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- Published on Monday, 10 August 2009 19:39
- Written by NATIONAL DAILY
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Mohammed Yusuf, the youthful leader of Boko Haram the Islamic Militant Sect, did not recant on his beliefs even when it became apparent that he would die. Sources close to security operatives who witness Yusuf's final moments, told National Daily that contrary to report in some media, Yusuf was not intimidated by hundreds of soldiers and policemen who stormed his hideout, his in-laws' cattle ranch in the
outskirt of Maiduguri, Borno State.
“He was defiant even when the foreboding was disastrous. He kept shouting Allah Akbar (God is great) as he sighted the joint team of soldiers and police men who swooped on his residence.
“He did not really attempt to escape” said our informed source. Yusuf's courage and trust in Allah at that ominous moment of his life baffled the security agents who according to sources initially watched him with awe.
However, the security operatives did not lose sight of their patriotic responsibility as they reportedly moved into action.
“The security men took Yusuf by surprise. You know he escaped from his own residence and took refuge in his in-laws' ranch in Maiduguri. It is possible that the security operatives have been monitoring Yusuf's movement for some time.” One of our sources said.
National Daily learned that Yusuf got a hint on the impending invasion of his residence in Maiduguri and promptly fled to his in-laws' cattle ranch. Unknown to him, a surveillance team had been mounted around him. Some of Yusuf's members were actually spies who dutifully debriefed their bosses on the Boko Haram leader's activities and whereabouts.
The combined security team began operation as soon as it was certain that Yusuf was hiding in his in-laws' ranch in Maiduguri.
The arrival of the gun-trotting soldiers and policemen sources said, frightened Yusuf's aged in-laws' who pleaded with them not to harm any member of the family.
“They arrived there in the evening Thursdays July 29, in a military truck. They wore fierce looks that did not leave anybody in doubt as to their intentions. Yusuf could not escape even if he wanted because there were so many soldiers and policemen, while some ran towards the ranch, others paraded the street with their guns on ready-to-shoot position” said our source who himself is close to security operatives in Maiduguri.
Yusuf was said to have been ensconced inside the house in the ranch until the leader of the team, a colonel, shouted his name from the entrance. The Boko Haram leader, reportedly, screamed at the Marauding security agents from his vantage position.
“The soldiers and policemen ordered Yusuf and his hosts to open the door. They were banging at the door and vowed to raze down the house if the door was not opened. Yusuf did not break down at all. He kept calling the name of Allah”, an inside source said.
Eventually, the security team gained entrance into the house and arrested Yusuf amid protest by his in-laws'.
National Daily sources said Yusuf was taken to his residence where a thorough search was conducted.
Documents on the Islamic religion, correspondence with foreign Islamic groups and some inciting pamphlets were allegedly recovered.
The gloating soldiers and policemen, sources said, were astonished to discover that Yusuf was living in opulence while preaching the doctrine of austerity and self-denial to his followers and members of the public. He was said to have owned properties produced by the Western World which he condemned. “The security men were surprised that Yusuf had Cable Satellite, fleet of cars, canned food and fruits drinks”, our source said.
National Daily learned that Yusuf did not really restrict himself to the Islamic injunction which allows him to marry four wives. He was the licentious lover of over a hundred women who were allegedly discovered in his extended residence, though he claimed that they were members of his sect.
Sources alleged that Yusuf was brutally tortured when he was finally arrested. He was said to have been screaming “even if you kill me, I will rise again” (in Hausa) as he was pummeled and hit severally with gun buts.
“My followers will continue the struggle. I know Allah will bring me back”
Passersby were said to have watched the scene with mixed reaction. Sources said Yusuf was then taken to the government house where he had audience with the governor, Ali Modu Sherrif.
“The governor was very angry when he saw Yusuf, he cursed him persistently and accused him of instigating wanton destruction of lives and property in the State” said an inside source. Thereafter the soldiers handed Yusuf over to the Borno State police command.
Informed sources said that Yusuf had bruises on his head, neck, chest and limb when he was brought to the Police headquarters. He was allegedly panting for breath and in a fleet moment recites some Islamic verses. He was said to have repeated his boast that if he eventually died in the struggle to eradicate Western education from the North he will come back to life, somehow. Sources revealed that Mohammed Yusuf was kept in a dungy cell at the State Police headquarters with armed policemen instructed to mount sentry around the cell gate, some other policemen were drafted to beef up the security at the entrance gate of the command headquarters.
