The Boko Haram suspects arrested by operatives of the Special Intelligence Response Team (SIRT) for attempting to bomb Abuja, the federal capital, have said that they rob banks in order to raise the money they would use in acquiring the bombs they use on their suicide missions.
The arrest of five suspected members of the deadly sect, which has been terrorising the metropolis of the Federal Capital Territory, is seen as a major breakthrough in the bid to dismantle the deadly cell that is coordinating the bombings.
During the operation, several Improvised Explosive Devices, laptop, mechanical engineering textbooks, 27 pieces of detonators, pH litmus paper, aluminium powder, number plates and IED materials were recovered from their hideout.
Following their arraignment before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday for a five-count terrorism-related charge, the five of them are now being remanded in the Kuje prison on the order of Justice Abdul Kafarati.
The accused persons include Abdulazeez Muhazab, Ishaka Salihu, Mohammed Jimoh, Abdulwaheed Nasiru, aka Haulaki and Abdullahi Nasiru.
However, shortly before their arraignment on Thursday, one of the suspects, Haulaki, who pleaded guilty to the fact that some of the IEDs were stored in his house, told journalists how he joined the sect, saying he was indoctrinated in 2013 by a cleric, named Mustapha.
The suspect, who hails from Kogi State, said he travelled to the FCT seven years ago to learn auto mechanic job at Games Village, where he met a friend who later introduced him to the cleric that introduced him to the group. Haulaki, who claims to have only primary education, said he was convinced to join the Boko Haram when he saw people destroyed their certificates to join the group.
He said, “I am married and my wife is currently pregnant. I rented an apartment close to a mosque and one of the sons of my landlord, Abubakar, who happened to be my friend and had been killed during an operation, regularly went to that mosque and he was the one who introduced me to the Imam, Mustapha, who was in charge of the mosque.
“Mustapha is also in the custody of security agents and he was the one who indoctrinated me into Boko Haram group. He would always tell me and some other persons to support the cause of Jihad in the North Eastern part of the country in any way we can and that when we cannot donate ourselves or money to the cause, we should at least pray for those waging the war.
“In some of his teachings, he told us that western education was a sin and working for the government was also a sin. He then asked those who have gone through secondary and university education to destroy their certificate. A lot of people, who were graduates from the secondary schools and universities in that mosque, destroyed their certificates. And that singular gesture endeared me to that sect.”
Haulaki, who said his duty was to drive to any destination on instruction and without asking questions, explained that some other men in the group boasted to him that they used to rob unbelievers so as to raise money to support the cause.
“The leader and one of the bomb manufacturers, Abu Hamza, was the one who taught us how to make bomb and led us to two banks in Owo in Ondo State and Okene in Kogi State, and it is through that means that he raised money for bomb materials and other things,” he added.
While giving an insight into how he was arrested, he said following the arrest of Hamza and another member few months ago, senior members of the sect told him to move all the ready-made bombs and other materials to the house of his brother, who is also a member of the sect, in Iddo area of the FCT.
He added, “Apart from that, I moved two AK-47 rifles and some bombs to the house of a senior member, who moved them to Okene. Few days before Sallah, some vigilante members arrested me and handed me over to the military intelligence team who detained me and later handed me over to the police special team.”
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