Obvious cracks in the walls of the Boko Haram sect led to the arrest of one of the leaders of a faction of the group, Abu Mohammed, and his eventual death from gunshot injuries, LEADERSHIP can authoritatively reveal.
Sources close to the security agencies involved in the operation informed that the deep-seated rivalry between Mallam Abubakar Shekau’s faction and that of the killed Abu Mohammed tore the sect apart.
The sources said yesterday that it was the gang rivalry that gave the intelligence officers the clue that led to the failed rescue attempt in Mareba, Sokoto, where the two foreigners, Chris McManus (Briton) and Franco Lamolinara (Italian) were killed.
The rescue team, comprising operatives of the State Security Service (SSS), police, soldiers and British intelligence officers had on March 8, 2012, stormed the residence where the foreigners were kept. But the foreigners were killed before the rescue team could gain entry into the building.
The sources further told LEADERSHIP that the arrest and subsequent death of Abu Mohammed, whom the Shekau faction regarded as traitors, elicited wild jubilation in the camp.
“The Shekau faction of the Boko Haram directly or indirectly gave the intelligence that led to the arrests of the late Abu Mohammed and his men in Adamawa, Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi, and their routing during a Shura Council (highest decision-making body) meeting in Layin Hanwa in Zaria. The intelligence also led to the rescue mission in Mabera Estate in Sokoto.
Abu Mohammed was said to have broken away and run a faction of the Boko Haram until he was arrested on March 7, 2012, after a gun battle with security agents. He died March 9 from gunshot wounds he received during his arrest.
Security sources further disclosed that the Abu Mohammed men appeared well-trained and organised with weapons and armoury, such that security agents are still trying to unravel their linkages.
?According to the source, the sophistication of the faction, suspected to be externally assisted, was displayed in its ability to keep the two hostages away from the far-reaching arms of security operatives for 10 months. The source added that the development was contrary to the claim that the security agencies had acquired equipment that could track terrorists anywhere in Nigeria.
?Experts on security matters have claimed that no third world country, considering their lean purse, could afford such equipment.
Meanwhile, the national president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has warned the federal government not to dialogue with members of the Boko Haram sect. Doing so, he said, will give room to creating an instrument of disunity in the country.
Pastor Oritsejafor gave the warning yesterday while speaking with newsmen shortly after attending the 46th annual convention of the United Church of Christ in Nigeria, otherwise known as Hadaddiyar Ekklisiyar Krista A Nigeria (HEKAN).
According to him, part of what the Boko Haram was demanding that he regarded as impossible was the Islamisation of the country, “Will you discuss with somebody who says Nigeria must become a Muslim or an Islamic nation?”? he asked.
The Christian leader, who was the guest speaker on the occasion, stated: “I don’t think any sensible government, whether the president is a Muslim or a Christian, will want to sit down and discuss such things, because it is the greatest instrument of disunity that this country will ever experience, how do you discuss that? So, I don’t see any basis for such discussion in the first place, I don’t know”.
The CAN president however, called for dialogue among the different religious groups in the country for better understanding.
He said “We must begin to come together and speak as one. There are Muslims who are wonderfully good people; we are reaching out to them. We are looking for them; let them join hands with us, let’s work together, let’s speak with the same voice, let’s not attack each other, let’s not go against each other.
“When you see Christians coming out talking strong, it is the pains. Let’s be honest, they are the people who are suffering most. Let’s be very honest with ourselves. And that is why you see them talking and expressing themselves. Because of the pains they feel. It is not because they don’t want one Nigeria.
“I believe we must work together. We are willing but I believe in progressive dialogue, where we sit and set benchmarks, we set goals we want to achieve through our dialogue and, through that, we can begin to achieve something. I think it will work well for us if we do that and then all Nigerians must expose evil-doers in our midst. We must not allow them to hide. We must expose them.”