No doubt, it was suspicious from the get go to think that the Nigerian Army and its allied forces that make up Operation Lafiya Dole had truly completed a sweep of Operation Lafiya Dole. It truly was . Especially considering the fact that the information was being dished to us by the same people who claimed to have killed a certain Abubakar Shekau more than once and at other times, laid claim to having captured him before the most recent version that the Boko Haram leader has “fled”.
But what choice did we have? As the kids will ask: “Is it your killing/capturing/fleeing?” We weren’t there and we can only work with what those who are fighting on the front lines give us.
Except that now “we” (i.e Mrs Obiagele Ezekwesili, Mrs Aisha Yesufu and members of the free press) have gone and seen said Sambisa forest firsthand – the feedback is that what we were made to believe had been swept clean of terrorists is only a tiny portion of the whole Sambisa forest.
On the 23rd of December, 2016, the President was briefed by Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, that the insurgents’ camp fell at about 1:35p.m This prompted an almost immediate goodwill message from Mr. president where he commended the soldiers for “finally entering and crushing the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents at ‘Camp Zero’, which is located deep within the heart of Sambisa Forest.”
With this, we were made to believe that the Nigerian Armed Forces have finally chased out Boko Haram fighters. The theory was that the insurgents could not take the heat and so they fled, so hurriedly that Abubakar Shekau left his flag and copy of the Quran. And they said this more than once and in different ways too. There’s even a video here.
But now, here is what Mrs Ezekwesili found out during the guided tour she and others are on:
That Sambisa, the forest is 18 times the size of Lagos and Camp Zero, the portion of land that was actually “swept clean” is an almost insignificant one compared to the mass of land that is actually the Sambisa.
— Oby Ezekwesili (@obyezeks) January 16, 2017
Meaning- that the Boko Haram insurgents are possibly still within the Sambisa forest.
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