This is not the best of times for the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents as an upsurge of coronavirus is reportedly ravaging their camp like wild fire.
An impeccable source who is familiar with the activities of this dreaded terrorists, confirmed to our reporters that Abubabar Shekau’s Second in command, Bashir Umar has been confirmed dead as a result of COVID-19 complications.
It is no longer news that the Nigerian government has been trying everything possible to capture the sinister Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau and his boys for years running into decades now.
Meanwhile, The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai had earlier reported that Nigeria has achieved “tremendous success” in its fight against Boko Haram and the morale of troops is very high.
Mr Buratai addressed journalists at the State House, Abuja, after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, June 8, whom he said he briefed on the security situation in the North-east.
However, just recently, 81 civilians were killed and scores injured when suspected members of the Boko Haram sect on Tuesday, June 10, invaded Zowo village, 34km away from Gubio town, the headquarters of Gubio Local Government Area of Borno State.
In February 2020, Shekau threatened the Nigerian Communications Minister, Hon. Isa Ali Pantami, in a viral video forcing the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy to issue an order directing the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to change its policy on SIM card registration and usage. This did not go down well with the Boko Haram commander.
It’s not so difficult to trace the origin of Boko Haram in the country and its activities. The group was founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002, and has been led by Abubakar Shekau since 2009. The Boko Haram actions at inception were non-violent.
Their main stated objective was to purify Islam in Northern Nigeria. Since March 2015, the group has become aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The current insurgency started in 2009 and has killed tens of thousands and displaced 2.3 million from their homes. It was at one time considered the world’s deadliest terror group according to the Global Terrorism.
After its founding in 2002, Boko Haram’s increasing radicalisation led to the suppression of its operations by the Nigerian military forces and the summary execution of its leader, Mohammed Yusuf in July 2009.
Its unexpected resurgence, following a mass prison break in September 2010 in Bauchi, was accompanied by increasingly sophisticated attacks, initially against soft targets, but progressing in 2011 to include suicide bombings of police buildings and the United Nations office in Abuja.
The government’s Declaration of a state of emergency at the beginning of 2012, extended in the following year to cover the entire Northeast of Nigeria, led to an increase in both security force abuses and militant attacks.
It is to be noted that of more than 2.3 million people displaced by the conflict since May 2013, at least 250,000 have left Nigeria and fled into Cameroon, Chad or Niger Republic. Casualties arising from Boko Haram killings accounted for over 6,600 in 2014. The group has carried out mass abductions including the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in April 2014.
Corruption in the security services and human rights abuses committed by them have hampered efforts to counter the unrest.
In mid-2014, the militants gained control of swathes of territory in and around their home state of Borno, estimated at 50,000 square kilometres (20,000 sq mi) in January 2015, but did not capture the state capital, Maiduguri, where the group was originally based.
On March 7 2015, Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, rebranding itself as the Islamic State of West Africa.
In September 2015, despite the declaration by the Director of Information at the Defence Headquarters of Nigeria that all Boko Haram camps had been destroyed, attacks from the group continued unabated.
In 2019, the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari claimed that Boko Haram was ‘technically defeated’. However, attacks by Boko Haram have escalated and it still poses a major threat as of 2020 to Nigeria and the economic development of the country.
On June 10, 2020, Gen. Buratai addressed journalists at the State House, Abuja, claiming that Nigeria is achieving “tremendous successes’ in its fight against Boko Haram and that the morale of troops is very high. The Army chief said he has been briefed on the security situation in the North-East after spending two months in the war zone with Boko Haram.
Insider information from the Camp of Boko Ham has confirmed the latest development, saying the Covid19 pandemic has found its way to Sambisa forest with casualties.
COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most common symptoms of Covid19 are fever, dry cough, tiredness while less symptoms manifest as aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell, skin rashes, or discolouration of fingers or toes whereas the serious symptoms are difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, loss of speech or movement. On the average it takes 5–6 days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show. However it can take up to 14 days before being noticable generally.
Don’t forget that Covid19 doesn’t spare any tribe, race or colour even people at the affairs of authority are not finding it easy to live their extravagant lives, On April 18, President Muhammadu Buhari announced that his chief of staff, Abba Kyari, died from COVID-19. He died after a month-long battle with COVID-19. Credible speculations have it that he contracted the disease during a trip to Germany. Around April 9, the Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde had announced testing positive to COVID-19 and subsequently went into isolation for 14 days.
As at April, 19, 2020 in Sambisa Forest of Borno State where the operational headquarters of the Boko Haram is suspected to be located, confirmed the first COVID-19 case in the State. The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners are rapidly deploying to help health authorities in the state to identify, test and treat cases in order to prevent and control further outbreak of the disease.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported 51 days after the country, Nigeria declared an outbreak of COVID-19 disease. As at 20 April 2020, in Nigeria 665 cases have been confirmed in 25 out of 36 States, including Borno, and the Federal capital Territory,
The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air, and quickly fall on floors or surfaces.
One can be infected by breathing in the virus if the person is within close proximity of someone who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface, and then his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
The Chairman, Borno State committee on the Prevention and Control of COVID-19, Alhaji Umar Usman Kadafur, disclosed that the index case a 56-year-old citizen of Borno who was brought in from Pulka with symptoms of severe respiratory disease before he gave up at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
“The index case is a health worker in Pulka, Gwoza local government area who was managed for 10 days in a health facility before being referred to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital) where he was on admission for three days during which a sample was collected and tested positive for COVID-19 on 20 April 2020. The patient died on same day,”
The death of Abubakar Shekau’s Second in command, Bashir Umar has been confirmed to be connected with COVID-19 complications. However, how he was infected and the number of Boko Haram members that are infected with the pandemic are yet to be ascertained. The death of Bashir Umar has been generating different reactions and suggestions from Nigerians to the effect that the Covid19 is more powerful than the power of a gun. Some exasperated citizens have even gone ahead to suggest that Government should find ways of spreading the virus in the entire Boko Haram camp and other related reactions.