Negotiator Dr. Stephen Davis believes Boko Haram might make a move to establish contact with the world terrorist groups Al Shabaab and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and alleges the insurgents are sponsored by some Nigerian politicians.
According to Punch, while Al Shabaab has taken over most of Southern Somalia in 2006, the Iraqi ISIS along with Al-Qaeda is considered the most violent Jihadist group in the world.
Experts continue comparing Boko Haram strategy with the one of the most dreaded international terrorist groups and now Davis, allegedly secretly hired by President Goodluck Jonathan in the past to negotiate on the release of Chibok girls, comments on the sect tactics.
Who is Dr. Stephen Davis?
The 63-year-old Australian expert had acted as a negotiator not only in the Chibok issue, but also as an adviser for Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Yar’Adua. Davis spent 4 intense months in the North-East and his life was subject to extreme danger while he tried to rescue more than 200 school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram on April 14. He returned with rare footage of the intense fighting in the region, Yahoo recalls.
Expert about Boko Haram moves and sponsors
With a PhD in political geography and years of experience behind, Davis in a recent interview with Radio Australia explained that the main aim for the Nigerian authorities was now to block Boko Haram funding and find its sponsors, alleging that some banks and politicians are among them. Davis said that many of the insurgency sponsors were in the opposition adding that the President should try to prosecute them, which would be hard though.
“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.”
He added however that the dreaded Nigerian sect is gradually getting out of its sponsors’ control and aims at linking up with the infamous world terrorist groups.
“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.”
Davis about Chibok mission
When asked about his experience of acting as a negotiator for the released of school girls abducted in Borno, the expert narrated how his life had been jeopardized on numerous occasions and how the Australian passport saved him from being killed.
“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.”
Davis also revealed how the rescue of some girls was sabotaged after it had been almost carried out.
“They [Boko Haram commanders] 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.”
The majority of girls, except for those who managed to escape from the terrorists, are still held in captivity. The military have been repeating for months that they located the children’s whereabouts, adding that they do not want to use force to rescue them alive. Despite both national and global attempts, the sad truth remains unchanged: the girls have been missing for more than 4 months.
Comparing Boko Haram and IS
Various reports circulating in the media refer to analysts alleging that the Nigerian group imitates Islamic State in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The similarities became even more evident after Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau had declared Islamic caliphate in Gwoza in the new video obtained by AFP this Sunday, August 24.
Some analysts insist that his claim was connected with his attempt to find more media attention like IS which gained headlines of world famous newspapers after having recently seized parts of Iraq and Syria in a brutal onslaught.