Governor Shettima Reiterates Amnesty Call For Boko Haram

Kashim

By Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri

Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, on Sunday reiterated his call for amnesty for Boko Haram members, stressing, however,  that the gesture should be for repentant members only.

The governor, whose thought was conveyed by his adviser on communication and strategy, Isa Gusau, pointed at the recent attempt by 16 members of the sect to denounce their membership of the sect as evidence that there are some who are willing to leave but may not know how to go about it.

Gusau, who spoke with a select group of journalists in Abuja, said the governor’s stance has not changed since 2011 when he first contested to be governor.

“Shettima has held this position from his campaign days ahead of the 2011 elections for his first term. He had always advocated a combination of three approaches, military which is what we have in place, an economic approach to provide jobs for people and discourage citizens that Boko Haram terrorists are recruiting,” Gusau told the journalists.

Shettima had on May 29 this year called for amnesty for the group, a call that was widely condemned but Gusau said the governor was misunderstood.

According to him, his boss made the call because he believes such a move would create division among the insurgents, something that can be exploited for their defeat.

“What Governor Kashim Shettima has been saying is that hundreds of these forcefully arrested and initiated young men may want to run away and drop their arms and there should be a policy and programme to admit them so that insurgents lose members and their strategy of arresting youths and forcing them to join them which is what they apply in sustaining their membership, can be deflated and I think the governor’s call on May 29 has been vindicated less than two weeks ago,” he explained.






     

     

    Had there been amnesty in place for willing members of the sect, Gusau said, the 11 defectors recently killed by the insurgents would have provided the military with useful information about the sect.

    Providing some insight about what happened in the incident, the governor’s aid said according to accounts by some locals, “what happened was that some members of the sect who are indigenes of some villages in Damboa Local Government Area indicated interest in abandoning the ideology but most of them were afraid of the consequences. Out of them, 16 summoned courage to renounce the ideology and they moved to Miringa village in Biu local government area of Southern Borno.”

    He continued: “They wanted to join some residents of villages like Ajigin and Talala in Damboa who have been taking refuge in Miringa due to re-occurring attacks on the two villages by insurgents. The 16 insurgents went to Miringa on Friday, July 3 according to locals, then at night, commanders of Boko Haram sent a team to Miringa to fish out the 16 members that denounced the sect.

    Gusau said that insurgents “went from house to house and got the 16 members intact, they didn’t fire any shot in order not to attract soldiers, they took the members out of Miringa and slaughtered 11 of them and went away with five.

     

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