Bandits operating in the North-West and North Central now sell some of their kidnapped victims to the Abubakar Shekau-led faction of Boko Haram, Jama’atu Ahlussunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, multiple security sources have told SaharaReporters.
For more than six years, the two regions have faced devastating attacks from armed bandits, particularly in the states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, Kogi, Nasarawa and Sokoto.
“They (armed bandits) are now selling some of their victims to Boko Haram. Over 100 people were recently sold by the bandits to Shekau’s group.
“Contrary to what Governor Abdullahi Sule said that there were Boko Haram members in Nasarawa State during his visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, what we have in the state are normal bandits who have links with the terrorists.
“They (bandits) don’t believe in the Boko Haram’s ideologies; they have nothing to do with Sharia law. They only kidnap for ransom and those whose family can’t meet up with their demands are sold to Shekau’s faction,” a Major in the Nigerian Army told SaharaReporters.
Boko Haram had in June 2020 released a video confirming its link with armed groups operating in the North-West and North Central part of the country.
The video, which runs for six minutes and five seconds, showed fully armed fighters speaking Hausa, English and Kanuri.
“Special greetings from your jihadi brethren in the Lake Chad Basin. Greetings to our leader Abu Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Abubakar Asshakawy,” a member of the sect said.
“My second message is for all of the Mujahideen, especially those close to us. We send you Islamic greetings.”
“My other message is for all the unbelievers in the world. Repent, you still have time. And if you don’t, wait and see what will happen to you very soon,” he said.
“My message to Kuffar (unbelievers). O’Kuffar, you have time to repent to Allah before Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala punishes you with our hands,” the English speaker warned.
“Soon you will see what is happening in your marketplaces. Soon you’ll see what is happening in your offices.
“Soon you’ll see what is happening in your homes. Anywhere you are, soon you’ll see what is happening.”
Two months after, the group released another video where its members gathered in an open field said to be located in Niger State to celebrate Eid el Kabir, a Muslim festival.
The footage also showed about three fighters sending Eid greetings in Hausa, English and Fulfulde to viewers.
“It is we the Jamahatu Ali Sunna li Dawatul Jihad in the location of Niger State. We want to send our Sallah salutation, first of all to our imam, Abu Muhammad Ibn Abubakar Shekau,” one of the terrorists dressed in a Nigerian police uniform said.
Professor Johnson Fatokun, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Anchor University, Lagos who was recently kidnapped in Keffi, Nasarawa State said his abductors threatened to transfer him to Boko Haram terrorists.
Narrating his ordeal, Fatokun said together with other motorists, he had driven past police and military checkpoints when he encountered the gunmen, who were in military camouflage.
He said, “They asked everybody to come out and lie down. They requested my gun and I told them I did not have any. They searched everywhere and saw my ID card. They also took my ATM cards. They took me through the bush and asked, ‘Do you know what just happened to you?’ They said I had been kidnapped. They assigned some men to me.
“They went to somebody’s farm and harvested yam. They asked me if I would eat, but I declined. We slept in the open till around 5/6am then continued the trek to the mountainous part of the forest.
“They switched on my phone anytime they wanted to continue negotiation with the pastor. When the discussion did not go down well at a time, their leader came and said they would transfer me to the Boko Haram camp and he was no longer interested in money.”
SaharaReporters, New York