National Daily gathered in Maiduguri that news of the arrest of Mohammed Yusuf, the infamous leader of the Boko Haram Sect, was received with excitement by Maiduguri residents who were scared of the violence activities of his Sect. The arrest was said to have formed the topic of discussion in the streets, restaurants and parks, though in hushed tone, as residents were still afraid of reprisal attacks by surviving members of the dreaded sect.
As Yusuf was being driven to the Borno State Police Headquarters, the vehicle conveying him was trailed by a crowd.
Policemen were instructed to chase away the crowd that had gathered around the station for security reasons, to avoid Boko Haram members from infiltrating the area and cause trouble.
Yusuf was finally executed later in the night after the command allegedly received the go ahead order from higher authorities.
However, Force Public Relations Officer, Assistant Commissioner, Emmanuel Ojukwu, said Yusuf died in a gun duel with security agents. The police authorities later claimed he died from wounds sustained from gunshots.
Mohammed Yusuf was aged 39. The lanky and light-skinned Islamic Fundamentalist was from Yobe State, though he lived in Maiduguri before he died.
Yusuf was said to have been schooled in the Islamiya Islamic Sect Quaranic School in the old City of Borno. He also attended the Maiduguri Arabic Teachers College, though some sources contradicted this claim. He married four wives and had 12 children.
Mohammed Yusuf became popular in Maiduguri because of his radical preaching on Islam. He later set up a camp on the border with Niger Republic from where he allegedly launched series of attacks on the police.
Yusuf preached against Western form of education and lifestyle. He was convinced that it was his divine mission to vanquish everything connected to Western civilization. He formed the religious Sect Boko Haram to achieve his despicable objectives.
Boko Haram means 'Western education is sin.'
National Daily learned that Mohammed Yusuf was the leader of the Taliban group which invaded Yobe in 2003. His two lieutenants, Abu Umar and Usman Jalabu were killed in the clash.
The Sect who were known as Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama was actually discovered in Kano, where they were recruiting and training members. They fled to Kanamma, Yobe State and declared Kanama a Taliban enclave.
Mohammed Yusuf may have been killed because the authorities were scared that he would be released by the court again.
He is also believed to have been killed because those masquerades who used him to achieve their political objectives do not want to be exposed.
Local and foreign human Rights groups have criticized the execution of the Islamic Fundamentalist group leader, Mohammed Yusuf describing the act as extra judicial killing.
Human rights Watch researcher described Yusuf's execution as a “shocking example of the brazen contempt by the Nigerian Police for the rule of Law.”
Amnesty International called for an investigation and said those behind illegal killing must be brought to justice.
The FPRO said an investigation will be conducted into the remote and immediate cause of the death of the Boko Haram leader, how he was captured and handed over to the police, but ruled out extra-judicial killing.
Yusuf probably foresaw his own death, barely a week before he was killed.
“What I said previously that we are going to be attacked by the authorities has manifested itself in Bauchi, where about 40 of our brothers were killed, their mosque and homes burnt down completely and several others were injured and about 100 are presently in detention. Therefore, we will not agree with this kind of humiliation, we are ready to die together with our brothers and we would never concede to non-belief in Allah. I will not give myself up. If Allah wishes, they will arrest me; if Allah does not wish, they will never arrest me. But I will never give up myself, not after about 40 of my followers were killed in Bauchi. Is it right to kill them, is it right to shoot human beings? To surrender myself means what they did is right. Therefore, we are ready to fight to die.
Democracy and the current system of education must be changed otherwise this war that is yet to start would continue for long.” The late Taliban leader was quoted as having said.
Meanwhile, the combined team of soldiers and policemen also raided the camp of the Boko Haram Sect in the Border with Niger Republic.
Sources said the sect members were enraged by the presence of security agents and started to shoot at them. The security agents returned fire-for-fire.
At the end of the operation which lasted several hours, scores of corpses of the sect members littered roads leading to Bayan Quarters base of the Islamic Fundamentalist and the building in the camp. About 700 members of the Sect were allegedly killed.
However, the leader Mohammed Yusuf was said to have escaped to his in-laws' resident but his Deputy, Abubakar Shekan was killed in the operation.
A former Borno State Commissioner, Alhaji Buji Fai was also killed among the 700 sect members. Fai who was Commissioner for Water Resources before he was moved to the Ministry of Religious Affairs based on his request.
Sources said that Fai was actually captured alive before he was shot dead. His body was displaced in front of the Police Headquarters on Friday morning.
National Daily gathered that Fai was a strong member of the sect as some of his properties were used by the sect members for their activities. Police sources said he owned a warehouse in Bauchi in which some families of the members in Bauchi, numbering about 180, were hidden in an outskirt of Maiduguri.
