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EXCLUSIVE: Boko Haram Leader, Shekau ‘unwell’ as Troops Intensify Attacks

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The leader of Boko Haram terrorists, Abubakar Shekau is unwell amidst intensified attacks by the Nigerian army, The Street Journal has uncovered.

It was learnt that the leader of the Islamic sect, who broke down in tears in a recent audio, is hibernating on the fringe of the Lake Chad border, avoiding the attacks of the Nigerian army, which has intensified both ground and air attacks.

Recalled that in a new audio, Shekau cried out for protection against Nigerian troops following intensified successful offensives against his fighters.

He also seeks Allah’s protection for him and his rag-tag terror gang from the firepower of the Nigerian military.

In a 1:22 seconds audio, the Boko Haram leader, who spoke in Kanuri, sought the protection of Allah against the “devilish act” of Nigerian military.

He also revealed that his group is facing difficulties during the just concluded Holy month of Ramadan.

“If it is the devilish act and wickedness [of the Nigerian military], may Allah protect us from their evil. Oh Allah, keep us firm on your religion. We are poor things who know nothing, oh our Lord, Allah.

“We deserted Izala people to practise Your true religion; we abandoned Tijjaniyya people to practise Your true religion; we deserted the Shiites to practise Your true religion; we forsook our parents, uncles and aunties to practise Your true religion.

“It is because of your religion that we placed knife on Your servants’ necks; but today, they are trying to change us from one thing to another. Oh Lord, have mercy upon under [the blessings] Ramadhan; Oh Lord, have mercy on under [the blessings] of Ramadhan (crying profusely).

“Oh Allah give us victory over our enemies. Oh brothers, for Allah’s sake, obey Allah and help me with prayers. This does not mean I am angry.

“May Allah keep us firm on the Qur’an. Allah knows best. Peace and blessings be upon the Prophet of Allah and all thanks be to Allah,” Mr Shekau sobbed.

In a reaction to the audio clip, Bulama Bukarti, a human rights lawyers and conflict analyst who has studied Boko Haram for over a decade, said “this is the first time we heard Shekau cry in this way.”

According to Mr Bulama, the audio suggests that something terrible is happening to the Shekau faction of Boko Haram.

“The army has been releasing news and photos of their successes and Boko Haram itself has lately been releasing eulogies to dead fighters. That is what made Shekau wail in this audio. He thinks it is hard to survive this one,” Mr Bulama had said.

Shekau ‘unwell’

The Street Journal learnt from sources that Shekau is hiding in the fringe of Lake Chad in order to avoid confrontation with the Nigerian Army.

An expert in the decade-long conflict noted that it is feared that Shekau is in a terrible state and that most of his trusted allies have either deserted him or been killed by the troop.

“The news from Shekau’s camp is that of doom. The leader is said to be unwell. His fighters are suffering as the military has cut all their supplies,” the expert noted.

According to the source, the military has successfully cut the supply of foods and ammunition to the terrorists, leading to Shekau and his fighters lacking basic amenities.

“The Boko Haram leader is in a bad shape.  The camp is in a total disarray. Unlike in the past that he would have ran to the border of Chad to recuperate, it is a no-go-area because of the recent attacks launched by the Chadian Army that led to the death of over a thousand insurgents and destruction of four bases and arms store belonging to the terrorists,” he said

He added that Shekau’s fighters are launching attacks on soft targets in search of food and other basic things for survival.

A top military source hinted The Street Journal that feelers from the camp of Shekau indicates that he is in a terrible state, feeling unwell and lonely in the battle.

“We learnt that he suffered injuries from one of our recent attacks, that he was badly injured. We are mindful of what we push out because Boko Haram lives on propaganda and his fighters can easily release an old audio or video just to discredit the army. But we are on top of the situation, monitoring movement of the sect and I can assure Nigerians that the days of Shekau and others are numbered,” he disclosed.

Over 1,000 insurgents killed

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Yusuf Buratai on Sunday confirmed that Nigerian troops have killed 1,015 Boko Haram insurgents in the ongoing operation in the north east region, which started in April.

Buratai, who has been at the battlefront with the troops since March, made this disclosure during a luncheon organised for the troops of Operations Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri on Sunday.

He said a total of 84 high ranking members of the sect have been arrested.

“We have put concerted efforts against Boko Haran and ISWAP insurgents. We have successfuly displaced major camps of the terrorists. We have killed 1, 015 terrorists in the ongoing operation in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa state respectively.

“We have also arrested 84 Boko Haram logistics and information suppliers in the ongoing operation which started 12 April, 2020,” COAS said.

