63-year-old Australian expert, Dr. Stephen Davis, a negotiator in the Chibok kidnappings, has named Former Borno Governor Ali Modu Sheriff and immediate chief of army staff Lt-Gen Ihejirika (sacked January 2014) as Boko Haram sponsors on ARISE NEWS [Watch].
Davis, who had worked as an adviser for Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Yar’Adua in the past, spent 4 intense months in the North-East trying to negotiate the release of the more than 200 school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram on April 14, but without success.
Dr Davis has just returned to Australia with rare footage of the intense fighting in the region, and lots of insider opinion. In a recent interview with Radio Australia, he 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 and this will make it difficult, should the President try to prosecute them.
“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.”
Davis said Boko Haram commanders that he has been negotiating with as the source of this information. The kingpins not only finance BH operations but select targets for assassination and execution.
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.”
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.”