… How he was shot, wounded, escaped to border town –Military
From TIMOTHY OLANREWAJU, Maiduguri
Nigeria’s battle against terrorism got a boost yesterday when the military Joint Task Force (JTF) “Operation Restore Order” in Borno State said Boko Haram leader, Imam Abubakar Shekau, may have died from gunshot wounds he received in a clash with its troops.
The JTF said intelligence report indicated Shekau died between July 25 and August 3 at a border community in Cameroon where it claimed his aides smuggled him for treatment of injuries following gunshots from heavy bombardment on the sect leader and his aides by troops around their (Boko Haram) Sambisa Forest hideout .
“Intelligence report available to the Joint Task Force Operation Restore Order, revealed that Abubakar Shekau, the most dreaded and wanted Boko Haram terrorist leader, may have died. He died of gunshot wounds received in an encounter with the JTF troops in one of their camps at Sambisa Forest on June 30, 2013. Shekau was mortally wounded in the encounter and was sneaked into Amitchide – a border community in Cameroun for treatment from which he never recovered. It is greatly believed that Shekau might have died between July 25 and August 3, 2013. He was reported to have masterminded the kidnap of the seven French citizens and that of the elder statesman Alhaji (Dr) Shettima Ali Monguno in addition to many murders of Islamic clerics in Northern Nigeria. He was also responsible for bombings of many places of worship and public buildings including Police and United Nations Headquarters in Abuja,” JTF’s spokesman, Lt-Colonel Sagir Musa, said in a statement issued yesterday in Maiduguri.
Sagir maintained the recent video released by a purported leader was masterminded and dramatized by an impostor, insisting that intelligence reports showed Shekau was dead. “The recent video released on August 13, 20013 by the purported sect leader was dramatized by an imposter to hoodwink the members to continue with terrorism and to deceive undiscerning minds,” he stated. He called on the sect members “to lay down their arms and embrace the Federal Government’s offer for dialogue. “
A video purportedly released by one Shekau on August 13 titled: “Sallah message,” claimed responsibility for the series of attacks including the Gamboru Ngala, Bama, Malamfatori and Yobe. A man believed to be Abubakar Shekau also said the sect does not kill old, children and women but said that “those who do not accept the teachings will be treated as enemies.”
The JTF had about a year ago announced a N50 million reward for anybody who has credible information concerning the whereabouts of the Boko Haram leader. It also last week announced the killing of Shekau’s deputy, one Momodu Bama (aka Abu Saad) and his father, Flatari , said to be the spiritual leader of the sect. The United States, too, had in March, put a $7 million bounty on his head.
Residents in Maiduguri, the state capital, however, said they are doubtful of JTF’s claim, noting that they expected the task force to do a thorough job ascertaining the identity of the sect leader that died. “We would have wished the JTF did a thorough investigation and come out with the true picture of how the man (Shekau) died rather than suggesting that he may have died,” residents said.
In an earlier video, Shekau had said: “I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill the way I enjoy killing chickens and rams,” he said in a message released last year. The US Justice Department lists 1965, 1969 and 1975 as possible years of the birth of the Islamist leader.
It is believed he was born in Yobe State, which borders Borno state, where Boko Haram was founded more than 10 years ago by Mohammed Yusuf, who died in 2009. Shekau claimed command of Boko Haram in 2010. Since then, the group’s capacity to attack a range of targets appeared to expand.
Boko Haram is made up of different factions and the extent to which Shekau coordinates and commands attacks has always been unclear. But most analysts think he deliberately sought to turn the group in a more violent direction following Yusuf’s death.
Shekau studied theology under local clerics in the Mafoni area of Maiduguri and enrolled in a government-run school for Islamic studies. He was said to have met Yusuf through Mamman Nur, thought to be the group’s third-in-command at the time of Boko Haram’s 2009 uprising in Maiduguri.