Nigeria's army chief escapes 'assassination attempt'


Military claims Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai was attacked by Shia militants on Saturday

By Olarewaju Kola

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – The Nigerian military has claimed that Shia militants have attempted to assassinate the army’s chief of staff.

A statement released on Saturday claimed that Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai had been targeted by members of a radical movement in the northwest city of Zaria.

Army spokesman, Col. Sani Usman, made the claim but the short statement did not add further detail.

Buratai, who hails from the troubled northeast region, was appointed as the country’s senior military officer five months ago by President Mohammadu Buhari to end the Boko Haram insurgency.

The military has claimed that a “sustained offensive has decapitated Boko Haram” although there remain pockets of attacks in remote communities in the northeast states of Borno and Adamawa.

“The mandate to end Boko Haram by December is realizable and sacrosanct,” the army chief said during a tour of his counter-insurgency forces in the north-eastern states last week.