Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s factional leader, on Wednesday released new audio in which he spoke about Nigeria’s new service chiefs, saying they cannot do as their predecessors did in the war against insurgency in the northeast.
In the nine-minute, 56-second video, Shekau said he had heard about the retirement of previous service chiefs and their replacement with new ones, but he said his message was to call them to Islam.
President Muhammadu Buhari announced the replacement of the military chiefs on Tuesday and said he accepted their immediate resignation and retirement, although he did not give a reason.
Maj. Gen. Leo Irabor is the new chief of defence staff and chief of military staff, while Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru is the new chief of army staff, Rear Adm. A.Z. Gambo became chief of naval staff, and Air Vice-Marshal I.O. Amao is the new chief of the Air Staff.
In the new audio, Shekau mentioned the names and roles of the new service chiefs and called on them to turn back because they cannot do anything to destroy his terror gang.
“Leo Irabor, the head of the military, you should have pity on yourself, repent and convert to Islam. There is nothing you can do,” Shekau said.
He said Major General Ibrahim Attahiru should not fool himself because he has a Muslim background.
“Even if you are a Muslim but engage in polytheistic practices, you are no longer a Muslim,” Shekau said.
A source familiar with Boko Haram activities told HumAngle that members of the group are likely to conduct major operations to send a message to the new service chiefs that they are ready to fight.