Firstly, the question as to whether bringing Shekau’s head to the stake will end the insurgency problem is a matter of discussion for another day, the first and foremost news on the mind of Nigerians and indeed the world is bringing to justice, dead or alive – however means necessary, the leader of the boko haram terrorist group Abubakar Shekau and his cohorts for their crimes against humanity.
Secondly, most people think it is a secondary issue as to which troop get credit to claims to have killed Shekau – the Nigerian troops or the Camerounian troops, what is paramount is that the leadership of the sect and all its members are brought to book and on time. The wanton destruction of lives and properties by the dreaded, blood-thirsty islamic extremist group boko haram has come on for too long and Nigerians are waiting and hoping the head of this monstrous group will be turned in any time soonest.
At first the insurgency was considered a purely Nigerian problem with Cameroun accused of been reluctant to join the fight at its earlier stage but as time went on, the dynamics of the group’s threat began to spread and affect other countries especially Nigeria’s neighbour Cameroun, Chad and Niger with reports of constant kidnapping and raids by the sect prompting the setting up of a Multi-National Joint Task force to counter the insurgency.
Although it is not clear as to the level of military cooperation and coordination between Nigeria and Cameroun as regard the fight against the terrorists group but one thing clear is the drive of the military of both countries to prove a point in the anti-terrorism battle.
Following the recent resolve by the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan government and Nigerian miliitary to totally crush the group with persistent offensive and attendant victories at various fronts with members of the boko haram sect surrendering self and arms to the might of the Nigerian Army; The Camerounian Army on the other side of the bother have also reported various times of how it has successfully repelled attacks and dislodged the group from its bother area propelled by massive offensive from across the Nigerian border.
Two days ago the Camerounian Army posted a picture showing the leader of the boko haram sect killed apparently by gunfire, the picture which was posted on its facebook page with profile name ‘Armée camerounaise’ was not elaborated upon but it completely suggested that the boko haram leader had been killed purportedly by Camerounian troops.
Aside claims some time in July this year by the Nigerian Army to have allegedly killed Shekau in a June 30th battle before he resurfaced again in propaganda videos, fighting in recent days have however purported that prominent Boko Haram Commander suspected to be the sect’s leader, Abubakar Shekau might have been killed.
However, one factor that appears conflicting in the report is whether the alleged victory was actually won by the Nigerian Army or the Cameroonian soldiers on the otherside of the border.
The conflicting reports stemmed from the claim by troops of both countries of being responsible for the killing of the most wanted terrorist in the region.
While troops from Cameroon on Sunday night claimed responsibility for killing Shekau with photos of the Boko Haram leader’s corpse as one of the proofs, the Nigerian Army has equally claimed that its troops killed the sect leader. The report from the side of the Nigerian troops was however not backed by images.
The conflict reports in the claim became obvious when troops from Cameroon said it killed Shekau at the Gamboru Ngala border town, contrary to claims by the Nigerian Army that said Shekau was killed in Konduga town, few kilometres away from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
Both troops also have different versions to how the terrorist was allegedly killed. While Cameroon military disclosed that Shekau was killed in an aerial bombardment in his hideout inside Nigeria, the Nigerian military claimed that its troops might have killed Shekau on September 17 when the sect members tried to take over Konduga, and consequently launch an attack against Maiduguri.
The Nigerian Military has further claimed that “It is getting more certain that the terrorists’ commander who has been mimicking Shekau in those videos is the one killed in Konduga on September 17, 2014?.
The military however cautioned that, “The process of confirming that the dead body we have is the same as that character who has been posing as Shekau is ongoing. He is definitely a prominent terrorist Commander. I don’t want to say anything about this yet please.”
A military source had further revealed that the semblance between Shekau and the corpse in their custody was too striking and cannot be a coincidence, citing his facial marks, beards and teeth in addition to the recovery by the Nigerian troops of some of the Armoured Vehicles and Hilux jeeps that had featured in previous videos of the prime suspect as possible evidences.
The Army further assured that the Defence Headquarters will soon address the nation after full investigation is carried out to verify the real identity of the dead leader.
Although reactions pouring in suggest that people are not yet convinced that the leader of the sect has been killed, a Saudi based Nigerian journalist Ahmed Salkida who has offered to help negotiate with the sect responded on twitter by saying
“Mark my words: I have it on authority that Shekau is well & alive, the picture going round is NOT the person who torments us with his group”
Salkida further tweeted ” Mark my words: There is NO negotiation either by the @ICRC or any negotiator on the release of #chibokgirls with #BH Shura as I write this”
However this sounds, the killing of Shekau obviously sound like a delightful news in the fight against this terrorist that have succeeded in tormenting, killing, maiming and destroying properties for years now, this type of news will also encourage the morals of troops fighting the insurgency making sure that it is finally brought to an end just as the Government of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has shown a renewed effort in defeating this extremists.
For Nigerians and the world at large, we will urge the military of countries involved to carry out a quick investigation into the purported killing of Shekau with the aim of coming out with a confirmed account into the death of Shekau, we can sit down and give credit later to which ever army could have been responsible, let it remain in the minds of citizens and soldiers of both countries or any other country for that matter that the fight against boko haram Is a collective responsibility that must be devotedly executed to the sustenance of peace and prosperity of the region.
Views expressed are solely the author’s.