By Sunday Isuwa, Abuja
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, has directed the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, to capture Abubakar Shekau dead or alive within 40 days.
Buratai who stated this at the weekend also ordered Attahiru to employ all arsenal at the disposal of the theatre command to smoke out Shekau wherever he is hiding in Nigeria.
“The general public is please requested to also assist and volunteer information that would lead to the accomplishment of this task”, a statement issued by the director of Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Sani Kukasheka Usman, noted.
Even though the Army could not expatiate on the CoAs directive in its statement, a security expert told our correspondent that it was possible the Nigerian Military knows where ‘Shekau’ or any other person mimicking him could be hiding.
Noting that the troops are closed to capturing Shekau, he said, “Terrorists operate in such a way that whenever their leader is killed, in other not to accept defeat, they quickly get someone to replace the former. So, it is possible that the Nigerian military has given the terrorists a closed marking and that is why the Chief of Army Staff gave that order.
“If you look at the statement, it is very clear. He said that the so called and self-styled leader of Boko Haram terrorists group, Abubakar Shekau, should be captured dead or alive. This means that the Theatre Command has closed in on whoever that is the leader of the terrorists group”.
“I can tell you confidentially that the Sambisa Forest which used to be the Boko Haram enclave has now been surrounded, both on the air and in the land. Surveillance is in full force. If you look at it clearly, the Chief of the Army Staff just came back from an international tour where he met with various security chiefs outside the country.
“The Malian Chief of Army Staff was also with Buratai recently in his office. Mali is a country the sect earlier claimed that they receive training from. If you look at the 40-day time line given to the Theatre Commander to capture the self-styled Shekau, you will see that the end of the terrorist group in Sambisa forest has come. The rate at which the terrorists are carrying out suicide attacks, and the rate at which the terrorists are now surrendering, it clearly shows their end has come”, the security source added.