June 2, 2013
One of the teenagers released by the Joint Task Force to Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno, shocked everyone present at the event, when he said that he set schools ablaze for the sum of N5000.
JTF had freed 58 Boko Haram suspects comprising 23 women and 35 children.
Out of the total 58, twenty were released to the Borno governor, they are six women and fourteen children who were arrested between 2012 and 2013. They are expected to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society.
The boy disclosed that he committed the crime alongside others after he had received N5,000 and provided with fuel in kegs to torch the schools located in Maiduguri .
He said: “We were given a keg of petrol by our bosses to set some schools ablaze, which we did within Maiduguri, and we were paid N5, 000 each.”
One of the children also revealed that he was usually sent to steal clothes from houses for use by the insurgents.
“They, however, said after they were arrested and interrogated by the men of the JTF, they volunteered information that led to the arrest or killing in gun battle of their pay masters.
The boys who used to attend Almajiri schools, however said they were willing to have formal education that will be combined with Islamic education.
Meanwhile, a breakdown of the document of their release shows that, “the children are between the ages of 9 and 15 years. The 20 detainees were mostly arrested in Maiduguri, Bama in Borno and Damaturu in Yobe State.
“The six freed women include Hajjia Zainab Mohammed (40); Hajjia Karagama Mohammed (55); Hajjia Zari Mohammed (40); Aishatu Mohammed Aji (62); Hadiza Ahmad (40) and Yakaka Goni Habib (16).
“The 14 children include Abba Modu Aji (10); Mohammed Musa (12); Ibrahim Mohammed (15); Umar Bukar (1)5; Mustapha Umaru (14); Bashir Ali (12); Musa Grema (13); Abba Mohammed (14); Baba Alhaji (13); AbdulAziz Umar (14); Ari Masa’a (14); Bayi Mustapha (14); Mohammed Ibrahim (14) and Alhaji Goni (14).”
Most of the women released claimed innocence. One of them, Aishatu Mohammed Aji (62), said she was arrested because of her son’s involvement. She said that her son was still at large. However, military sources said that the woman was regularly keeping guns for her son after he carried out attacks.
There was drama at the council chambers venue of the handover when three children revealed that some sect members recruited them mostly to gather information, especially to bring report on troop movement and behaviour of soldiers at duty posts.
“We were taken to Damaturu,” said the kids. “We watched out for the soldiers at their units and reported back to them. We were reporting when soldiers were at ease or enjoying themselves and when they were off guard, and we were paid for doing that.”