|boko haram leader|
■ Drops Thuraya phone line to block traces
■ We’ll hunt him down – Army
As the military deploys its special force units to track the fleeing leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, there are strong indications that the terror kingpin may have fled Nigeria through the help of Islamic State (ISIS) groups operating in East and North Africa.
Saturday Sun gathered that with the recent loss of his group’s caliphate headquarters, Gwoza to the Nigerian troops and the invasion of Sambisa forest by a detachment of the nation’s special force units deployed from their base in Makurdi, Benue State, the Boko Haram leader saw his capture as imminent.
According to dependable military intelligence sources, Shekau had to send emissaries to ISIS affiliates with strongholds in East and North Africa to pave the way for his escape to their region from where he intends to coordinate his group’s activities or ultimately relocate to ISIS headquarters in the Middle East.
One of the sources revealed that “having discovered that he was being tracked through his Thuraya satellite phone, Shekau recently dropped the line and handset totally to evade capture. But the last satellite image of him and other intelligence pieced together by forces on the battle frontline show his desperation to escape from the country to parts of East Africa or North Africa where ISIS is having some footholds.”
The source, a red neck military chief further told Saturday Sun that “as part of moves being made by Shekau, he now relocates with fewer guards and limited number of lieutenants knowing his movement schedule. This is to frustrate intelligence gathering efforts by security forces and avoid attracting the focus of satellite image capturing technology deployed by some foreign super powers and shared with the Nigerian security forces.”
It was gathered that as part of his bid to escape the heat of ongoing military operations in the Northeast Nigeria, Shekau has in the last few weeks changed his look and physical appearance dramatically. “A recent intelligence from one of our foreign partners shows the Boko Haram leader clean shaven which totally alters his look. That heightens our curiosity about his motive, before we got other evidence that pointed to the fact that he was trying to cross the border”, the source added.
The militant group had on March 7 pledged allegiance to the leadership of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The pledge, which was made by Shekau, who addressed himself as the Imam of Jamaátu Ahlus Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad (Boko Haram) and was addressed to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Qurashi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“From your brother in Allah, Abu Mohamed Abu Bakr bin Mohammed Shekau, the Imam of Jamaátu Ahlus Sunnah Lidda Awaati Wal Jihad to the Caliph of Muslims Abubakar Abu Bakr Ibrahim ibn Awad ibn Ibrahim al-Husseini al-Qurashi.
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