News: Shekau Flees Nigeria As Military Deploys Special Forces.

Amid reports that the Nigeria military has
deployed its special force units to track
down the wanted Boko Haram leader,
Abubakar Shekau, there are firm
indications that he may have fled Nigeria
through the help of Islamic State (ISIS)
groups operating in East and North Africa.
The Sun reported that Shekau is on the run
following the recent loss of the sect’s
caliphate headquarters in Gwoza, to
Nigerian troops and the invasion of
Sambisa Forest by a detachment of the
nation’s special force units deployed from
their base in Makurdi, Benue state.
According to dependable military intelli­
gence sources who disclosed these details
to the media outfit, Shekau had to send
representatives to ISIS affiliates with
strongholds in East and North Africa to pave
the way for his escape to their region, from
where he intends to coordinate his group’s
activities or ultimately relocate to ISIS
headquarters in the Middle East.
READ ALSO: The Hideout Of Abubakar
Shekau Remains A Mirage
One of the sources disclosed that “having
discovered that he was being tracked
through his Thuraya satellite phone, Shekau
recently dropped the line and handset
totally to evade capture. But the last satellite
image of him and other intelligence pieced
together by forces on the battle frontline
show his desperation to escape from the
country to parts of East Africa or North
Africa where ISIS is having some footholds.”
The military chief also stated that “as part of
moves being made by Shekau, he now
relocates with fewer guards and limited
number of lieutenants knowing his
movement schedule. This is to frustrate
intelligence gathering efforts by security
forces and avoid attracting the focus of
satellite image capturing technology
deployed by some foreign super powers
and shared with the Nigerian security
forces.”
In an attempt to escape the heat of on-
going military operations in North-East
Nigeria, Shekau reportedly has in the last
few weeks changed his physical ap­
pearance dramatically.
“A recent intelligence from one of our
foreign partners shows the Boko Haram
leader clean shaven which totally alters his
look. That heightens our curiosity about his
motive, before we got other evidence that
pointed to the fact that he was trying to
cross the border”, the source added.
READ ALSO: Buhari, Shekau Miss TIME
Celebration
Reports also indicated that Shekau had
stayed in crisis-ridden Northern Mali to
coordinate the training and operations of
its members before they were flushed out
by a joint French and African force as well
as Nigerian troops.
He, however, crossed the porous border to
join his foot soldiers in Borno State.
Abubakar Shekau
“He may not find it easy to return to Mali
this time round but we suspect he may be
targeting East Africa or parts of North Africa
such as Libya and Egypt where some
islamist groups are causing instability now,”
the senior military chief said.
However, he admitted that he cannot
categorically say whether Shekau had
indeed escaped or was still in the country.
“On whether he has successfully escaped
from Nigeria, I have no such information
but at the same time I cannot rule that out
because of his level of desperation to flee
and his links with some other groups within
the region and even beyond”, the source
stressed, adding: “What we strongly believe
at this moment is that he is still within our
reach or that of our neighbours; especially
Niger and Chad. He may find it difficult to
move beyond these borders and may end
up returning to one of our remote villages
in the North-East to hide.”
The source also stated that Shekau had told
some of his close lieutenants that he would
rather die from gunshot from his guards
than being killed by the Nigerian troops
whom he regards as “infidels.”
“One of his captured commanders once
disclosed that Shekau had given
instructions to his personal guards to shoot
him dead in the face of a confrontation
with our troops who he calls infidels. He
believes that makes him a martyr,” the
source added.
READ ALSO: Military Rescues 200 Girls From
Sambisa Forest
When contacted on the information that
Shekau had fled the country between the
last week of March and the first two weeks
of April, the acting director of public rela­
tions of the Nigerian army, Colonel Sani
Usman, said, “We have an ongoing war
against terrorists in this country and we are
determined by all means and what it takes
to eliminate, capture all terrorists and
destroy all their known camps.
“If in the process, any of their leaders is
captured, so be it because the whole war is
not about an individual. We are also deter­
mined to arrest all of them dead or alive.”
The militant group had on March 7, 2015,
pledged allegiance to the leadership of ISIS
in Iraq and Syria.
The pledge was made by Shekau, who
addressed himself as the Imam of Jamaátu
Ahlus Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad (Boko
Haram) and was addressed to Abu Bakr al-
Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Qurashi, the leader
of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
(ISIL) or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
A week after Boko Haram’s pledge of
allegiance, the ISIS leadership in a statement
accepted the sect into its fold and promise
to work with it to establish an ISIS cell in
West Africa. In an audio message, a man
who claimed to be the spokesperson for
ISIS, said the group’s aim of establishing a
caliphate has now been expanded to West
Africa.
ISIS has a few foreign groups from which it
has accepted pledges, including Ansar Bayt
al-Maqdisi in the Egyptian Sinai and groups
of fighters in strategic areas of Libya. ISIS
has a shura council that dictates the group’s
strategic direction but takes a devolved,
hands-off approach on tactical matters.
In April 14, 2014, Boko Haram claimed the
abduction of 276 girls from a secondary
school in Chibok, Borno State.
Fifty-seven girls escaped within hours of
the attack but 219 remained in captivity. In
the weeks following the mass abduction,
Nigerian security sources and locals in
Borno said there were indications that the
girls had been taken to the Sambisa Forest.
But defence officials and experts agreed
that they were likely separated over the last
13 months, raising significant doubt on the
possibility that they were being held
together as a group.
Shekau, vowed to “marry them off” or sell
them as “slaves.” The Chibok girls abduction
brought unprecedented world attention to
the Nigeria’s Islamist uprising.
Celebrities and prominent personalities
including US First Lady Michelle Obama
joined the Twitter campaign #
BringBackOurGirls that attracted supporters
worldwide.
Boko Haram under the leadership of Shekau,
has been blamed for hundreds of other
kidnappings, especially women and young
girls across the North-East region of Nigeria.

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