Controversy continues to surround the report of the death of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.
A new report now alleges that it was the Cameroonian security officers, the gendarmes, that were responsible for Shekau’s death and not the Joint Task Force (JTF) as earlier claimed.
The JTF had earlier released a statement claiming that Shekau might be dead. The task force allegedly did this without the permission of the Defence Headquarters in order to keep the army from taking credit for its efforts.
According to reports, 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.”
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 whereabout of his corpse.