Nigerian soldiers participate in an operation in Nigeria's northeastern state of Borno, March 16, 2016. (Xinhua/Wale Salau)
LAGOS, July 22 (Xinhua) -- Nigeria's Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai has directed troops to capture Abubakar Shekau, self-styled leader of the Boko Haram sect, "dead or alive."
In a statement made available to Xinhua in Lagos, Nigeria's economic hub on Saturday, Buratai directed Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, the Theater Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maiduguri, to do so within 40 days.
He said the Commander should employ all arsenal at the disposal of the Theater Command to smoke out Shekau wherever he is hiding in Nigeria.
He appealed to members of the public to assist in providing information that would rid the society of these insurgents.
In November, 2016, the Nigerian army declared leader of the Boko Haram sect, and 54 insurgents, wanted for various "terror acts."
The development comes two months after Sani Usman, an army spokesman, claimed Shekau was fatally wounded during a raid on Sambisa forest.
Shekau has always debunked the claims of the military that he had been killed.
In September, 2014, security forces announced that one Mohammed Bashir, who had been posing as the "eccentric character" Shekau, had been taken down. It maintained that the sect leader was killed during a military raid on Sambisa forest.
But Shekau debunked the report of his death in videos that emerged days after.