By NDAHI MARAMA
MAIDUGURI—Some members of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, arrested yesterday at Mairi ward behind University of Maiduguri by members of the Civilian JTF vigilante group, have confessed that most of them are fleeing the Sambisa Forest to areas across Borno State owing to what they believe is spiritual attacks from mysterious snakes and bees, which had killed many of their leaders.
According to Kolo Mustapha, one of the arrested insurgents, “most of us are fleeing because there are too many snakes and bees now in the forest. Once they bite, they disappear and the victims do not last for 24 hours.
“We were told that the aggrieved people who had suffered from our deadly mission, including the ghosts of some of those we killed, are the ones turning into the snake and bees.”
‘Our leaders fled, too’
He said some of their leaders have escaped to Cameroon because they are known to the Nigerian authorities and could be easily identified. According to him, those of them who lived all their lives in Maiduguri have nowhere to run to. So they returned and tried to sneak into town.
He said they came in last night and were trying to hide in some uncompleted buildings, when some members of the Civilian JTF saw them.
He said: “We are pleading with them to spare our lives. We were forced into the sect. But we know that it is not the right way. I personally have never killed anyone, but I have my friend here who had killed many people.”
Umar Abor, the other arrested sect member said Kolo Mustapha was lying as they had participated in all heinous acts of the sect.
He said: “We have fought together since 2010. We have fought in Marte, Bama, Buni Yadima and Gwoza. We were not in Chibok. We have not seen the girls, but we heard about the issue.
“Our leaders have been talking about it and we have been following all news from the radio. We decided to flee when almost all our comrades are leaving the Sambisa because of constant attacks by snakes and bees, which we were told was as a result of Chibok abducted schoolgirls.
“They (our leaders) told us that it was our enemies and aggrieved people that are hunting us through diabolical means. We were in the forest in 2010 and 2011. We left and came back last year but we have never experienced such attacks.
“That is why they believe the Chibok people are using juju to pursue us because of their children said to have been taken by our leaders.”
‘We‘ll reveal our hiding place’
According to him, they have realised their mistakes and repented, promising that if they are spared they would help the community in fishing out some of their comrades and will lead security agents where their comrades had fled.
One of the leaders of the Civilian JTF said many of the sect members had been fleeing the Sambisa Forest in the past two weeks and that most of them are being arrested and taken to the authorities, except when they resist arrest, in which case they are left with no option but to kill them.
He said: “These ones have not attempted to run or do anything bad. They promise to take us to where they hide their weapons. We are taking them to the chairman of our sector command before they are handed to security operatives.”