‘Father, too, worked for insurgents’
Deputy council boss detained as 10 insurgents surrender
By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi
Days after Chairman of Mafa Local Government in Borno State, Shettima Lawan Mafa, was arrested for allegedly hiding a Boko Haram member in his residence, the Army yesterday confirmed his alleged link with the insurgents.
This is even as the military authorities said he was also active in Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF).
Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major-General Lucky Irabor, confirmed Mafa’s arrest during a news conference at the 7 Division Headquarters in Maiduguri, yesterday.
He also disclosed that Mafa’s father allegedly backed his son and directed him to hide insurgents in his home.
Irabor said: “All I can say is that the chairman is a big supporter of Boko Haram. We heard that he harboured Boko Haram members, along with his father. He kept the Boko Haram members because his father begged him to do so. The chairman was in the habit of accommodating people who had fled from the bush.
“At some point, he has been valuable to us, being with the Civilian JTF to fight Boko Haram; but that does not mean we cannot investigate him for a crime like this.
“We have also arrested the Vice Chairman of Kaga Local Government Area (names withheld by the Army) and he is undergoing interrogation,” he said.
Against the backdrop of flushing out insurgents from Sambisa Forest, Boko Haram stronghold, 10 members reportedly surrendered to the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, Borno State.
“After their surrender, the members opened up on how they were brainwashed by their leaders not to accept any offer of amnesty from the Federal Government, telling them they would be killed.
“Consequently, they appealed to their fellow sect members still in Sambisa, to lay down their arms and embrace peace,” he said.
One of the returnees, Joseph David, made the appeal when 10 Boko Haram members, who voluntarily surrendered to the Army to newsmen, in Maiduguri, Borno State, yesterday.
David, who is also known as Ibrahim Alhaji, said he chose to lay down his arms to embrace peace.
“I have chosen to lay down my arms to allow peace reign in the country. We have been accepted by the Nigerian Government, contrary to what we were told by the sect leaders,” he said.
Another suspect (names withheld), also appealed to the rest of the sect members still hiding in the Sambisa Forest to lay down their arms and embrace peace.
“The sect leaders told us not to surrender to the government because we will be killed, but, to our surprise, nothing happened to us. The Nigerian Government has accepted us and is taking good care of us,’’he said.
General Irabor said four of the repentant Boko Haram terrorists were from Mamman Nur’s camp, while six were from the Abubakar Shekau faction.
He said so far, over 1,400 people had been rescued by the military during the counter-insurgency operations in the North-East.
He said the repentant sect members would undergo a de-radicalisation programme to enable them become responsible citizens.
“We are doing our part to see that this madness is reduced to the barest minimum,”the Commander said.