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.”