Nigeria and its neighbours Chad, Niger and Cameroon last month launched an unprecedented joint campaign against the Nigeria-based Boko Haram group, after the militants widened their offensive with attacks in the neighbouring countries. And in a remarkable breakthrough in the onslaught against Boko Haram by their joint armed forces, the President of Chad, Idriss Deby, has declared that he has been informed of the hideout of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau by his forces and therefore is telling him to surrender in his best interest.
“It is in Abubakar Shekau’s interest to surrender, we know where he is. If he refuses to give himself up, he will suffer the same fate as his comrades,” Deby said at a press conference on his visit to Niger.
Deby according to Vanguard, said Shekau had fled the strategic northeast Nigerian town of Dikwa after Boko Haram fighters were chased out of the town by Chadian troops in fierce clashes last month.
The Chadian army at the time said two of its soldiers and 117 Boko Haram Islamists were killed in the fighting around Dikwa in Nigeria’s Borno state on February 17.
“We are going to win the war and we are going to wipe out Boko Haram, contrary to what certain media think. The Chadian and Niger forces will continue their mission to finally put an end to this shadowy group,” Deby said.
This Islamic sect who began their operations in the North Eastern Nigeria in 2009 has killed more than 13,000 people and forced more than one million to flee their homes yet very little is known of its leader, who has been declared a global terrorist by the United States and sanctioned by the United Nations.
Acooring to PremiumTimes, Mr. Shekau has remained in hiding since his group started out in 2009 targeting civilians, security officials, villages, schools, markets and places of worship. He however appears infrequently in propaganda videos released by the sect.
The Nigerian military has repeatedly, but incorrectly, claimed to have killed Mr. Shekau, who is also wanted by the United States government.
The United States and other experts, however, have questioned the credibility of that claim while Shekau has rejected the claim outright in a video.
Lately, increased military operations by Nigeria, Chad, Cameroun and Niger have apparently pushed back Boko Haram, with Nigerian forces recovering several towns held by the group.
It should be recalled that Mr. Deby had been accused in the past of providing a safe haven for Boko Haram insurgents, and was purportedly the mediator in a phony ceasefire between the Nigerian government and the sect in 2014.