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Nigerian army 'ordered not to catch Boko Haram leader'

Stephanie Hegarty

BBC Africa, Lagos

The Nigerian army have issued a bounty of $8,000 (£5,724) for the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau.

But the BBC has found that, in a recent operation, soldiers were very close to Boko Haram’s main camp in the Sambisa forest when they were ordered to stop and eventually forced to retreat.

Shekau escaped from his hideout leaving behind his cap, a laptop, his jacket, his chewing stick and a pistol, a witness from the vigilante forces, working alongside the Nigerian army, told the BBC.

“They ran away I saw them with my naked eyes,” the witness added.




Around 200 to 300 Boko Haram fighters are in operation, according to a commander who defected just after the attack.

He told the BBC the militants are “still armed, but most of what they say is propaganda”.

The army repeatedly claim they’ve caught, killed or injured their elusive enemy.

But President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim a year ago that Boko Haram was technically defeated is still regarded sceptically by many Nigerians.

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