A man claiming to be a member of Boko Haram has maintained that the federal government must release its members detained in numerous facilities nationwide before the terrorist group releases the 219 Chibok schoolgirls it has held in captivity for almost three months.
Speaking on the BBC World Service, the man whose voice was disguised in order to conceal his identity, said he was a teacher or scholar in the sect and joined the group in 2004. He told the BBC that the girls were in “a state of amnesty”, healthy and eating well, adding that the Christians who refused to convert to Islam were not forced to do so as it is anti-Islamic.
The Boko Haram member maintained that the girls were taken for a specific reason and reiterated the condition
for their release, adding that the girls would be released once the federal government met the terrorist group’s
demands for a prisoner exchange deal.
“Today, if the government releases our members, tomorrow or the next day, we promise you can see all of them. As our leader Abubakar Shekau promised to the media, if the government releases our members, we will release them.”
On the condition of the girls, the Boko Haram teacher said: “I am telling a fact, they are in a state of amnesty, they don’t have a problem. Some of them have belief in Islam, some of them said they will not convert to Islam, but we did not differentiate. We are not forcing them or putting them under any pressure.
“Those who agreed to convert to Islam have been converted and those who refused we left them, we said stay. There is no forced conversion in Islam. Allah commands us to treat everyone equally. We are not differentiating them; we treat all of them equally.
“They all are healthy. They are feeding well. If you see them now, you will see that they don’t have any problem.”
He added that under the Islamic faith the killing of women and children was unacceptable except they are
the aggressors, but pointed out that some of them might get caught in the crossfire in the event of bombings or attacks.
“Under Islam, killing women and children is not acceptable. But if they are fighting you, then you must fight them. But if they don’t attack you, you leave them. Killing children and women is not accepted at all. We only go after those who give information to our enemy… But if we bomb somewhere or make arrest somewhere, it will affect them but killing women and children is not accepted,” he said.
Despite the revelations made by the Boko Haram “teacher” the Council of State, which met yesterday reiterated the position of the federal government that the abducted schoolgirls would soon regain their freedom, urging the public to be patient as the government works to wipe out terrorism.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, said the security of the nation topped the agenda, adding that President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) were briefed on the steps that were being taken to rescue the abducted schoolgirls.
He said military authorities also confirmed that efforts were being made and very soon there would be good news.
“It was also heartwarming to note that the issue is not whether we can rescue the girls, but the issue is how can we can rescue them in a way that we can ensure their safety so that we don't end up in the attempt to rescue them we endanger their lives.
“What also came out is the need for Nigerians to be patient because terrorism is a new challenge in Nigeria
and it is not something that goes away immediately and we have to be meticulous in our approach and
make sure that we take the best steps forward to reduce and minimise the possible loss of lives in an attempt to curb the insurgents.
“We are very satisfied the security agents know very well where the girls are located and they are on top of the situation.