Australian Negotiator Says Boko-Haram May Establish Links With ISIS And Al-Shabaab

An Australian hostage negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davis, has revealed in a recent interview posted on Wednesday by Radio Australia, that Boko Haram may establish links with two vicious terror groups- Al Shabaab and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria- if not effectively checked now by the Nigerian government. According to Dr Davis the best ways to stop Boko-Haram insurgency is to block its sources of funding and tracking down its sponsors. He identified banks and some Nigerian politicians as the major providers of funds to the insurgents.

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Davis had visited Nigeria to negotiate the release of the over 200 schoolgirls abducted since April by Boko Haram insurgents. He previously worked as a negotiator for Nigerian government under ex-Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Yar’Adua administrations during the Niger-Delta militants uprising in the South-South.

He also claimed that many of the politicians sponsoring the insurgency were in the opposition, adding that it would be difficult for President Goodluck Jonathan to arrest and prosecute them. He argued that should Jonathan try to order their arrest, it would be misconstrued as a political attempt to rig the 2015 elections. Hear him:

 “That makes it easier in some ways as they can be arrested, but of course the onus of proof is high and many are in opposition, so if the President moves against them, he would be accused of trying to rig the elections due early next year. So, I think this (insurgency) will run through to the election unabated. These politicians think that if they win power they can turn these terrorists off, but this has mutated.

“It’s no longer a case of Muslims purifying by killing off Christians. They are just killing indiscriminately, beheading, disembowelling people – men, women and children and whole villages.”

According to him, Boko Haram is growing out of the control of the politicians sponsoring it.  He warned that, as it is the trend with terrorist groups in Somalia, South Sudan and Egypt, the Boko Haram insurgents might soon link up with the ISIS and Al Shabaab.

“I would say it’s almost beyond the control of the political sponsors now. Terror groups are linking up in Somalia, Southern Sudan, Egypt and we have fairly strong evidence they are talking with ISIS members. They will link up with ISIS and Al Shabaab and I think that what we are seeing in that region is the new homeland of radical Islam in the world.”

He also claimed he survived months of extreme danger in trying to rescue the 200 abducted schoolgirls:

“When confronted by groups with an AK-47 in my face they’d say, ‘you are American, we have to kill you. When you say, no I’m not American, they think you are British, and say you will still die, but when I said I’m Australian, they said that’s all right. I have no idea why but it’s certainly been helpful.”

He blamed the aborted rescue of the schoolgirls on sabotage.=:

“I made a few telephone calls to the Boko Haram commanders and they confirmed they were in possession of the girls. They told me they would be prepared to release some as a goodwill gesture towards a peace deal with the government, so I went to Nigeria on the basis of being able to secure their release.”

“The girls were there, 60 girls. There were 20 vehicles with girls. We travelled for four-and-a-half hours to reach them, but 15 minutes before we arrived, they were kidnapped again by another group who wanted to cash in on a reward. The police had offered a reward of several million naira just 24 hours before we went to pick them up. I understand, from the Boko Haram commanders I spoke to, the girls eventually ended up back with them. I don’t know what happened to the group that took them but I suspect it wasn’t good.”

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Nchee is an author on Gist Us.
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