The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, has raised the alarm that Boko Haram elusive kingpin, Abubakar Shekau, is still alive and could be hiding in Sambisa forest – a stronghold of the sect in Borno state.
In a chat with state house correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, Dan-Ali said Shekau had been disguising with masks to evade arrest.
He, however, emphasised that the military had overpowered the sect, and expressed the belief that its leader will be arrested “as soon as possible”.
He said: “The spiritual headquarters has been ransacked and vandalised, and Shekau is on the run.”
“He may be hiding in one of the enclaves of Sambisa forest, which we are dominating. We have opened up the place we are using the place as a training area. We shall be patrolling and be ransacking that forest for the whereabouts of Shekau.
“If you have been opportune to go to Sambisa forest, you will know we have dominated the whole stronghold of the sect, their spiritual headquarters has been destroyed, and is now occupied being by our armed forces.
“I believe it’s just a matter of time, it took America about seven to 10 years to get Bin Laden, so we will get Shekau as soon as possible.”
Responding to claims by the military that Shekau had been killed, he said:
“Let me tell you categorically, these insurgents have a way of disguising with masks. It’s possible that there are many (Shekaus), but we are looking for the real one.
“He has been using mask to give the impression that he has been killed, so that we can relax, but we will not relax until we get him.”