President Idriss Deby of Chad said Wednesday he knew the hideout of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, and vowed that the leader of the insurgent group will be killed if he fails to surrender.
“It is in Abubakar Shekau’s interest to surrender, we know where he is. If he refuses to give himself up, he will suffer the same fate as his comrades,” Mr. Deby said at a press conference with his visiting Niger counterpart, news agency AFP reported.
Mr. Deby vowed to “wipe out” Boko Haram, responsible for more than 15,000 deaths.
Mr. Shekau has remained in hiding since his group started out in 2009 targeting civilians, security officials, villages, schools, markets and places of worship. He however appears infrequently in propaganda videos released by the sect.
The Nigerian military has repeatedly, but incorrectly, claimed to have killed Mr. Shekau, who is also wanted by the United States government.
Lately, increased military operations by Nigeria, Chad, Cameroun and Niger have apparently pushed back Boko Haram, with Nigerian forces recovering several towns held by the group.
The Chadian Army also announced this week that it retook the key town of Dikwa in Borno State.
At the press conference on Wednesday, the Chadian leader said Mr. Shekau fled Dikwa after his troops chased out Boko Haram fighters on February 17.
According to the AFP, the Chadian army at the time said two of its soldiers and 117 Boko Haram Islamists were killed in the fighting.
“We are going to win the war and we are going to wipe out Boko Haram, contrary to what certain media think. The Chadian and Niger forces will continue their mission to finally put an end to this shadowy group,” Mr. Deby said.
Mr. Deby had been accused in the past of providing a safe haven for Boko Haram insurgents, and was purportedly the mediator in a phony ceasefire between the Nigerian government and the sect in 2014.