Friday 21st July, 2017
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Boko Haram: Why Abubakar Shekau should surrender now

Boko Haram: Why Abubakar Shekau should surrender now

I have come to identify history, as a phenomenon which rep­licates itself in other parts of the world.

Sambisa Forest in Nigeria’s North East and its Camp Zero, Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) most fortified enclave in Borno state, strikes some semblance with the famed Berlin Bunker (Führerbunker) of the defeated Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler who ig­nited the senseless World War II.

Hitler retreated into it for pro­tection against air-raids when it became obvious his military might could not withstand the venom of Allied Forces against him.

I saw a replication of history, when the current incarnation of BHTs factional leader, Abubakar Shekau, retreated into Sambisa Forest and took refuge in its in­nermost sanctuary, Camp Zero in the face of ceaseless firepower from Nigerian troops. It also reminded me of the jitters that gripped Hitler in January of 1945 when his Nazi regime’s failing military campaigns lost steam and unable to withstand the Al­lied Forces that moved ferocious­ly against his empire.

History tells us Hitler relocated into the underground cave of the bunker with most of his hench­men. The Berlin Bunker, a thick-walled massive structure, about 50 feet underground, beneath the chancellery and designed as a protective shield from the air-raids of Allied Forces, was a lux­urious island unto itself with ev­erything a man needed inside it.

Yet, it was demystified by Al­lied Forces and the famed Hitler killed himself rather being cap­tured alive, when he knew the criminality against humanity could not be sustained.

These images compellingly strike one as being replicas of Abubakar Shekau’s Camp Zero in Sambisa Forest. I can still imagine embattled terrorists murmuring in hushed, sup­pressed tones, phrases like, “the enemies are here! Phew! these bloody infidels. They have en­tered Sambisa oooh! Let’s head to Camp Zero! Camp Zero!! Camp Zero is the only option.”

I was told that was the scenario, when Nigerian troops, like Allied Forces, barricaded the dreaded Sambisa forest and militarily in­vaded its dark copses in search of terrorists and their leaders.

I guess, Shekau and his out­laws erroneously thought it is the same tea cup party from a previ­ous era, so his comrades-in-evil attempted to fight back, by open­ing fire on the army troops. But the feeble counter-attacks soon fizzled out and faded, as soldiers mercilessly descended on terror­ists. Dozens were killed in the exchange of gunfire, some cap­tured, others escaped with gun­shots wounds and have melted into various cities, communi­ties and villages in Nigeria and neighbouring countries in the frenzy to escape.

The successful military expe­dition in Sambisa forest marked the end of terrorism and the defeat of Abubakar Shekau, his demonic gang of Islamic jihad­ists and Boko Haram insurgents. Like himself, residues of his ad­herents have no more shelter or a fortress that served as bulwark against soldiers and a place that afforded terrorists the luxury of retreating to hide and plotting fresh attacks on innocent Nigeri­ans. For me, no blow to a rebel­lion can be as painful and fatal as this.

I restrain myself from mocking Abubakar Shekau for the pitiable mess he has found himelf in af­ter these serial misfortunes. But that’s the difference between me and him. He can only hunger and thirst for my passion of love for humanity and sanctity of human life; while in contrast, Shekau is a soulless breed of a devil incarnate and blood spiller, whose end was foretold since July 2015.

Since President Muhammedu Buhari (PMB) ascended the throne as Nigeria’s President and re-structured/re-organized the Nigerian military, BHTs knew no peace. Precisely, the appointment of a dogged fighter, Lt.-Gen. Tu­kur Yusufu Buratai, as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) with a strict charge to end terrorism in Nigeria, heralded and foreclosed the era of Shekau and the end of terrorism in the country. And from that point, we have only watched on TV and listened to terrorists in Nigeria recount tales of woes.

If other Nigerians are on the same plane of thought with me, I think Abubakar Shekau has become the serial symbol of the misfortunes and the crumbled Boko Haram sect. In the depth of my heart, he should surrender himself to the Nigerian Army and renounce his devilish acts.

