The Nigerian military has said it is yet to confirm the purported arrest of a Boko Haram kingpin known in Hausa as Bashir Sarkin Yanka (Bashir the Slaughter King), who had been acting as Abubakar Shekau in some visual materials of the terrorist sect posted on social media.
The Civilian JTF in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State at the weekend claimed the arrest of Bashir.
The arrested suspect was reported to have confessed to the Civilian JTF that he had acted as Shekau – the elusive terrorist leader – in some videos and was responsible for the death of his (Bashir’s) mother, two sisters and brother aside his involvement in mass slaughters.
Reacting to the purported arrest, the spokesperson of Operation Lafiya Dole in the North-East, Air Commodore Dele Alonge, said the military could not immediately authenticate the report.
According to him, the Nigerian military had sustained its counter-insurgency operations where some terrorists had been eliminated and others apprehended in the North-East.
Alonge said: “As you are aware, the Nigerian military has succeeded in routing out terrorists from some of their hideouts in the North-East, and, in the process, some were eliminated and others had been arrested.
“We cannot at the moment provide the identities of those in our custody or in other places until after we have conducted thorough investigations”, he said.
Speaking further, the Operation Lafiya Dole spokesman said the military arrested two suspects, Audu Umar and Hassan Umar, for smuggling themselves among the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) brought from Pulka to Gwoza IDPs Camp in Borno State.
He said the suspects, all male, were undergoing interrogation by the military and intelligence operatives.