The last might not have been heard of the death of the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau. A security report fingers the Cameroonian gendarmes as those responsible for his death and not the Joint Task Force (JTF), LEADERSHIP can now report.
The JTF had issued a controversial statement reporting the death of the Boko Haram leader without any clearance from the Defence Headquarters in order to prevent the Nigerian Army from taking its hard-earned glory.
The Defence Headquarters has refused to confirm or deny the statement and controversy continues to trail the JTF; the presidency itself has passed the ball back to the military, claiming that only the military has the final say on it.
The spokesman of JTF, Lt Col. Sagir Musa, had in an e-mail statement he made available to newsmen claimed Shekau had died from the mortal wounds sustained in one of the recent clashes with the military and hurriedly rushed to a Cameroonian village where he eventually died.
He stated: “It is greatly believed that Shekau might have died between 25 July and 3 August, 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. The JTF wishes to appeal to the sect members to lay down their arms and embrace the Federal Government’s offer for dialogue.”
Amidst the controversy, the officer told LEADERSHIP during the week that he stood by his story. “I am driving now, so I cannot grant any press interview or answer any question now. A statement has been issued on Shekau; he is dead and I stand by the statement,” he said and hung up.
But a highly placed security chief, who does not want his name in print, has faulted the claim made by Sagir. According to him, although Shekau is dead it was not the JTF that was responsible for his death; instead it might be the Cameroonian gendarmes who were policing their border that killed him.
“Let me begin by telling you that there is a strong indication that Abubakar Shekau is dead but he was not killed by the JTF. If he was shot by our boys, they would not let him escape. This is why I know the JTF was misbehaving with that funny statement claiming responsibility. Where were they after shooting Shekau and they allowed a man who had suffered such a mortal wound escape? That is not possible. But with fresh revelations coming up, there is a possibility that Shekau was shot and killed by the Cameroonian gendarmes who were keeping watch over their border,” the security official said.
He explained that Nigerian security operatives were making contacts with their Cameroonian counterparts with a view to establishing the circumstance that had led to the death of Shekau and the wherabouts of his corpse.
Speaking further, the source disclosed that what the JTF officials did amounted to gross indiscipline, disloyalty, unpatriotism and uncalled for and they might face sanctions to discourage others from following suit.
“What those boys did was nothing but a gross indiscipline, they were disloyal, unpatriotic and they are supposed to be sanctioned. They went to issue such an all-important statement just like that. We all know the role Shekau was playing, we know who is or was Shekau and if he was killed, that was not the way the news should be broken. When Osama bin Ladin was killed, who broke the news to the whole world? It was President Obama. That is how things should be done. And to add insult to the injury, the JTF was claiming to be standing by its story. That is un-military. It was arrant nonsense. I would be surprised if those boys are not punished for that crime.”
He disclosed that the JTF had lost its credibility by the time the Defence Headquarters moved in with the reinforcement that saved its face. He recalled how unpopular the JTF had become before the declaration of the State of Emergency and wondered why the JTF would be in a hurry to claim credit for the killing.
“You remember before the declaration of the State of Emergency, nobody wanted anything to do with the JTF especially in Maiduguri. People were calling for their withdrawal from the streets but with the intervention of the Defence Headquarters, there was the reinforcement that restored the credibility to the military and it was this same credibility that the JTF wanted to remove again all because a new Army Division was created to take over from them.”