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REVEALED: Boko-Haram Leader, Shekau Is From Niger Republic

June 26, 2013

boko-haram-leader

Leader of the Boko Haram sect Imam Abubakar Shekau hails from Niger Republic, according to the report of a Senate joint committee that investigated the deadly violence in Baga town of Borno State in April.

Senate report says Baga death toll exaggerated

Leader of the Boko Haram sect Imam Abubakar Shekau hails from Niger Republic, according to the report of a Senate joint committee that investigated the deadly violence in Baga town of Borno State in April.

Shekau is widely believed to be from Shekau village of Yobe State, but the Senate committee in its report submitted yesterday said Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima told visiting senators that the man was actually from the neighbouring Republic of Niger.

The report, a copy obtained by Daily Trust, said senators were told that “although the Boko Haram sect members have some Chadians and Cameroonians within their midst about 80 per cent of them are of Kanuri tribe, adding that the leader of the sect Abubakar Shekau is a Kanuri from Niger Republic.”

Shekau became leader of the group in 2009 following the death in police custody of erstwhile leader Mohammed Yusuf.

He is believed to have spearheaded the regrouping of the sect, which quickly graduated from conducting targeted drive-by shootings in Maiduguri to launching massive bomb assaults in Abuja, Kano, Kaduna and other places in the North.

Although he has not been seen in public since July 2009, Shekau has released occasional internet videos in which he makes claims of responsibility of attacks and taunts the Federal Government.

‘Exaggerated’

The Senate on April 23 mandated its committees on Defense and Army, Police Affairs, and National Security and Intelligence to investigate the Baga violence in which local leaders accused soldiers of killing 185 people and destroying more than 2,000 homes.

Military authorities had denied conducting indiscriminate killings, saying only 37 people died in a gun battle between soldiers from the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and Boko Haram fighters.

In its report, the Senate committee disputed the Baga death toll given by both sides but failed to provide a specific figure.

“The death toll of 185 was exaggerated but there may be more than 37 deaths. This is possible as there is no documentary evidence from either the natives or the military to ascertain figure quoted,” the report said.

The report also tried to exonerate the military, saying the incident was caused by Boko Haram who pulled out an army officer from a bus and killed him on March 29, and also killed another soldier on April 16. It said MNJF troops sent 70 soldiers to repel the Boko Haram fighters in Baga on the night of April 16, resulting in a shootout that caused “some deaths.”

But the report said the military carried out a hasty operation and this might have contributed to the level of destruction.

“The operation to flush out the Boko Haram members between 20:30HRS and 2100HRS on April 16, 2013 was carried out hastily. The MNJTF should have cordoned the area till day break and carry out house to house check; this would have reduced number of casualties and damages,” the report said.

On the destruction of houses, the report also said the “quantum of destruction of houses, vehicles and motorbikes were exaggerated. There was actual physical count of 155 houses burnt as against the figure of 2000 given by Governor Shettima and 3,059 given by the district head.”

Shettima, the report said, classified Boko Haram into three categories: “criminal elements that send text messages to individuals to extort money, political Boko Haram who sought to advance their political interstateand the real Boko Haram which are made up of moderates that are prepared to dialogue with government and the crazy religious elements who are die hard and are not ready for compromise.”

In its recommendations, the 28-member Senate panel urged troops on internal security operations to adhere to the provisions of the Geneva Convention, Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement in order to minimise casualties.

The committee called on President Goodluck Jonathan to direct the armed forces to carry out urgent recruitment of soldiers and officers as insurgency has overstretched the military.

Senators are scheduled to consider the report this morning.

 

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