Amid reports that the Nigeria military has deployed its special force units to track down the wanted Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, there are firm indications that he may have fled Nigeria through the help of Islamic State (ISIS) groups operating in East and North Africa.
The Sun reported that Shekau is on the run following the recent loss of the sect’s caliphate headquarters in Gwoza, to Nigerian troops and the invasion of Sambisa Forest by a detachment of the nation’s special force units deployed from their base in Makurdi, Benue state.
According to dependable military intelligence sources who disclosed these details to the media outfit, Shekau had to send representatives to ISIS affiliates with strongholds in East and North Africa to pave the way for his escape to their region, from where he intends to coordinate his group’s activities or ultimately relocate to ISIS headquarters in the Middle East.
One of the sources disclosed that “having discovered that he was being tracked through his Thuraya satellite phone, Shekau recently dropped the line and handset totally to evade capture. But the last satellite image of him and other intelligence pieced together by forces on the battle frontline show his desperation to escape from the country to parts of East Africa or North Africa where ISIS is having some footholds.”
The military chief also stated that “as part of moves being made by Shekau, he now relocates with fewer guards and limited number of lieutenants knowing his movement schedule. This is to frustrate intelligence gathering efforts by security forces and avoid attracting the focus of satellite image capturing technology deployed by some foreign super powers and shared with the Nigerian security forces.”
In an attempt to escape the heat of on-going military operations in North-East Nigeria, Shekau reportedly has in the last few weeks changed his physical appearance dramatically.
“A recent intelligence from one of our foreign partners shows the Boko Haram leader clean shaven which totally alters his look. That heightens our curiosity about his motive, before we got other evidence that pointed to the fact that he was trying to cross
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