Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Boko Haram reveal their sponsors

Just when the federal government of Nigeria is seeking to unravel the faces of patrons
of a new Christian militia group dubbed Akhwat Akwop, the Jama’atul Ahlus Sunna Lid Da’awatis Jihad (JASLIDAT), otherwise known as Boko Haram has revealed that the masterminds of the radical Islamic sect are some prominent Northerners, whose identities would be made public soon.

An adherent of late Muhammad Yusuf, the slain leader of the group, Mallam Ali Teshako told THEWILL on Monday that the original brains behind the sect’s formation were Northern elites who under the pretext of sponsoring youths to study in the Middle East subsequently offered them as mercenaries to countries interested in training terrorists.

Mallam Teshako who dismissed the Akhwat Akwop as another “group of vultures” that wants to feast on the misfortunes of the apex government attributed its emergence to lack of good governance and injustice in the country.

“This is another group of thieves who want to seek relevance from the government,” Mallam Teshako explained. Going down memory lane the spokesperson of JASLIDAT, also known as Yusufiyya, named after its slain leader, said the original name of the group was the Taliban. He said the name Boko Haram was not its name but that it given to it by people in the states where they have followers and have been clashing with security operatives.

According to him, when those who formed JASLIDAT thought that they could manipulate Yusuf into towing their line, but he resisted.

“If he were alive he would have spilled the beans on the them. But nonetheless, we will reveal their identity at our convenience,” Teshako emphasized. He said the clashes between the group and security operatives in the country was as a result of the provocations by the police. He recalled that in 2009 the police who had shot dead two of their members traced them to a cemetery where they went to bury them and wounded 20 more people.

“Still not satisfied they trailed those wounded to a hospital in Maiduguri and prevented them from getting blood donations and treatments. In the wake of all these we were hounded, chased from our homes, some of us were killed and many were arrested including myself,” Teshako said.

Teshako indicated that many of the atrocities attributed to JASLIDAT are perpetrated by killer squads funded by some serving and defunct governors in North-East Nigeria. He gave an example of an attack on a police station that was actually carried out by the ECOMOG militia sponsored by former Borno governor, Ali Modu Sheriff. He said after the attack his group was blamed.

Nigeria newspapers however revealed that in August 2009, shortly after Muhammad Yusuf was killed he was linked with Nigerian businessman Bello Damagum, who was alleged to have been receiving money from an alleged al-Qaeda group in Sudan to recruit young men to his organisation. Part of the funds were also allegedly passed on to Yusuf.  In 2004 one Mohammed Salman (aka Ibrahim was arrested in Lahore in Pakistan and linked to Al-Qaeda.

The same year the State Security Service (SSS) in Kano paraded some young men who absconded from an al-Qaeda training camp in Mauritania. The SSS director in Kano then, Sadiq Dalhatu, who is now retired paraded them saying they were sent to be turned into “extreme Islamic zealots.” This led to the arrest and detention of Damagum, a director with Media Trust Limited (publishers of Daily Trust titles), and two others by the State Security Service (SSS). Later a court in Kano ruled that their detention was unlawful and a violation of their fundamental human rights as enshrined under chapter 4 section 35 of the constitution.

Damagum and the other suspects were detained from June 23 to July 7, 2004.  They were awarded N150, 000 as damages. The SSS was also directed to write a public apology to the three applicants, for their unlawful detention.

Teshako however told THEWILL in a conference call that Damagum is a small fry in the complex matrix of the Boko Haram web created by Northern elites. His claim is corroborated by a report by Afrik.com which reported that evidence of the movement’s emergence gathered by the SSS were given to the police which refused to act.

 “Inroads made by the SSS were thwarted by Muslim leaders who attacked the Director General of the SSS, Mr. Afakirya Gadzama, for trying to humiliate Islam because he is a Christian.”

The report titled ‘Nigeria: al-Qaeda Presence in Nigeria has been Kept under wraps’ stated that “to allay fears of religious prejudices the SSS chief organised a meeting with some top Muslim leaders and some of the arrested members of Boko Haram. They (the Northern leaders) have come out to accept the findings of the security services.”

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