Two factions of the Boko Haram insurgency group may be ready for talks with the Federal Government, a former commander of the group, Abdulkadir Abubakar, has claimed.
Abubakar, also known as Abu Muhammad, was the chief intelligence officer of the Boko Haram group and one of its top commanders, until his arrest in June by the military in Buni Yadi in Gujba local government area of Yobe State.
Abubakar told the News Agency of Nigeria at his cell in Maiduguri that Albarnawi and Mamman Nur factions of Boko Haram were willing to dialogue and cooperate with the government to defeat the most visible leader of the group, Abubakar Shekau.
According to him, Shekau, whose capture, dead or alive, the military high command has ordered, has been the major obstacle to peace, since the insurgency began in 2009.
“Shekau is not willing to surrender due to his high handedness. Unfortunately, the government and military authorities accorded priority on dealing with Shekau, who is blood thirsty.
“Albarnawi has indicated interest to dialogue with the government to end insurgency and provide a lasting solution to the crisis. Albarnawi discusses this with members of his circle. And I can assure the government that he would cooperate to achieve peace.
“The two factions are willing to cooperate with Nigerian Government to defeat Shekau,” he said.
Abubakar’s claim about the readiness of the factions to dialogue with the Nigerian authorities could not be verified as he had been incarcerated since June. But he insisted that the groups are predisposed to a peaceful resolution of the eight year-old crisis.
Abubakar claimed to have undertaken various espionage missions and provided intelligence to the insurgents, which enabled them to hit a long list of targets, among which were the abduction of 275 students at Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok and the massacre of students at Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, where over 20 students were murdered at Buni Yadi.
He also claimed to have been involved in other attacks on schools in Maiduguri, Damaturu, Postikum and Mamudo.
The detained Boko Haram commander expressed his willingness to give the military useful information to crush the insurgents and arrest Shekau.
“I am cooperating with the military and I am ready to provide information on the whereabouts of Shekau. Shekau has left his enclave in Sambisa and moved deep into Mandara Mountain. I know the area where he is hiding and willing to provide a guide to the military.
“The intensified military offensive has weakened Shekau’s position and that of the other groups,” he added.