Col. Ahanotu who led the operation disclosed that about 20 cars, including a sports utility vehicle, one Toyota, one Camry, one Honda car and about 200 Motorcycles. Others items discovered in the Boko Haram's camp were serving machines, deep freezers, food items and homemade petrol bombs.
Meanwhile, controversies are now raging over the circumstances that led to the killing of Mohammed Yusuf, the Boko Haram leader.
Borno State Commissioner of Police Christopher Dega confirmed that Yusuf was handed over to the police alive.
However, he said the sect leader sustained severe injuries from gunshots in an encounter with counter insurgency security men prior to his arrest and because of the severity of the injury he died. This should imply that Yusuf was not executed by the Police after his arrest.
The Boko Haram Sect disturbances are arguably the bloodiest Sectarian crisis since the Jos uprising last November. The crisis which started in Bauchi two weeks ago spread to Yobe, Katsina, Sokoto and Kano States.
The Taliban leader, Mohammed Yusuf had been arrested and charged before a Maiduguri High Court for public incitement, but he challenged the government through his lawyer for alleged infringement on his fundamental human rights, freedom of expression and association.
The Boko Haram Sect came to prominence in 2003 when some of their members who were driven out of Kano opened a camp in Kanamma the headquarters of Yunusa Local Government Area in Yobe State.
They started attacking Police until a joint team of security forces invaded the camp during which the lieutenants to Yusuf were killed while he (Yusuf) escaped to neighbouring Chad.
So, the Boko Haram groups were crunched in 2003 when they clashed with a combined team of military and police in Yobe State.
Nothing was heard about him, at least in Yobe State, until recently when the Boko Haram Sect laid siege at the Divisional Police headquarters in Potiskum, where they killed a police officer and a fire service driver and set ablaze the police station, the office of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and the National Population Commission (NPC).
An Inspector died from injuries inflicted on him by the sect members who also attacked and killed a mobile policeman.
After a fierce battle with combined team of soldiers and policemen in a bush in Mamudo near Potiskum, 33 members of the Boko Haram Sect aged between 20 40 years were killed.
Hundreds of youths, some sewing machine, pharmacy, engineering, agriculture and humanities dropped out of universities and tertiary institutions across the country to join the group.
The mission of the Islamic Sect is to wipe out government and Western education. To them, anything Western is against Islam. Many Islamic clerics condemn this claim as false.
Sources said the Boko Haram Sect members were taught how to use gun, fight in the desert like the Taliban and learnt the doctrines of the Sect as propagated by their leader Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf.
Members of this sect believed that their leader was infallible; no member could challenge him because his word was law.
Mohammed Yusuf was said to have prepared special food and fruit drink known as dabino with a magical power to turn the senses of his listeners and make them accept his doctrines and become fiercely loyal to him once they ate the food and drank the dabino.
An informed source inside the Boko Haram Sect told National Daily that “If you eat the dabino (fruit drink) your brain will turn around and you will start to believe whatever Yusuf preach to you. You will believe that even if you die fighting for him, you will become a Martyr.”
The Boko Haram Jihad began in Bauchi when members of the fanatical Sect attacked a police station in the northern side of Bauchi.
Reports said a total of over 700 members of the Sect have been killed by the police. Over 200 members of the sect clashed with military personnel in the Maiduguri metropolis.
The conflict began when the religious zealots who wore military camouflage stormed the Police headquarters and other structures within Maiduguri with petrol bombs, arrows and other weapons with the aim of razing down the place.
The sect seized the mosques in Kano Township and violently sacked defenseless citizens. The police killed three of the sect members and arrested 33 others.
The Boko Haram carried out an audacious attack on Police Stations in Yobe compelling the government to impose dusk-to-dawn curfew in the State.
Yusuf and his extremist sect were said to have a clearly stated intention of vanquishing any form of Western values in the North by engaging in a Jihad (Holy War). Already Boko Haram has thousands of members in five States of the North.
About 700 Boko Haram members have been killed so far in the sectarian crisis.
The sect apart from enlisting teenagers into the group also conscripted under aged children. Alhaji Mohammed Ahmed Danlami was forcefully separated from his two daughters, Maimunatu and Iklimatu in Jos, Plateau State. It was also alleged that the fanatical sect abducted 12 female students, who were aged between 12 19 years in Bukuru, Jos, and took them to unknown destination. This also allegedly happened in other places like Bauchi, Adamawa, Kaduna and Katsina States.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to forestall the influx of the radical Sect just as about 36 members of the Boko Haram who were on their way to Lagos possibly to launch the Jihad in the South were arrested.
The late Mohammed Yusuf's followers and the entire nation are waiting to see if the executed Islamic extremist will fulfill his promise by 'coming back to life.’