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OP-UNEDITED | Baban Salkida Got It Wrong Again – By Richard Murphy

Boko Haram expert (more of Boko Haram Chief Propagandist) Ahmad Salkida is doing a yeoman’s job in perpetrating belief in the invincibility of the terror group. His most recent delivery for the terrorists is the tepid argument meant to discredit reports that the Nigerian Army’s Operation Lafiya Dole has killed Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) media chief, Sale Ahmad Sale, also known as Baban Hassan.

Salkida wrote on his @A_Salkida Twitter handle that “Dear Nigerian military, you killed Baban Hassan on a Friday night, 3rd November 2017.

His death and that of several other leaders of the group was known next day. Announcing this as breaking news and linking him with the abduction of Leah Sharibu in November 2018 is preposterous.”

What is preposterous, however, is that a discredited fellow hides behind the comfort of his keypad in a luxury apartment financed by terrorists somewhere in the Middle East and attempt to brainwash an entire population of enlightened people. It is the height of delusion for Salkida to think that his bogus claim of being the expert on Boko Haram/ISWAP licenses him to openly lie to Nigerians and the world.

He certainly believes he is dealing with an audience that does not possess the ability to read between the lines and arrive at useful deductions. Perhaps a terrorists loving fraction of his online followers take his words as the equivalent of a religious testament but there is the wider audience that have not only seen through him but has also become tired of his lies.

His claim that a Baban Hassan killed in 2017 is the one killed in 2018 is an admission of not being grounded in the trends among the terrorists contrary to the pretentions of being a Boko Haram expert. If Salkida were truly grounded and familiar with the group, he would have known the very basic thing that there is the high probability and tendencies for the group to duplicate names – more than one terrorist would go by a particular appellation especially when the name holds significance for them; and by the way, even among the wider population in the north there is the tendency to have several persons answer the same appellation or sequence of names.

Secondly, it is known that names among the terrorists tend to evolve into titles or designations over time, particularly when a previous holder of that name is adjudged to have performed exploits in the blood thirsty pastime of sowing sorrow, tears and blood. When the original owner of the name is killed the one that succeeds him in the evil role would possibly discard his given or existing name to adopt that of his predecessor. Of course this has served to confound the civilian population that often wonder how it was possible that the same person is being killed over and over again without realising that it is the occupants of a post that are being decimated by the Nigerian troops. The quick succession with which troops killed whoever answered the name “Abu Qaqa” eventually led Boko Haram to retire that designation that was once used for its propaganda chief, a position later informally assumed by Salkida.

There is also the practice among the terrorists to use ‘nom de guerre’, aliases for battle, which often sticks and become better known than the original name. Given the frequency with which the Nigerian Army dispatches these heretics to keep appointments with their makers, ‘nom de guerre’ get recycled in quick succession.

The name Sale Ahmad Sale (Baban Hassan) could then have been recycled up to four times in the interval between November 2017 and November 2018; except of course Salkida wants to tell us that he has continual communication with a particular Baban Hassan since he is tied in with the terrorists on a level that exceeds the journalist-source relationship.

He equally ignored the familial connection among these terrorists. Siblings, half-siblings, cousins, uncles and other blood connection that makes telling them apart. In addition to recycling names it could also be difficult to tell some of them apart. When people that are related decide to inherit names of their slain members, it could be difficult to tell them apart and they are more likely to retain the aliases used by their deceased relation because the attachment that is inherent.
A picture was shared of Baban Hassan of course.

But in an era where digital recycling and mislabelling is more of the norm than exception this is highly understandable. When Salkida’s clients decided to murder an innocent aid worker with the International Committee of the Red Cross, Hauwa Liman, one of the depressing things that happened was that the picture of another Hauwa Liman, who remains alive, was widely used to illustrate reports of the murder – not even the outrage expressed by the living Hauwa Liman has corrected that error. An online search for that story still returns the wrongly used illustration.

It will therefore be disingenuous to blame authorities if the photographs of Baban Liman 2017 are being used to illustrate the killing of Baban Liman 2018 just at the Nigerian Army cannot be blamed for Salkida’s friends deciding to recycle names.

Salkida must pay heed to the sheer arrogance that makes him insult hardworking journalists in Nigeria in his bid to ridicule the Army. The killing of Baban Hassan a few days ago was well reported by respectable media organizations, whose reporters and editors do not just copy and paste statements and press releases the way Salkida regurgitates terrorist materials shared to him; these hardworking Nigerians verify stories before publishing – they would have known better than to kill the same Baban Hassan twice.

Salkida can only ridicule journalists this way because he is no longer one – he stopped being one long ago since he decided to switch sides and began managing propaganda for killers. This is why the neutrality expected from a media person is consistently absent in all the updates he provides, they are always from the perspective of a member of a terror cell as opposed to an objective portrayal of events.

The word in the underworld is that this fellow has recently become depressed and suicidal owing to the waning accuracy of his analyses and predictions of Boko Haram related issues and the failure of the current administration to patronize and pay him as a broker as it was done in the past.

This, it is understood, was further exacerbated by the thinning of his network as more and more of his associates get killed in clearance operations. He must perhaps be thinking of committing suicide by provocation in the hope that he can get the Nigerian security community to behave like his Saudi clients and treat him as they did Jamal Khashoggi.

The reality however is that in spite of the endless propaganda that has created a contrary impression, the security agencies in Nigeria are way more refined than to help Salkida become a hero or putting him out of the misery he created for himself. If he has truly become suicidal as being insinuated he should seek professional help because Nigeria needs him alive to one day confess to the roles he is playing to keep Boko Haram active. Lying to Nigerians that his client that has been liquidated in a military operation was the same person killed one year ago will do nothing to create the kind of uproar he was once known to cause over Boko Haram issue so he will only deepen his own misery as opposed to causing panic and terror among the population.

In the interim, Salkida can continue to deny the killing of another strategic terrorist leader, he can continue to deny that the terror infrastructure is being gradually pulled apart one highly placed commander after the other, but what he cannot wish away is the fact that another Baban Hassan has met his waterloo and whoever replaces him will meet the same fate, whether they decide to retain the name Baban Hassan or decide on a new ‘nom de guerre’.

Murphy, a security consultant wrote this piece from Lagos




Inspired by Steve Biko’s ‘I Write What I Like‘, OP-UNEDITED is the citizen opinion segment of SIGNAL. All opinions posted on the OP-UNEDITED page are unedited and the raw opinions of the writers.

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