A member of the Boko Haram, Auwal Ismaeela, has confessed to leading the kidnap of 276 schoolgirls from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State on April 15, 2014.
The ‘commander’ confessed to the act in an interview with PRNigeria, a news agency.
More than 100 of the girls are still being held by the insurgents after many of them were released in talks with the Federal Government.
Ismaeela, who has surrendered to the military, also told the news agency that he led other major operations and said he regretted his actions.
The PRNigeria report said: “Ahead of the Islamic festival of Eid-Kabir coming up by the weekend, a top Boko Haram commander who played a major role in the abduction of Chibok girls and killing of youths in Madagali has surrendered and confessed to several acts of bloodletting on innocent people and destruction of properties across the length and breadth of the North-eastern part of the country.
“In an interview with PRNigeria at a military facility for the repentant and surrendered Boko Haram members in the Northeast, the ex-terrorist leader said he regretted the atrocities he was forced to commit against humanity.
“The commander, Auwal Ismaeela, is currently cooperating with the Nigerian military with useful information on locations and hideouts of other top commanders of the deadly sect. He regretted his actions which, according to him, run counter to several Islamic injunctions.
“Mr. Ismaeela encouraged other top commanders of the sect to surrender to the military.
“Myself and Abu Hafsat, a Boko Haram commander, led other squads to abduct the Chibok girls. We led the operations to invade Gwoza, Bama, Limankara mobile barracks, Bita, Bosso, Madagali, Chibok, Pulka, Firgi, and Mubi.
“In Madagali, which is my home town, myself, Adam Vitiri, Abu Adam and Habu Kudama, some high-ranking Boko Haram commanders, led an operation in 2014 where we killed some students and youths at the Central Secondary School in Sabon Garin Madagali.
“In one of the operations, I abducted my wife named Maryam who had two kids for me in Sambisa Forest. It is unfortunate that I was brainwashed and misled not only on some abductions but in the killings of my own people that were innocent. I wholeheartedly regret my actions.
“During a battle in Konduga where myself and other Boko Haram commanders led the operations, I lost my right leg and was almost got burnt. Even at that, I did not stop fighting for the course. Sheikh Shekau ordered that I should be given a tricycle which I continued to use for various operations before I eventually surrendered.”
He was reported to have given several reasons for his decision to voluntarily surrender to the troops after realising the misleading sermons, barbaric indoctrination of the sect leaders and atrocities being committed in some of the Boko Haram camps.
Ismaeela said: “I willingly surrendered to the military because I was tired of the senseless killing and fight. I realised that our people had resorted to stealing and all sort of atrocities contrary to the teaching and practice of Islam.
“Women were being raped, sometimes publicly. Children died from malnutrition and diseases as the living condition became harsher. As there was no food in the camp, people died every day because of hunger.
“I will continue to cooperate with the security agencies in providing useful information on our mode of operations and to disclose top-secret hideouts of our commanders.”
More than 100 Boko Haram fighters and some ‘commanders’ had in the recent past surrendered to the military, knowing full well that their actions had become inimical to the overall interest and well-being of the nation and the surrounding countries of Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
‘Boko Haram factions ready for talks with govt’
Two factions of the Boko Haram insurgency group may be ready for talks with the Federal Government, Abdulkadir Abubakar, a former ‘commander’ of the group has claimed.
Abubakar, also known as Abu Muhammad, was the chief intelligence officer of the Boko Haram group and one of its top commanders, until his arrest in June by the military in Buni Yadi, Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State.
Abubakar told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at his cell in Maiduguri that Albarnawi and Mamman Nur factions were willing to cooperate with the government to defeat the most visible leader of the group, Abubakar Shekau.
According to him, Shekau, whose capture, dead or alive, the military high command has ordered, has been the major obstacle to peace, since the insurgency began in 2009.
He was quoted as saying: “Shekau is not willing to surrender due to his high handedness. Unfortunately, the government and military authorities accorded priority on dealing with Shekau, who is blood thirsty.
“Albarnawi has indicated interest to dialogue with the government to end insurgency and provide a lasting solution to the crisis. Albarnawi discusses this with members of his circle. And I can assure the government that he would cooperate to achieve peace.
“The two factions are willing to cooperate with Nigerian Government to defeat Shekau.”
Abubakar’s claim about the readiness of the factions to dialogue with the authorities could not be verified as he had been incarcerated since June. But he insisted that the groups were predisposed to a peaceful resolution of the eight year-old crisis.
Abubakar claimed to have undertaken various espionage missions and provided intelligence to the insurgents, which enabled them to hit a long list of targets, among which were the abduction of 276 students at the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok and the massacre of students at the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi.
Over 20 students were murdered at Buni Yadi.
He also claimed to have been involved in other attacks on schools in Maiduguri, Damaturu, Postikum and Mamudo.
He said: “Shekau has left his enclave in Sambisa and moved deep into Mandara Mountain.
“The intensified military offensive has weakened Shekau’s position and that of the other groups.”
Abubakar claimed that the Albarnawi and Mamman Nur factions were opposed to Shekau’s leadership style.
Abubakar said: “During the early days of the insurgency we fought for what we thought was a just cause, to establish a caliphate where human beings are valued, cherished and respected.
“After annexing vast territories, Shekau began to demonstrate his cruelty and atrocities against humanity.
“In view of the high level atrocities committed by the group,some of the top commanders, including myself, Albarnawi and Mamman Nur, challenged Shekau, demanding an immediate end to the ugly saga.
“Thereafter, Albarnawi and Mamman Nur parted ways, and formed their groups. Shekau is responsible for suicide bombings and attack on soft targets in the Northeast.
“The Albarnawi and Mamman Nur groups never attacked schools, religious places of worship, markets, women and children. Our fight was strictly with security forces. Even the kidnapped oil workers would not be killed by the group.
He said: “Shekau is fond of using the girls and other abducted women as sex toys, and suicide bombers. He kills on the pretence of punishing for lies, theft and rebellion. Shekau kills without justification.
“Shekau arrogated to himself the powers to accuse, prosecute, convict and punish in total contradiction to Islamic teachings. Children and women also starved to death in Sambisa due to Shekau’s cruelty.”