ISLAMIC cleric Ahmad Gumi has said the Ansaru terrorist group, not the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), was responsible for an attack on a train headed to Kaduna from Abuja in March 2022.
According to a report, Gumi said the abductees kidnapped their victims in reaction to certain wrongdoings by the state.
“We have a sense that they are the Ansaru faction; meaning they are more civilised than Boko Haram. It’s not an offshoot of ISWAP. They call it ISWAP here. I don’t think it is ISWAP or Boko Haram. It is Ansaru. The Ansaru are a little bit different,” Gumi said.
The cleric, known for interfacing with terror groups, also said the Ansaru became violent after being disbanded by the Nigerian authorities.
“They are not Boko Haram. To them, Boko is not a problem. Their problem is that they want to seclude themselves in the forest so that they live their pristine life the way they envisaged it. But because of the fear of Boko Haram, the authorities disbanded them.
“When their camp was disbanded, they became armed. They’re not challenging the state. They were challenging wrongdoing by the state. That was why when they took the victims, they wanted their prisoners to be released. You’ve seen the difference now,” he said.
He added that the Nigerian security system had been compromised and should be restructured to resolve the security challenges plaguing the country.
“In the ranks of the army and police, we have criminals. How do they get into the army? It is because now you cannot get into the security agencies unless you have money. We have criminals in the armed forces,” Gumi said.
In October 2021, members of the ISWAP and Ansaru terrorist organisations had attacked the Abuja-Kaduna railway lines, bringing train services to a temporary halt.
In March 2022, another train en route Kaduna from Abuja was attacked by terrorists and scores of travellers were abducted.
Gumi had played a role in negotiating with the abductors, which resulted in the release of some abductees in October 2022.