Australian Boko Haram negotiator, Dr Stephen Davis weekend explained how Abubakar Shekau hijacked Islamist sect Boko Haram.
In an interview with Vanguard, Davis, who accused former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, and an erstwhile Chief of the Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika of being sponsors of Boko Haram said the group terrorising the country today was not the same as the one led by Mohammed Yusuf, killed by the police in 2009.
“The Boko Haram we see today is not the Jama’atu Ahlul Sunnah Lih Da’awa wal Jihad (JAS) that was operational under Yusuf – former JAS leader killed by the police in 2009,” Davis said.
“Shekau formed Ansaru which he used for kidnapping and beheading victims. This behaviour was a major departure from the original mandate of the JAS which was to purify Islam and return it to the exemplary life of the Prophet. Many among the JAS leadership are no longer active and others have been killed. This has allowed Shekau to take the JAS to a more extreme action and expand the frontiers of kidnapping, bombing and slaughtering. The Boko Haram we have today is a much expanded Ansaru. What we see now is not the Yusufiya which wanted very much to settle a score with former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff. It is Boko Haram as a partner to ISIS and Al Shabaab.”
Davis admitted that he came to Nigeria in April to facilitate the release of the Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram, but denied that he was engaged by any party and therefore had no obligation to report to anyone.
He claimed to have interacted with former commanders of JAS and others close to Boko Haram during his visit to Nigeria.
Yusuf had in a 2009 BBC interview, stated his belief that the concept of a spherical Earth is contrary to Islamic teaching and should be rejected, along with Darwinian evolution, and the concept of rain originating from water evaporated by the sun, as he sought to purify Islam and return it to the exemplary life of the Prophet.
Despite being against westernization, Yusuf was said to have had a graduate education, spoke proficient English, lived a lavish lifestyle and drove a Mercedes-Benz.