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How To End The Insurgency: Interview With A Converted Boko Haram Member

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Journalists from the Daily Trust spoke to Abdulwahab Usman, a former member of the Boko Haram rebel group. Abdulwahab is a 32-year-old international from Bama Local Government Area of ​​Borno State.

The youth is one of the Boko Haram converts who was recently graduated from the School of Terrorism and Rehabilitation under the auspices of Operation Safe Corridor.

In an interview, Abdulwahab spoke on how to end the Boko Haram insurgency that has raged for more than a decade.

Q: How did you become a member of Boko Haram?

Answer: I joined the Boko Haram sect in 2014 when I was under detention at the Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri, Borno state. Boko Haram attacked and invaded the barrack, rescued their members who were also on detention there.

We that were detained for a different offence, the insurgents captured us and took us to the bush and we were initiated into the group. That was how I joined the group and stay with them for good seven years.

Q: What was the offence that led to your detention at the Giwa Barracks where the insurgents captured you?

Answer: Two of my childhood friends, whom we attended the same secondary school, were earlier initiated into the group, their names were among the wanted list of Boko Haram members and the military was not able to arrest them, therefore because of relationship with them I was arrested and detained at the barracks.

Q: When you were in the group, what was your area of operation?

Answer: I am actively involved in attacks to towns and military formations, but have not try suicide bombing even once.

Q: Among the attacks that you carried out, which was the most difficult that cannot be forgotten?

Answer: There was an attack we launched at Konduga village in Borno on soldiers. Out of the 74 of us that went for that operation, 34 were killed, leaving 40 of us that narrowly escaped.

Unfortunately for us on our way back to the bush we saw a helicopter hoovering searching for us and we knew that is going to be difficult for us to escape, that was why we decided to surrender.

Q: As an ex-combatant what do you think the government should do to quickly end the insurgency?

Answer: Government should reassure the insurgents that nothing will happen to them if they voluntarily drop their weapons and surrender. I am sure they will answer the call.

Q: During your time as Boko Haram fighter, how many people did you kill?

Answer: I cannot recall the exact number but I have killed so many people.

Q: What message do you have for the combatants who are still in bush fighting the Nigerian Army?

Answer: I am calling on them to surrender and submit themselves to the Nigerian soldiers, they would be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society.