Minister of Defense, Mansur Dan Ali has said that the military is “ransacking” territory it said it has recaptured from Boko Haram in recent months in a search for its elusive leader, Abubakar Shekau.
“He is on the run so he may be hiding in one of the enclaves of Sambisa forest,” Mansur Dan Ali, told reporters on Tuesday in Abuja.
“We shall be patrolling and ransacking that forest for the whereabouts of Shekau,”
On two occasions the military has said that it killed Abubakar Shekau, only for the announcement to be swiftly followed by video denials from someone saying he is Shekau.
Earlier this month a man identifying himself as Shekau appeared in a video in which he claimed responsibility for a spate of bombings in and around the northeastern city of Maiduguri.
Large areas of the northeast, particularly in Borno state, remain under threat from Boko Haram as suicide bombings and gun attacks have increased in the area since late last year.
Ali said the military was committed to finding Shekau.
“We will not relax, we are on him,” he said.
The army said in December it had pushed Boko Haram out of its Sambisa forest stronghold in an operation to reclaim territory lost to the Islamist insurgency since 2009. But defying all odds, the insurgents have been mounting pressure on the military, adopting guerrilla tactics and springing attacks in and around territories in Borno State.
Boko Haram has killed more than 15,000 people and displaced more than two million, many of whom are living in Internally Displaced Persons camp where they are been catered for, mostly in uncertainty, following the unceasing attacks that has affected the operations of local and international caregivers and donors of food, medicine and other forms of aid.