The United States has declared war on the leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, placing a $7 million bounty for information leading to the arrest the terrorist leader.
This was announced in a tweet by the United States Department Rewards for Justice Programme on Wednesday.
“The United States Department of State is offering a reward of up to $7 million for information leading to the arrest to the terrorist Abubakar Shekau boss of #BokoHaram,” the tweet said.
“This latest bounty placed on the head of Shekau under President Donald Trump might open a new vista in the hunt for the Boko Haram leader perhaps in the same way that the leader of ISIS, Abubakar Al-Baghdadi was hunted and killed in Syria in October last, an analyst who craved for anonymity said.
Since he assumed the leadership of the Boko Haram sect, after the execution of the former leader Mohammed Yusuf, in 2010, Shekau has been responsible for coordinated attacks and bombings leading to deaths and destruction of lives and property in Nigeria and neighboring countries in the Chad basin such as in Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
Boko Haram activities have caused the death of over 35,000 persons in mainly the northeast states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe and other parts of Nigeria since the beginning of the conflict in 2009. It has also led to the displacement of over 2.5 million people.
Shekau’s terrorist activities attracted world attention first with the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in 2012. He went further to shock the world when he masterminded the abduction of nearly 300 female school girls from Government School in Chibok Borno State on April 14 2014 after masterminding the killing of over 100 people in Nyanya, a suburb of Abuja on the same day.
The world got up in fury to condemn the abductions and a flurry of campaigns for the release of the girls took center stage in the world with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, organized by celebrities, activists and former US first lady Michelle Obama.
“I abducted your girls; I will sell them in the market, by Allah. I will sell them off and marry them off,” he had boasted.
In June 2012, the United States Department of State designated Shekau as a terrorist and effectively offering a reward of up to $7m (£4.6m) for information about his location. On June 21, 2012, the country designated Shekau a “specially designated global terrorist” under executive order 13224.