By Ebele Orakpo
A forensic criminologist and security co-ordinator at the American University of Nigeria, Dr. Lionel Von Frederck Rawlins has disclosed that Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabab terrorist organisations operating in the Islamic Maghreb and Arabian peninsula have been helping members of Boko Haram carry out their operations in Nigeria.
Rawlins, a US marine, who has worked in Europe, Africa, Asia, Central and South America, the Middle East and Far East as a counter-terrorist specialist, explained that Nigeria is under siege from terrorists from other lands.
He advised the Nigerian government to seek help in dealing with the insurgency.
According to him, the Nigerian government and people “only have to ask and they will send people.
“Some people believe that it is politically-motivated, may be it was and it started off that way; some believe it is religiously-motivated but I don’t know if that is true, I doubt it because Muslims are killing Muslims as well, not just Christians and non-Muslims; so if you want to look at it that way, it is a fallacy. What I would say is that it has got to the point where Boko Haram is killing people because Boko Haram is now proving a point that it can kill and get away with it. It has gone beyond religion, politics and ideology. It is a belief: ‘I can kill people and I can get away with it and let me show you I can do it.’ That is what it is now. It is a showman thing.
”A case in point: Look at what they did or tried to do in Giwa Barracks, Maiduguri recently. They tried to take on a military base! That alone tells you that these people are so emboldened they don’t even care about attacking a military base where soldiers are with weapons. It has gone beyond the normal talk of politics, religion, ideology or corruption. It is now showmanship: ‘I can kill you if I want and there is nothing you can do.’”
He explained that Boko Haram currently receives help from other globally recognised terror groups. What you have now are “insurgents from other countries. They are trained by Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabab and other groups. They send people here to train them. They also go for training and come back but you must remember, many terrorist groups are in this together and they don’t have problem training and supporting each other because they know that one day, they can call each other for help and when they do, they expect that you will come and help. They may say ‘we need you to help us get Mali, and then you send people because they trained you, gave you funding and all the resources you need, so that was done for you to pay back. So, you are correct to say they got people to help them. There are times also that survivors report that people who came with Boko Haram to kill them were speaking a language they have never heard before; nothing out of Nigeria, so they could be French, Spanish, something from Mali, CAR, Kenya, etc. They know instinctively that it is not a Nigerian tongue which proves the fact that they bring in outsiders.”
He said the Nigerian peoploe need to give military the support needed to boost morale. “We have to give the military the support that it needs and if you don’t give them that support, it is very demoralizing for the soldiers. It erodes their confidence and their morale to know that ‘I am fighting to defend you and then when Boko Haram insurgents are killed, you turn around and blame me, but when Boko Haram kill 50, you don’t say anything.’ You don’t go after them with the same force and the same venom; you don’t go after them like you go after the military when people are killed and to me, that is unfair. If you are going to do it, do it both ways. Tell the bad guys that what they are doing is wrong and tell the good guys as well that what they are doing is wrong when they go wrong.”
On his book on The Church od Satan, he said:
“It was the thesis for my master’s degree in criminology. I was fascinated by cultism and Satanism, witchcraft, voodoo, juju and how they used to kill people. They never called it satanic murder. The Press would call it satanic murder but the court of law would not because there is no such thing in law. The court does not have any law that says it is a satanic, cult or juju murder. I was fascinated by how these people would commit murder and keep it secret and no one knows and they get away with it. So in doing that, I had to go interview witches in the US, it’s a legitimate religion so they don’t mind telling people they are witches protected by the constitution. They go to the church of Satan and they are proud of it. I had to go the Church of Satan.
“And what do they do there?
They didn’t do anything weird in front of me. To get in there, I had to apply and they interviewed me. You can’t just walk in because they don’t know who you are or what you want. After a couple of months of trying to get in, they finally let me. They worship like everyone else but instead of singing praises to God, they sing praises to Satan and the cross is turned upside down. The singing was dark and evil but I wanted to interview many of them to see what actually they were about. The fact is, there are satanists, witches, juju, voodoo etc. They are all there. Many of them are fraudsters though. They defraud people out of their money but I would not tell people to be afraid to go out and do things because you are not going to find a bunch of people all around the world trying to kill you because Satan told them to”.