And I am convinced on several counts to offer him this sincere, free advice. To begin, most Nige­rians, like me, think, apart from the fall of Sambisa forest, his most trusted haven of bulwark against security forces, which excited him so much with the so­briquet “dreaded,” nothing in the senseless Jihadists war Shekau and followers unleashed on Ni­gerians is anywhere palpable to encourage them to forge on.

Factional leader Shekau, as­sumed leadership of the satanic jihadists group, after the demise of its founder and pioneer leader Muhammad Yusuf. But since August 2016, he has come under severe leadership tussle and re­volt within. We are aware that the sect became more radical in kill­ings and raids, under him when it was a one united bloc.

I noticed that Shekau’s atroci­ties festered uninterrupted under a complacent and docile govern­ment of the pre-May 29, 2015 era. So, he brazenly engaged in mas­sive gruesome acts of bloodbath and arson through detonated bombs. He aggressively recruit­ed young boys and girls in the Northeast, most of whom were brainwashed through charms to accept conscription as agents of death. He openly, through his videos, professed affinity and sponsorship from Iran’s Islamic State (IS) terror linchpins and swore allegiance to it in March 2015. To me, he declared himself, an enemy of Nigeria and passed a death sentence on himself.

But a shocked Shekau woke up to the unpleasant news in August of the same year that his former Public Relations Officer (PRO) Abu Musab al-Barnawi and son of the founder of Boko Haram sect, has been announced as his replacement to head the West African Province of Boko Ha­ram. The news posted on IS Al-Naba online weekly magazine confirmed it.

Al Barnawi immediately took control and asserted the pow­ers of his leadership. Among other things, he pulled off a large chunk of BHTs adherents from the Shekau’s faction. I know Al Barnawi was divinely touched to realize his former boss Shekau mindlessly and repeatedly vio­lated core Islamic principles and creeds in persecuting the Jihad war. Almighty God intervening on our behalf, one would say.

Soon, Shekau emerged on the scene to re-claim his leadership of the Boko Haram sect, declar­ing himself as still the authentic leader. He branded Al Barnawi as a coup plotter against him, whose group prevented him from com­municating with IS leader, Ca­liph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Oh! This house has fallen.

“I was asked to send my ideol­ogy in writing to the caliph but it was manipulated by some people in order to achieve their own selfish interests”, Shekau licked his wounds in lamentation.

I appreciate the Nigeria Army today because I know Shekau and the vestiges of his criminal gangs have no prospects of con­tinuing with their heinous crimes against humanity anymore. Most Boko Haram terrorists or subor­dinate commanders to Shekau have either been sniffed out of life through battle fields com­bats or have surrendered and denounced the war. I understand it as an empty house for Shekau.

The few remnants of Boko Haram foot soldiers have gone into hiding and the vigilance and alertness of Nigerian soldiers and the public is rewardingly netting most of them into detention. Shekau himself narrowly escaped capture in Sambisa Forest, as re­cently revealed by the COAS, Gen. Buratai. The searchlight of Nigerian troops and security surveillance teams is consistently beaming on them in the hide­outs.

Joyfully for Nigerians, the end has finally come for Shekau and his followers and terrorists. With no secured fortress to take pro­tective shield; the nightmare of scattered remnants of followers daily arrested; Shekau himself on security surveillance and dis­carded by IS, the only option left for him, in my estimation, is to bargain for a peaceful surrender.

I have no doubt that Nigerians of all religions and ethno-polit­ical mix have come to perceive the ideologies espoused by Shek­au’s Boko Haram as inimical to their religious beliefs and a threat to the existence of humanity not just in Nigeria, but the whole world. So, it may interest Shekau to know that he is being haunted by both known and unknown foes and faces world-wide.

No matter how long he hides from forests to caves and coun­tries to countries, it’s rather a prolongation of doomsday because he will eventually be caught. But giving up the fight and surrendering to the Nigerian Army now might invoke some sympathetic considerations for him. It is one of the most formi­dable options at his disposal. But it is my candid advice that, like Adolf Hitler, if this option does not appease Shekau, he can also commit suicide like Hitler, be­cause no wise rebel leader con­tinues with an apparently failed mission.