Blood-thirsty terrorist group, Boko Haram, is no longer led by the “invincible” Abubakar Shekau, Chad’s President Idriss Deby, declared Tuesday.
Deby also revealed that efforts to combat the insurgents had succeeded in “decapitating” the group and would be wrapped up “by the end of the year”, in confirmation of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s assurance that Boko Haram will finally be crushed by end of 2015.
Addressing reporters in the capital N’Djamena, on the occasion of the country’s 55th independence anniversary, Deby said: “Boko Haram is decapitated. There are little groups (of Boko Haram members) scattered throughout east Nigeria, on the border with Cameroon. It is within our power to definitively overcome Boko Haram”.
“The war will be short, with the setting up of the regional force, it will be over by the end of the year”, Deby added, referring to a reinvigorated multinational joint task force spear-headed by Nigeria aimed at ending Boko Haram’s bloody six-year insurgency, which he said would become “operational in a few days”.
Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger are the other countries that make up the MNJTF.
Deby further claimed that Boko Haram was no longer led by Shekau and that his successor, Mahamat Daoud, was open to talks.
“There is someone apparently called Mahamat Daoud who is said to have replaced Abubakar Shekau and he wants to negotiate with the Nigerian government.
“For my part, I would advise not to negotiate with a terrorist”, Deby said.
While claiming progress in the fight against the jihadists, who have repeatedly hit border areas of Cameroon, Chad and Niger, and unleashed havoc in northeast Nigeria, Deby admitted that suicide bombers still posed a threat.
The challenge, he said, was to “avoid terrorist acts and that’s why we must organise at the regional level to prevent bomb-making materials and other explosives entering our countries”.