The Nigerian military yesterday insisted that the impostor of the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau has been killed after a five hours fight in Kondunga, 35 kilometer to Maiduguri, Borno State Capital.
The Defense Headquarters (DHQ), yesterday in Abuja, during a press briefing by the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade also stated that the real name of the terrorist leader, whose images appear in the Boko Haram videos as Abubakar Shekau, is Mohammed Bashir.
According to Olukolade, Bashir, nicknamed as Abacha Geidam and Damasack was among top Sect Commanders killed dueing the Konduga battle.
He said Shekau was only a brand name being used to stage that the late sect commander was still alive
The DHQ also said about 135 terrorists surrendered along with equipment to troops around Biu Local Government Area.
The DHQ, in a statement issued yesterday said a group of 88 submitted themselves at Mairiga/Bun – Yadi while another group of 45 terrorists were taken in around Mubi – Michika.
“Nigerian troops have been conducting coordinated air and land operations in furtherance of efforts at containing the terrorists in the North East part of the country. Somehow, it became apparent that the terrorists in continuation of their campaign of terror were determined to take over communities around Maiduguri which is their prime target.
It said the attacks call for the need to ensure that communities such as Konduga were protected.
The statement recalled that the terrorists made not less than four attempts between 12 and 17 September 2014 to violate the security and enter Konduga to perpetrate their atrocities, saying that Air and land forces were subsequently deployed to handle the situation.
“Several of the terrorists including some of their commanders lost their lives in the encounters which lasted an average of about 5 hours each. The troops captured some of the terrorists and their equipment. In the course of those encounters, one Mohammed Bashir who has been acting or posing on videos as the deceased Abubakar Shekau, the eccentric character known as leader of the group died”.
“Since the name Shekau has become a brand name for the terrorists’ leader, the Nigerian military remains resolute to serve justice to anyone who assumes that designation or title as well as all terrorists that seek to violate the freedom and territory of Nigeria”.
The statement also said inhabitants of the community, who were victims of terrorist activities corroborated information “on the identity of Bashir Mohammed alias Abubakar Shekau, alias Abacha Abdullahi Geidam, alias Damasack etc. Indeed, the recent devastation on the leadership of the insurgents is attributable to the renewed commitment to the mission of eradicating terrorism in our country”.
Meanwhile, the insurgents have released a list of 19 militants it wants the federal government to free from prison in return for the schoolgirls that the group kidnapped last April.
The list, seen by The Telegraphof London, includes a former spokesman for the group, Abu Qaqa, and a spiritual advisor, Malam Bashir. But it consists mainly of mid-level field commanders rather than senior leaders – a sign, sources say, indicates that the group is now trying to offer “realistic” terms that it believes the Nigerian government will be tempted to accept.
The Islamist group has also drawn up a list of schoolgirls that it is willing to hand over in exchange – ten of them Christians, and ten of them Muslims.
Both lists have been handed to officials from International Committee of the Red Cross, who, as The Telegraph of London revealed last week, have been asked to act as independent mediators between the militants and the government in any prisoner swap.
Sources close to the negotiations said it was not clear why the group had selected the particular names on the list of girls that it was willing to free. But the Christian girls had apparently been chosen because they were already married, or betrothed to be married.
Fred Eno, a Nigerian civil rights activist who has taken part in the prisoner swap talks, said: “The prisoners on the list are people who have led cells fighting for Boko Haram and have brought a certain amount of people with them to the movement.
Boko Haram surrender more important –FG
Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, yesterday said that the Federal Government was more interested in members of the insurgent group, Boko Haram, laying down their arms than in the death of its leader, Abubakar Shekau.
Maku addressed State House correspondents at the end of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council, presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
According to the government, several billions of Naira being spent on prosecuting war against terrorism in the country would have been deployed to development of infrastructure, especially in the North-easy region currently being ravaged by the insurgents.
Maku stressed that fighting terrorism has never been easy all over the world but assured that the government is winning the war against the insurgents.
He said, “War against terrorism is difficult, because we are dealing with people who have lost conscience. But we, as a nation, must have respect for human lives. This war against terrorism is not a conventional one. It is a people’s war. This is a war where enemies are living among us. They kill everybody; but we are defeating terror.”