Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai

The military yesterday said the factional leader of the terrorist group Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau is “unstable and irrational saying he must release the abducted Chibok girls unconditionally.

The Army was responding to the latest video released by Shekau, describing it as propaganda and sign of desperation.

Boko Haram on Sunday released another video in which Shekau appeared for 38 minutes, speaking in Arabic, Fulfulde, Hausa and a line in English. Shekau appeared before a black background with two armed members of the group by his side and about 15 big copies of the Holy Quran in front of him.

He spoke mostly in Arabic and denied being killed or wounded in any Nigerian Air Force raid. He also sent messages to President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief of Army Staff Lt.-General Tukur Buratai, and President Idris Deby of Chad.

“The unbelievers of Nigeria I am going to be addressing you and Buhari and Idris Deby. The whole world should listen. I am alive. when my days are over you people will not see me again.

“You should make all the preparations you want to make, you and your Ban kii Moon. I am trying to make the whole world to know that we are not gentle people or sociologists; it is because of God that we evade you when you throw out your bombs,” Shekau said as translated by The Nation.

He said democracy is evil and for unbelievers on “his brothers and sisters” to return to the right way. “ Do you think democracy is religion, you Hausa of Nigeria? If not for God where will we be? My brothers and sister, return to the Quran. You Buhari, go and beg people for money claiming you will collect the young girls back when it is all a lie,” he said.

He then added in English: “If you want your girls, bring back our brothers.”

But the Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig.-General Rabe Abubakar, told our correspondent that the military is occupied with consolidating on the gains recorded against the sect.

“The Defence Headquarters’ position has always been clear: whether Shekau is alive or not doesn’t in any way matter to us, What is important to us is to consolidate the unprecedented gains and successes recorded to terminate the remnants of the sect in order to free completely the Northeast and indeed our dear nation from their unholy activities, mindless propaganda and show of shame.

“They are very much aware that their end is near as coordinated operation is hitting them hard, so the only soft ground for them is non-traditional media. They know what we have done and what we are up to. They are losing by the day and their members are surrendering on daily basis,” Gen. Abubakar said.

The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, in a statement yesterday, said the video confirmed that Shekau is mentally sick and unstable.

Col. Usman said: “The video has shown beyond all reasonable doubt the earlier suspicion that the purported factional terrorists group leader is mentally sick and unstable. The ranting is also another sign that the end is near for him which is part of the signs of all wicked people.

“The Nigerian Army wishes to assure the public that they should not be bothered by the contents of the video clip. This is because the facts on the ground speak for themselves. It is public knowledge that the military has been making concerted efforts to clear the remnants of the terrorists and rescue all persons held hostage by them especially the abducted Chibok Secondary School girls.

“This is a task that will be accomplished, no matter how long it takes. We are determined in this regard. Already, thousands of persons have been rescued by troops from the terrorists. The video has further shown that he has derailed and no longer believes and practises the Islam he professes to follow; as he was absent at the last Eid prayers video. It is equally reported that he could not even lead prayers.”

Col. Usman said Shekau had several times proved to be irrational and, therefore, unreliable especially when it comes to negotiations on the release of the abducted girls. Therefore, he must release them unconditionally.

“We want to assure Nigerians, especially the residents of Maiduguri, Kano, Kaduna and Zaria, not to panic as we have more than what it takes to defend them and deal decisively with the remnants of the terrorists group. We would like to reiterate that Boko Haram terrorism, as it was known, is gone for good. We are just counting down to the day when all the few remnants will be totally wiped out or brought to justice,” Col. Usman said.

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