Credible sources in the theatre of operations in North-East Nigeria have revealed that some Boko Haram commanders have indicated interest to surrender and declare defeat, baring all unforeseen circumstances.
According to a highly placed source in the theatre of operations, he stated that the intensified pressure mounted on the Boko Haram group by the Nigerian Army led by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai has left the camp of the Boko Haram group in total disarray.
“I can confirm to you that the past weeks have been very challenging for the Boko Haram group that has been trapped in their hideout after their daring attack on Sector 3 of Operation Lafiya Dole. Since then, the Chief of Army Staff took over the operations of Operation Lafiya Dole, and the tide has changed. It’s a battle of no return for the Boko Haram group with some top commanders realizing that the game is finally up, and there is nowhere to run to as it stands.”
The source further added that some top commanders of the group have severed ties with Abubakar Shekau and are primed to lead thousands of their fighters to surrender and declare an end to the hostilities.
“The tide has changed and barring any last-minute changes; commanders of Boko Haram who have ostensibly broken away from Abubakar Shekau will surrender and declare the war over as the Nigerian troops continue to advance towards them.”
According to a staff of one of the NGOs in operation in the North East, she stated that they have been receiving pseudo messages from unknown sources soliciting for assistance and forgiveness.
“We have been bombarded daily with messages we suspect are from Boko Haram mostly in Arabic. Messages such as “be our mediator. We want food. We seek Allah’s forgiveness, and we are dying.”
“These messages have been constant in the past two weeks, and there is little that we can do since we do not know the source of the message. However, the general consensus is that something is happening in the Boko Haram camp that we are not privy to since we are not in the theatre of operation. We have also heard stories of Boko Haram wanting NGOs to act as mediators. However, I do not think my organization would want to get involved because we have been victims of the fangs of Boko Haram. As such, we are very distant from them.”
It was also gathered from reliable sources in the IDP camps that in recent weeks many women and children have been released and undergoing a medical checkup at the various IDP camps across Borno State.
“We have experienced an upsurge of women and children in our various camps. As we speak, most of the children are malnourished, and our health workers are doing everything possible to attend to them.”
When asked where the women and children came from, the source declined to comment. It directed our reporter to the Operation Lafiya Dole cantonment. All attempts to convince the source proved abortive.
However, it was gathered that the women and children released were part of the bargaining deal; some top Boko Haram commanders entered with some international NGOs in return for a ceasefire from the Nigerian troops.
A source in the know of the deal, and who pleaded anonymity, stated that some of the commanders of Boko Haram have been making efforts to surrender and to show their seriousness, they have been releasing in batches women and children held in captivity.
“Please do not quote me, but I can tell you that the Boko Haram group has released many women and children. They sent us messages through these women and children, stating that they are ready to surrender and that Abubakar Shekau is no longer their leader. They promised to release more if the Nigerian government would forgive them and reintegrate them back into society.”
“How that would play out is left for the Nigerian Military as we are concerned about the safety of these women and children that have been held down in captivity against their wishes for a very long time. It is such a sad situation as some of these women and children are exhibiting mental health issues. We pray that this crisis is resolved soon so that normalcy can return, especially as these people have been making overtures to the Nigerian Military in recent times.”
In a similar vein, a top military source confided in this medium that indeed the Boko Haram commanders have been releasing those held in their captivity to show the Military that they are serious in their demand in surrendering and ending the war.
“As we speak, the Military is taking note of the numbers that are being released from Boko Haram captivity. We are not carried away by this supposed act of benevolence from the Boko Haram commanders as they could be strategically releasing some of their trapped members, including themselves, the commanders.”
“The Chief of Army Staff has directed that there must be strict profiling of all those released, so any antics does not deceive us. We do not want to leave anything to chance that would jeopardize the efforts of the Chief of Army Staff who is personally leading the onslaught against the group.”
The source further added that the Chief of Army Staff had issued a directive to all the Sector commanders to ensure that the hostilities end as soon as possible and with the capture of Abubakar Shekau alive.
“We are intensifying efforts in our pursuit of Abubakar Shekau in line with the directive of the Chief of Army Staff. We are also ensuring that there are minimal casualties. On the issue of granting amnesty to the Boko Haram fighters that have denounced Abubakar Shekau. That is left for the political authorities to decide as I am not aware of any interest indicated by the Chief of Army Staff in this regard.”
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Military has intensified efforts against the Boko Haram group in recent weeks, and this has led to some commanders of the group seeking a truce with the Nigerian Military.