We were recruited from mosques, promised huge financial benefit, trained in Libya – suspected terrorists speak - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

We were recruited from mosques, promised huge financial benefit, trained in Libya – suspected terrorists speak

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Nine members of the high profile International terrorist group, Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimeena fii Bilaa dis Sudan, responsible for the kidnap of expatriates, and other influential personalities in northern Nigeria, have revealed how they were recruited from mosques, and trained in Libya.

The suspects arrested by the Inspector – General of Police, Intellignece Response Team (IRT), were smoked out of their hideouts in Kaduna, Zaria, Funtua, Kano and Katsina States.

According to the suspects, the terrorist group whose membership spreads across all the northern states, and many African countries, presents itself as an Islamic group fighting a just cause, but after accepting their membership, recruits are presented with the sad reality of being a criminal gang.

A senior police source who was a member of the team that tracked the suspects, said the gang had an operation base at Birnin Gwari Bush.

The source, whose identity cannot be disclosed, revealed that the gang was responsible for the kidnap of two expatriates, Zaid Alas from Jordan and Isah Jabour a Syrian, both working with Traicta Ltd, at Shiroro in Niger State, in December 2019, and collected N120 million ransom.

The terrorist gang led by their leaders, Dogo Gide and Mahmud, both at large, were also responsible for the kidnap for ransom of some employees of Mothercat Construction Company, as well as the Kidnap of Magajin Garin Daura in Katsina State.

The identities of the arrested suspects were given : Aminu Mustapha (alias China), 23, Aminu Saidu (alias Dawud), 26, Aminu Shuaibu (alias Abu Mus’an), 33, Ishak Khalid (alias Uztaz), 30, Yusuf Abubakar (alias AY), 24, Awal Umar Tela, 34, Abubakar Isah Muhammad (alias Khalifa Abu Aisara), 25, Shuaibu Ahmadu, 25, and Abubakar Mustafa (alias Osama), 32.

The source said: “ The gang led by Dogo Gide and Mahmud kidnapped two expatriates working at Traicta Ltd, Shiroro in Niger State. The deadly group collected N120million ransom. All gang members were given between N200,000 and N300,000 each, as part of their share of the ransom.

“ The suspects are also helping operatives of IRT to track and arrest other gang members that are still at large especially their gang leaders as well as their armourer, one Aliyu Sokoto and Mus’ab who sent threat email to Triacta Ltd, and was also negotiating with the Managing Director of the Company, on how N50 million will be paid to them yearly for the group to stop kidnapping the company’s expatriates.

“ A total of 204 rounds of AK47 Live ammunitions, military uniforms, operatornal vehicles including a Volkswagen Golf car, drugs and foodstuff meant to be conveyed to their gang members in the bush, and charms were recovered from the suspects. Investigation continues. Serious efforts are in progress to arrest the remaining members.”

Speaking on how he became a member of the gang in 2015, Shuaibu, who hails from Kastina, said he was brainwashed and persuaded into believing the group was an Islamic group, with a good cause.

Shuaibu who was trained to treat sick and injured members of the gang, said he was promised good financial benefit to join, and that was what enticed him.

He said: “ Currently, I am 29-year-old. I am not married and I refused to marry early because I wanted freedom to make money first. I dropped out of school due to financial problems and was surviving by doing menial jobs till I was able to raise money and bought a small golf car which i was using for taxi business. Normally I make as much as N5,000 a day and this is the job that i have been doing for years even as a member of Ansarul.

“ It was sometime in 2015 that I met one Mamoud in the mosque and after each prayer we will hang out and discuss about life. I was a member of the Izala Muslim movement and we normally gather for prayers and to listen to lectures from the Imam.

He was the one that told me about Ansarul and that i will make more money if I become a member. He explained to me that we are fighting the cause of Allah, and that I will also have the opportunity to travel to Libya. I was also happy to join them because i believe that they are not like Boko Haram group that was busy killing fellow muslims.

“ It was the excitement of going to Libya that convinced me to join them. As soon as i met Maitukwane, the lead of the group in Nigeria, he asked me to join the medical team. This was how i was trained as doctor in the camp. My duty was to attend to the sick and wounded.

I know that they kidnap people regularly as a way to make money since government does not allow them to operate freely. We were operating freely before army and police operatives scattered all of us and we went deeper into the forest. It’s only some of us who still had our families outside that were moving around town undercover.”

Shuaibu who was sent to Libiya to assist member of the Ansarul group fighting against the then Libyan government said he earned N50,000 every three months as wage for his contributions to the battle in Libya.

