Shehu of Borno says Boko Haram still on rampage – despite Nigerian Army’s denial

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President Muhammadu Buhari with Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Garbai during the President's visit to troop of the Nigerian Armed Forces at the headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole to mark the 57th Independence Day Celebration in Maiduguri on Sunday

“NOBODY dare move out of Maiduguri by 10 kilometres without being confronted, attacked by Boko Haram,” says the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Elkanemi.

The traditional ruler said this when President Muhammadu Buhari paid him a courtesy visit in his palace on Thursday.

While commending the President for his commitment to ending the Boko Haram crisis, the Shehu of Borno stated that the threat of Boko Haram is still very potent as farmers are being attacked and killed on a daily basis in the villages and communities surrounding Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

“Quite a number of farmers are being killed and kidnapped on a daily basis around Molai General Area, which is just 10 kilometres away from the metropolis, along Maiduguri – Damboa – Biu road.

“Most of the surrounding villages and communities in Konduga, Damboa, Mafa and other local government areas have been razed down in the last two weeks.

“We plead that the federal government and the security agencies review the strategies in nipping this lingering crisis in the bud.”

The monarch’s comments appear a direct contradiction to the claims by the army authorities that Boko Haram has been decimated and technically defeated and only operate from border towns between Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon, Chad, and Niger Republic.

During an elaborate powerpoint presentation at the 2018 annual Chief of Army Staff conference on Wednesday, the Chief of Army Training and Operations, L.O. Adeosun, a Major General, said “the Armed Forces of Nigeria, led by the Army has done a yeoman’s job in compliance with the presidential directive to degrade and defeat Boko Haram.

“At the end of one of the so many operations that were conducted within the year, which was ‘Operation Rescue Finale’, in December 2016, Boko Haram was only occupying forest terrains inside Alagarno and Sambisa, as well as the marshy terrains of the Lake Chad Basin,” Adeosun said.

Presently, Adeosun said the army is with the insurgents’ locations “within the thin lines of our borders with our contiguous countries”.

He said the recent resurgence in the attacks by Boko Haram is because of their ability “to cross to the other side (of the border), regroup, rearm, and take support from their international allies. This is what has been given us the current problem”.

Similarly, in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Sani Usman, the army leadership said the insurgents have changed tactics and are now using drones, as well as engaging foreign mercenaries made up of members of the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) in their attacks.

A meeting of the Heads of Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission was convened by President Buhari on Thursday, to brainstorm on new ways to tackle the new challenges posed by the upsurge in terrorist attacks in the region. The one-day meeting was held in Ndjamena, Chad.

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