A security expert, Richard Murphy has said the killing of 135 Boko Haram terrorists in the Timbuktu Triangle around northeast Nigeria has exposed the terror group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau as a liar who is now under pressure to maintain an influence he never had.
Murphy, who spoke against the background of the series of military operations that resulted in the killing of the terrorists over last weekend, noted that the development has forced Shekau into a situation where he could be killed by his own commanders owing to the repeated losses they have suffered.
According to Murphy, “The pace at which the Nigerian military is going has made it clear that any terrorist that does not personally broker a deal to surrender is most likely to end up like those that have been killed in recent operations. Dead.
“Interestingly, there is a facet that some analysts are not seeing in the present military operations. These Boko Haram terrorists are being killed as they flee the battlegrounds. It is not that they were being repelled in the course of attacking a military base, it is not that they were killed while springing an ambush or launching a surprised attack against troops. They are being decimated by an army that took the war to them in their hideouts.
“I have an explanation for this. It is that the fundamentals changed in a way that Boko Haram terrorists and their commanders are yet to appreciate. They have lost the capacity to retreat into neighbouring Chad after launching attacks in Nigeria and the same can be said of Niger and even Cameroon. The Nigerian military also took delivery of certain hardwares, which was not the case as at the time decision makers in the west were being swayed by fabricated human rights violations report.
“Add the compelling leadership exhibited by the Nigerian Army Chief, General Buratai, and you begin to get a picture of why Shekau will do well to close shops, possibly consider a surrender, if that window is still open,” the security expert posited.
He said the number of terrorists killed by government troops in recent weeks have exposed Shekau’s “numerous lies” that have spurred his minions to their death in the ongoing war being waged against their insurgency.
Murphy explained that “War is not all about the bombs and the bullets. It also entails psychological warfare, which is what propaganda is directed at achieving. This must have been what Shekau thought he was doing when he recorded the latest audio he published. But within hours of the clip making it to the public it became apparent that it was a bad call given the mix of situations he currently faced. The desperation showed through just as each sentence of the recording is now proving to be a lie.
“Shekau lied that he was not considering any decision to surrender. Yes, in the business he is currently engaged in he wouldn’t say otherwise until the final whistle, which we are not likely to wait for given the division that now dominate his camp.
“From all indications, he is on the run and his capacity to do any further fight with the troops is zero. He has lost over 300 men in just one month and such a rogue wants the world to believe that he is still able to fight? That’s not correct. He is finished and his end has come,” he declared.
The security expert however said the Nigerian Army must sustain its offensive against the terrorists to ensure recovery is impossible for them while noting that the country had given Shekau enough time to surrender while he failed to take up the offer even though it was presented several times.
He warned that the Army must fight and ensure that the last terrorist is killed and not allowed to escape into Chad or any other neighbouring nation, “Nigeria must learn from the past in two different respects. The first is that any terrorist left behind in this onslaught is like the rhizome of an invasive plant species left in the soil, given enough time and the right conditions it will grow and take over the whole place; this is what happens each time the military defeats Boko Haram and leaves behind some remnants of the fighters. The second thing Nigeria must learn from is the history of Boko Haram itself, if you killed its founder or leader without mopping up the followers, they will always find a mad man to lead them into battle,” Murphy stated.