Chris Steven, Abuja
The Coalition Against Terrorism (CAT) has described the new video released by factional Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau as a desperate attempt to convince his sponsors that his group is still relevant for business ahead of 2019 general elections.
The group at a press conference in Kaduna said the video shows Shekau is aware that the dragnet for his capture is closing in and is now trying to reenact a psychological gimmick that had worked for him under different circumstances in the past to prove he’s still relevant.
Shehu Garuba, Coordinator of the group said the renewed directive to troops under the Mobile Strike Teams (MSTs) to hunt down Boko Haram leader in line with the 40 days ultimatum for his capture is welcome saying the groups in the coalition believe the renewed military push to capture Shekau would defeat suicide bombing in the North east.
Garuba said the group’s confidence in the ability of the military to fish out Shekau in few days time is unwavering.
“Our hope is that the troops would accelerate their mission to smoke the Boko Haram leader out given the new low to which his depravity has sunken. Boko Haram went underground to brainwash parents into coercing their girl children into becoming suicide bombers.
“The military must focus on the task at hand and not be distracted by this antic of the terrorists and those behind them. It takes the worst form of perversion to recruit young girls and innocent women to die for other people’s pecuniary reasons.
“In the face of such disparately unconventional circumstances, we commend the achievements of the Nigerian military, which has done well in fighting, degrading and defeating the militant wing of the terror group.
” We hail the sacrifices of those that have laid down their lives to procure the measure of peace in the areas where Boko Haram once peddle terror on a large scale,” he said.
The coalition tasked the military to move the war on terrorism from the fighters and commanders of the group to going after the political assets and platforms of the insurgents saying Nigerians are in full support of any strategy that would further weaken the terrorists hence the need to go after its economic and financial contacts.
Garuba said all entities that pose as NGOs to support the terrorists and provide cover for them should also be investigated while the combination of all these should prepare the grounds for implementation of Boko Haram strategies.
“Nigerian authorities must approach internet giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter and others to secure a commitment to block pro-terrorists contents like the video released by Shekau.
“The social media sites must also be compelled to block accounts that promote Boko Haram’s activities. These organizations already comply with such requests from several countries. They either comply or are denied the opportunity to do business in Nigeria,” he stated.
The coalition also canvassed the modification of the protocols at military checkpoints to stop exempting any vehicle from search until such a time that Abubakar Shekau and other leading Boko Haram figures have been captured.
“This implies that all vehicles must be searched at these checkpoints even when they are diplomatic cars, convoys of government officials, aid caravans and even vehicles of the various military services.
“Our thinking is that the desperation of the terrorists will make them to become more ingenious in attempting to evade detection as troops close in on them. Their easiest escape would be in vehicle that would not be strictly scrutinized.
Their ability to cross geographical areas could only have been possible by hitching rides in cars that enjoy the courtesy of not needing to be screened,” he said.
The group appealed to the international agencies and politicians in the region to not only cooperate when such measure is introduced by the military but champion the stepping up of vehicular search adding that the military must commit to not criminalizing without thorough investigation any organization or politician whose vehicle is found to be conveying suspected terrorists.
He said, “Community, traditional and religious leaders are needed to prevail on people to stop conscripting their children, especially the girl child, as suicide bombers.
“Nothing on earth justifies anyone to bear and raise an offspring only to sentence the child to death in the most horrible manner.
The cooperation of everyone is needed to end this insanity of terrorism. We must join hands together as a people to fight Boko Haram”.