He appreciated the efforts of Nigeria Force, Navy, Police Force, DSS, Civilians JTF and Hunters for the resounding success against insurgents.

Terrorists on the run

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche confirmed that the terrorists are on the run as a result of sustained attacks by the military.

He listed some of the recent successes of the military to include:

Oon the 11th of May 2020, troops of Army Super Camps 6 and 7 led by the Commanding officer of 222 Battalion Konduga conducted series of long range fighting patrols on identified and suspected terrorists’ hideouts along Adzunge and adjoining localities. No contact was made as the terrorists fled the villages on sighting the troops. However, troops found a wooden boat in Adzunge village and destroyed it. The following Items were also recovered – 2 X motorcycles and 1X Lister Grinding Machine.

Similarly, based on intelligence, troops of Strong Response Area (SRA) Pulka, on the 13th of May 2020, in collaboration with Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and Hunters successfully staged an ambush operation at a well known terrorists’ crossing point along Pulka-Bokko-Kirawa road. The Ambush resulted in the death of eight BHTs while others fled in disarray with bullet wounds. The following items were recovered: 10 X Bicycles, assorted food items and some items of intelligence value.

Also, on the 15th of May 2020, troops of 192 Battalion in a night ambush operation, came in contact with BHTs that are obviously relocating from Sambisa forest to Mandara Mountains. The troops swiftly engaged the terrorists and five of them met their waterloo and three AK 47 rifles with one of the rifles loaded with 17 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, a bag containing a pair of BHTs Special Forces’ uniform, two cartridges and other clothing materials were captured.

Similarly, on the 18th of May 2020, troops deployed at RSA Gajigana unleashed heavy fire in response to BHTs’ attack on their location. Immediate reinforcement by troops from 7 Division Garrison and 195 Battalion conducted swift exploitation with troops of SRA Gajigana along the terrorists’ withdrawal route and captured 2 AK 47 rifles, 36 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 3 x magazines, 2 x 36 hand grenades and 1 x LG3 bomb.

In subsequent exploitation operations following the Gajigana attack, combined troops from 7 Division Garrison, 195, 212 Battalions and members of the vigilante group carried out exploitation mission forward of Gajigana and Ambudu axis on 19th and 20th of May 2020 which led to discovery of the following: 5 x dead terrorists bodies 7 x AK 47 rifles, 2 x BHTs Gun trucks, 1 x Anti Aircraft Gun, 6 x assorted magazines, 250 x rounds of 12.7mm Anti Aircraft ammunition, 61x rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and 2 x 36 hand grenades, while 1x techno phone, 1 x flash drive and 1 x sim card were also recovered.

In a related development, troops deployed at Dikwa under 22 Brigade on 19th of May 2020, neutralised two terrorists and inflicted injuries on several others who attempted to attack their location from Boboshe axis. With the support from Quick Response Force led by the Acting Commanding Officer, the terrorists were overpowered, and they (terrorists) run for their lives and the underlisted items were recovered – 1x AK 47 rifle, one x magazine with 15 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition.

Accordingly, based on intelligence report on the discovery of new terrorists’ tracks astrides Pulka-Firgi road, own troops at SRA Pulka in collaboration with Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and hunters group conducted a night ambush on 20th May 2020 along Pulka-Firgi- Banki general area. While in ambush position, troops were lucky to effectively strike the terrorists while crossing from Banki towards Sambisa forest. In the encounter, two BHTs were neutralised while uncomfirmed number were wounded. Also 1x AK 47 rifle loaded with 30 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 9 x bicycles, 2 x pushcarts, 4 x goats and assorted food items were captured.

Additionally, on the 21st of May 2020, troops of 22 Brigade, – specifically – 81 Division Task Force Battalion and 153 Task Force Battalion in collaboration with CJTF carried out a victorious operation along Mugdala village. During the operation, troops exchanged fire with fleeing terrorists and neutralised eight of them. Also, the
troops destroyed terrorists’ hamlets, food items, clothing and utensils, and captured 1 x Ak 47 rifle, 1 x dane gun, 3 x BHTs’ Flags, 2 x bicycles, 2 x techno cellphones, 2 x GB memory cards and other cellphone accessories.

In another encounter, troops of 202 Battalion and 21 Special Armoured Brigade Garrison Bama, on the 22nd of May 2020, acting on credible intelligence, laid an ambush at identified BHTs’ crossing point along Bama – Aulari road. Consequently, troops neutralised three terrorists while others escaped with gunshot wounds and the underlisted items were recovered: 10 x Litres of PMS, 2 x Bicycles, 1 x Solar Panel Charger and assorted foodstuff.

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