Just days after the Federal Government celebrated the fall of Boko Haram’s “last stronghold” also known as Camp Zero deep inside Sambisa Forest, the sect’s factional leader, Abubakar Shekau has cut the jubilation short.
In a video released on late on Thursday, Shekau denied claims by the Nigerian Army that the sect has been defeated, describing as false and misleading statements made by the Nigerian government that the military had successfully routed Boko Haram from its operational base.
Of his group, Shekau was quoted by The Guardian saying in the video which is said to last 25 minutes:
“We are safe. We have not been flushed out of anywhere. And tactics and strategies cannot reveal our location except if Allah wills by his decree.”
“You should not be telling lies to the people,” he added before querying “If you indeed crushed us, how can you see me like this? How many times have you killed us in your bogus death?”
However, army authorities have said Shekau should not be regarded as anything other than mere terrorists propaganda.
According to the statement released moments ago by Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, the Acting Director Army Public Relations, the released video is aimed at creating fear in the mind of Nigerians.
“The attention of the Nigerian Army is drawn to a video clip released by Boko Haram Terrorist group from an undisclosed location a while ago, showing its purported leader, making spurious claims.
While effort is on going to subject the video for further forensic analysis, the Nigerian Army wishes to reiterate that it 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 north east 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.”
So what does this back and forth mean?
For one, Shekau’s new video has now cleared the air surrounding his whereabouts and whether he has been killed or captured by the army. Apparently he is still alive and his factipon of Boko Haram still have the technology and a safe enough haven to make a video.
Also, the new video has put the army back into alert mode. Authorities will know that if the sect still has the capability to make videos then it is possible that it still has the capabilities to launch attacks on defenseless citizens.
One other thing is that the over 7 years Boko Haram war is far from over. As long as Abubakar Shekau remains alive and free, terrorists elements will flock to his banner to continue their reign of terror in Nigeria’s north-east.
Propaganda video or not, Nigerians will only get a closure on Boko Haram when the government provides irrefutable proof that the sect is no longer in operation.
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