, he (Shekau) is on the run, so he may be hiding in one of the enclaves of Sambisa forest which we are dominating.

We have opened up the place. We are using the place as a training area whereby the army engineers will open roads. We shall be patrolling and be ransacking that forest for the whereabouts of Shekau,” the minister said.

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