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Two Boko Haram commanders and deputies to Abubakar Shekau, a factional leader of the terror group, were killed in successful military operations at Alafa in Borno on Sallah day, an official has said.

The army spokesman, Brig-General Sani Usman, said in a statement on Tuesday that the deputies that were killed in the onslaught included Afdu Kawuri and Abubakar Banishek.
“This is in addition to Ba’Abba Ibrahim and two other Boko Haram commanders that died after sustaining injuries during their last ambush at Magumeri Local Government Area of Borno,” he added.

He said five other key leaders of the group and close associates of Shekau were neutralised in joint bombardment in August.

Usman, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) described Shekau’s latest video in which he taunted the army as an act of desperation and lies by remnants of the insurgents to instill unnecessary fear in law abiding citizens.

In the video, the group denied the killing of its five key commanders and claimed it had wonderful Sallah celebration in the Sambisa forest.

“We wish to challenge the so-called terrorist leader to produce the five key commanders earlier killed or the video of those Ameers he claimed not dead and are still with him.

“It is also instructive to note that Shekau is scared and rattled by the 40-day ultimatum issued by the Chief of Army Staff to Operation Lafiya Dole to fish him out,” Usman, a brigadier general, said.

Usman also yesterday said the recent video released by Boko Haram terrorists was a mere propaganda strategy and a sign of defeat.

He said: “The Nigerian Army has noted that in their desperation, the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists have released yet another video clip yesterday, in which they made all manner of spurious assertions, denying the surrender of some of the terrorists and the killing of five key commanders, among other lies, all aimed at instilling unnecessary fears in law abiding people.

“Although the relevant department is still analysing the video clip, suffice to state that it is sheer desperation and clear signs of fear as our troops keep closing up on them.

Usman stated that the “two other Deputies of the purported Boko Haram terrorists group leader, Afdu Kawuri and Abubakar Banishek, were killed in a successful military operation at Alafa on Sallah day, Friday, September 1, 2017.

“This is in addition to Ba’Abba Ibrahim and 2 other Boko Haram commanders that died after sustaining injuries during their last ambush at Magumeri Local Government Area of Borno State.

“We wish to challenge the so-called terrorist leader to produce the five key commanders earlier killed or the video of those Ameers he claimed not dead and are still with him.

“It is also instructive to note that Shekau is scared and rattled by the 40-day ultimatum issued by the Chief of Army Staff to the Theatre Commander Operation Lafiya Dole and hiding from one hole to another, like the bush rat that he really is,” said Usman.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) yesterday gave heroic burial to its late Instructor Pilot, Group Captain Adanu Gabriel Ochai, who lost his life in an air mishap involving a NAF Air Beetle aircraft on 24 August 2017 in Kaduna.
The late senior officer was laid to rest at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja.

Speaking at the burial ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the demise of Group Captain Ochai called for sober reflection and described it as a great loss to the NAF and to the nation at large.
According to him, the NAF had lost a hardworking, committed and excellent senior officer who, during his lifetime, contributed to some feats in the NAF.

“One of such feats was the successful training and graduation of 16 NAF student pilots who completed their initial flying training while still being cadets at the Nigerian Defence Academy.

“That was a target last achieved 32 years ago, according to the CAS. He described the late senior officer as a dedicated pilot who went the extra-mile to add value to the NAF. Air Marshal Abubakar, assured the immediate family of the deceased that they remained a part of the Air Force family and would be so treated,” he said.

Paying the last tributes on behalf of the Ochai family, the elder brother of the deceased senior officer, Brigadier General John Ochai, expressed appreciation to the NAF for honouring his late brother with a national burial.
He described his late brother as one who always loved service more than self.

He stated that his late brother had great plans for his family. He therefore pledged that with God’s assistance, he would ensure that no vacuum was left as a result of the death of his brother.

Earlier in his remarks, a course mate and close friend of the departed senior officer, Group Captain Olufemi Ogunsina, also extolled the virtues of the late instructor pilot, noting that he died while doing what he was passionate about.

The burial ceremony was attended by the acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, who represented the minister, top government officials, current and past service chiefs, several serving and retired senior military officers, members of the diplomatic corps, eminent civilians, relatives and friends.

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