The Joint Task Force (JTF) might have issued the statement reporting the death of the Boko Haram leader, AbubakarShekau 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 trailing the JTF’s declaration without concrete proof and the Presidency itself has passed the ball back to the military, claiming only the military has the final say on it.
The spokesman of JTF, Lt Col. Sagir Musa, had in an e-mailed statement he made available to newsmen last Monday, claimed that Shekau had died from the mortal wounds sustained in one of the recent clashes with the military and had fled to a Cameroonian village where he eventually died.It is greatly believed that Shekau might have died between July 25and August 3, 2013.”
Despite the controversy generated by his statement, the officer told LEADERSHIP that he stood by his story. However, the Defence Headquarters that assigned Sagirto be spokesman of the JTF has not issued any statement either to confirm or deny the colonel’s claim.
An informed security source told LEADERSHIP thatSagir issued the statement without any clarification or confirmation from Abuja,and said it had implications because if the claim turns out to be false, he would face stiff sanctions.
But a highly placed source, who does not want his name in print,said that Sagir’s action might have taken place in order to prevent the newly created Army Division from taking the shine off the JTF. The new Army Division last week took from the JTF and, curiously, it was the same day that Sagir issued the controversial statement. But in the opinion of a serving general, the JTF could not have taken that action without the approval of his commander.
“As you are much aware, the JTF is no longer in charge of the war against the insurgents, and from that statement, the JTF had long suspected that Shekau might have died but there was no evidence to prove that, hence they were in the process of searching for his corpse when the new directive came. I strongly believe it was in an attempt to take the credit for the killing of Shekau that pushed the JTF to issue the ‘controversial’ statement,” the source explained.
Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters has reacted to a story alleging extra-judicial killing of some suspected Boko Haram members by some soldiers.
A letter written and signed by the Director, Defence Information, Brig Gen Chris Olukolade, said there was not iota of truth in the allegation.
The letter reads in part:The assertion in that article stating that soldiers “sometime summarily carried out executions to encourage the youths who are now sure that the person they caught would not come back to attack them” is completely untrue and misleading.