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Boko Haram Gets New Leader

Chadian President, Idriss Deby, Says New Boko Haram Leader, Mahamat Daoud, Is Less Radical And Open To Negotiations

President Idriss Deby has disclosed that Boko Haram now has a new leader named Mahamat Daoud. Disclosing this to BBC Africa Service, Deby said the new Boko Haram leader was open to negotiation.

Deby, who last year alerted Nigeria to the readiness of the terrorist group to negotiate, leading to an impromptu ceasefire by the Nigerian military, however did not disclose the whereabouts of the new leader.

His alert was later found to be a hoax. He also did not say why the leadership changed, fuelling concern that Abubakar Shekau may have indeed been killed in combat, by the military, as claimed. The Nigerian military had severally claimed that Shekau had been eliminated.

Concerns for Boko Haram, which claimed responsibility for the suicide bomb attack that killed about 50 persons at Damboa Cattle market in Borno State on Tuesday, started rising after Daoud appeared in the group’s latest video. President Deby also said that the new Boko Haram leader was less radical than Shekau.

Daoud is the third leader of the group after Shekau, who emerged leader following the death in detention, of Muhammad Yusuf in 2009. President Muhammadu Buhari had said recently that he was willing and ready to negotiate with the Boko Haram for stoppage to suicide bombings which had claimed more than 1000 lives since May 29.

Meanwhile, the Defence Headquaraters has condemned Tuesday’s suicide bombing at Damboa Cattle Market which claimed about 50 lives. It also condemned continued suicide attacks in the north eastern part of the country while warning that every action would be taken to preserve human life and property against such attacks.

In a statement signed by Acting Director Defence Information, Colonel Rabe Abubakar, the Defence headquarters said “those perpetrating these heinous crimes are callous, barbaric and monsters whose activities will soon become a thing of the past”. DHQ added “The military is intensifying efforts to continue to break the bones of the terrorists and wish to re-state and re-assure Nigerians that it is not relenting in its efforts to rid the country of terrorism and any act of criminalities.

“Every step is being taken to neutralize the capability of terrorists whose activities still continue to constitute danger to civil populace as they are in disarray while running away from their former safe haven and no longer capable of confronting the troops”.

It appealed to the general public “to be extra vigilant and be wary of strange faces and objects in their localities” reminding that “asymmetric warfare calls for collective effort of both the general public and the security agencies in information gathering and sharing”.

“The public is advised to always give timely information to the security agencies in order to avert the reoccurrence of the ugly incidence”, the DHQ stated. Adding verve to the fight against terrorism, the Nigeria Air Force has launched a ‘See Something Say Something’ Initiative to enable citizen report on terrorist activities.

A statement signed by NAF’s Director Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Dele Alonge, said the initiative was in an effort to elicit more support from the civil populace and create more security awareness. “The initiative was launched at a security sensitization lecture organized for residents of Yola, Adamawa State.

The objective is to get the civil populace to share information with security agencies or report the activities of suspected persons or members of the Boko Haram Terrorist (BHT) group. “The initiative recognizes the collective role and responsibility of the people, military and civil alike, to fighting terrorism.

It is thus a new approach by the NAF to enhance the effectiveness of the on-going counter insurgency operation in the North- Eastern part of the country. “Identifying terrorist activities as senseless and inhuman, the lecture pointed out that it could only bring pain, regrets, poverty and underdevelopment to the people and their community.

“As such, the participants were urged to be actively involved in the on-going counter-terrorism campaign, and to help spread the message by educating their wards with a view to bringing all hands on deck to defeat the terrorists. The new initiative raises the need for the civil populace to be more security conscious and to report observed suspicious behaviour to security forces.

“The initiative calls for increased human intelligence by employing the individuals to know their neighbours, and to question strangers in the communities.

As part of security tips, it enjoins persons having uncompleted buildings in remote locations to regularly inspect such buildings, and to be wary of unidentified luggage, abandoned vehicles and unplanned gatherings in public places”, the NAF stated.

– Francis Moses

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