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Two Boko Haram detainees bag 50, 60 years jail terms for refusing to denounce sect

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Abba Umar and Yusuf Mohammed have been sentenced to 60 and 50 years jail terms respectively for refusing to denounce Boko Haram at the mass trial of the suspects in Niger State, according to Daily Trust.

By Friday, 475 Boko Haram suspects had been released while over 170 were convicted during a five-day trial at the Federal High Court in Wawa Cantonment of the Nigerian Army in Kainji, New Bussa, Niger State.

During the trial, the 1,669 suspects detained at the facility were given the option to plead guilty and denounce Boko Haram to secure lesser jail terms or unconditional release.

Many of the suspects embraced the option and their sentences were reduced, taking into consideration the years already spent in detention.

However, two suspects, Abba Umar and Yusuf Mohammed, told the court that they would rejoin Boko Haram if they were released.

“My occupation is Islamic warrior and commander in the Islamic Army. There are several warriors and lieutenants under me,” 22-year-old Umar told the court.

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Umar was arrested in 2014 after his bomb-laden Nissan car, which he rammed into the Government Secondary School, Gombe, failed to detonate.

He told the court that he would only obey the leaders of the sect, Abu Mohammed, Ibn Muhammed and the leader in Nigeria, Al-Shekawi.

He said the group, Jama’atu ahli sunna li da’awatu wa Jihad, would continue to fight until the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, is installed President of Nigeria, as the group does not recognise President Muhammadu Buhari.

The court said Abba Umar was a product of excessive religious indoctrination and sentenced him to 60 years in prison.

His co-traveller, Yusuf Mohammed, who was sentenced to 50 years, had been with founder of the sect Mohammed Yusuf before the bloody insurgency started in 2009.

“If I happen to go out, I will still go and join the Boko Haram group and make sure I attack until people change and follow the religion and the sect,” Mohammed told the court.

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Chikezie can be reached at comeje@icirnigeria.org. Follow him on Twitter: @KezieOmeje

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