Chadian President Idriss Deby on Wednesday vowed to "wipe out" Boko Haram and called on the group's chief Abubakar Shekau to give himself up, warning that he knew where the militant leader was hiding out.
"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," Deby said at a press conference with his visiting Niger counterpart.
Deby said Shekau had fled the strategic northeast Nigerian town of Dikwa after Boko Haram fighters were chased out of the town by Chadian troops in fierce clashes last month.
The Chadian army at the time said two of its soldiers and 117 Boko Haram Islamists were killed in the fighting around Dikwa in Nigeria's Borno state on February 17. Little is known of Shekau, who has been declared a global terrorist by the United States and sanctioned by the United Nations. "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," Deby said. Nigeria and its neighbours Chad, Niger and Cameroon last month launched an unprecedented joint campaign against the Nigeria-based Boko Haram group, after the militants widened their offensive with attacks in the neighbouring countries.
The Boko Haram conflict has killed more than 13,000 people since 2009 and forced more than one million to flee their homes in northeast Nigeria. The group claims to be fighting to create an Islamic state in Nigeria.