Nigeria: ‘Information on leader of Boko Haram’s death not authorised by DHQ’
The Defence Headquarters appears not to have authorised the release of the statement announcing the feared death of the dreaded leader of the Boko Haram Islamic sect, Abubakar Shekau, on Monday.
Emerging trend and investigation conducted by our correspondent revealed that the Defence Headquarters was surprised by the statement announcing that Shekau might have been killed, which came out on the day a new Division of the Nigerian Army took over from the Joint Task Force and was assigned the sole responsibility of continuing with the war against the insurgents.
A source said on Tuesday that the Chief of Defence Staff, Vice-Admiral Ola Ibrahim, and the top leadership of the Defence Headquarters were still considering how to verify the pending issue of Shekau’s killing when the statement announcing his death was released.
It was gathered that the CDS was still considering sending troops to the Camerounian town of Amitchide to carry out an extensive search operation in the area for graves to explore the possibility of a DNA exercise, when the news was released.
Investigations revealed that the JTF sent a report on the issue of the killing of Shekau to the DHQ but the CDS and other top military officers were said to have advised that there was a need for a proper verification before the release of the death of somebody of Shekau’s status.
The source said that the decision of the CDS was taken because of the fact that even the JTF personnel, who claimed to have killed Shekau were in doubt.
It was learnt that while the military high command was doubtful of the August 13 video purportedly released by Shekau, efforts were geared towards getting more concrete proofs of his death.
The source said, “We were discussing with the CDS on what steps to take on this issue; there was also need to send troops to the Camerounian community to verify this claim, conduct a comprehensive search of the area and then conduct a DNA if possible.
“They sent a report to the CDS, and the DHQ said that there was need to verify the claim because they themselves were not sure; this thing happened long ago in June; and they are releasing the information suddenly.
“The CDS did not authorise the release on this information on Shekau; the DHQ was still trying to verify it…”
When our correspondent contacted the Director of Defence Information, Brig. Gen Chris Olukolade, the repeated calls placed to his mobile telephone line did not connect.
The Spokesman of the JTf, Col, Musa Sagir, had said in a statement on Monday, said that Shekau received serious gunshot wounds during a gun duel at the Sambisa Forest on June 30 which might have culminated in his death.
“Shekau was mortally wounded in the encounter and was sneaked into Amitchide – a border community in Cameroun for treatment which he never recovered.
“It is greatly believed that Shekau might have died between 25 July to 3 August, 2013.” The statement read in part.