He continues: “ Three years ago, I was one of the members who were drafted to go to Libya and assist them in fighting against their government. It was Ahmdumahid who was in-charge of our own group in Kaduna that sent five us to Libya at the same time. On getting to Libya, I was drafted to work at their clinic.

“ The Ansarul group in Libya were under serious attack from their government, and a lot of them were wounded. During my spare time, I normally go to the field to learn how to become a professional sniper. We were not sent there to make money, all they did was to give us N50,000 every three months as allowance.

“ We all went there with the belief that we are fighting a good cause. We were not the only Nigerians that were sent to Libya that time, different sects came from different areas in Nigeria to assist them. I spent about a year in Libya before i was asked to return because our camp in Nigeria needed my skills as a ‘doctor’.”

On how he became ‘doctor’, Shuaibu said that he never attended a medical school but was trained by a professional doctor. “ We have members who are professional doctors. They normally come from the city to the bush to attend to the wounded if the need arise. It became risky because they could be caught by Nigerian government.

“ This was why they took few of us to the doctor, to teach us the job. I do not know his name, we all call him doctor. I spent about two months with him and learnt the job. I can stitch open cuts, attend to deep wound and remove bullets. To help the wounded to recover, I normally give them Tramadol injection and Chlorophenical injection. If the matter is so bad, I will call the doctor for advice.

“ I also attend to victims who are sick and during my spare time , I teach other new converts. I never knew that police were after me despite how careful I was. In my area, they know me as the taxi driver.

I was surprised when i received a message to collect money from one of our sponsors, only to walk into the trap set by the police. I am sorry and will like to be given an opportunity to leave the group.”

Making confessional statement, Saidu claimed his father who is also a member of the group, forced him into joining the group after he withdrew him from secondary school at age 17.

The 26-year-old said: “ I was 17, and in my final year in school when my father summoned me and said that I had to withdraw from school. I attended government college Kaduna. My mother knew about it but she was more interested in keeping her marriage than saving my future.

Since she did not object, I had no choice but to follow my father’s instruction. My father was a confirmed member of the Ansarul group before police arrested him and took him.

“ As soon as I was converted in 2015, i was sent to Libya for training. I was supposed to be in the field, so my training was more of how to survive during war. They told us that if we were trained in Libya, we will experience real fighting between government and our members.

I was there for just six months before I had an accident. I was driving our operational jeep when I unknowingly fell into a ditch. Two of my fingers were cut off, and they said that I could not continue with my training. So i was sent back home.

“ Back in Nigeria, I was told to go and learn how to sow cloth that i will be staying in town to assist them when the need arises. I had to learn how to sow cloth, so that no one will suspect that I belong to that group. They will send money to my account and I will help to buy the thing they need to survive in the bush.”

On how to stop the activities of the terrorist organization, Sadiu advised that police should concentrate on arresting their leaders. “ Initially , they told us that we were fighting against non-muslims but i realized that majority of the people that we kidnapped are moslems. I have not achieved anything and the worst of it all is that I can no longer go back to school.

“ I will like to leave that group but if the leaders are still alive, they will order that I be killed. Let the police arrest all our leaders and others will scatter. If not they are wasting their time because they are busy visiting the mosques and converting more persons. If we die, they will replace us.”

Saidu’s younger brother, Mustapha, who is also a member of the gang said they were promised houses in Abuja and millions of naira, when they defeat the Nigerian government.

He said: “ I am 21, and Sahid is my elder brother. We are from Kaduna state and was in the same college when my father forced us to drop out of school. I was 16-year-old, and they said that I was too young to go to Libya.

My father handed me over to one Mammoud, who taught me how to shoot and drive their operational vehicle. My job was to run errands till I am of age to travel abroad for training.

“ I normally assist them to buy food and sometimes watch over the people that were kidnapped. When I was converted, they told us that we are fighting against Nigerian government.

They made us believe that when we take over Nigeria, our families will become millionaires and own houses in Abuja. I was placed on N100,000 monthly allowance to stay in town and be running errands. It was also my responsibility to collects arms from our members in Sokoto.

“ I will collect as much as possible and take it to the bush. We do not pay our arms supplier, because everybody is working towards winning the war. Sometimes, they give me money to give him as gift.

Last year, when police arrested my father, I swore that i will not join the group again because I knew that police was also looking for me. After some months, I became broke, so i decided to return to the group.

“ I am sorry and i wish that my father did not withdraw us from school. I wanted to become a doctor and will still like to go back to school if given the opportunity. I do not know how police will end the activities of the group because we are everywhere.”