The mother of boko haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, said recently in an interview that she has no idea where her son is or what his current situation is because she has not seen him in last 15 years. Falmata Abubakar said this in what appears to be her first media interview with the Hausa Service of the Voice of America (VOA) in the village of Shekau, Yobe State, yesterday. The VOA team was led by elders and leaders of the village who took them to the woman.
“He has put so many people in serious difficulty,’’ she said in the interview. ‘‘I pray that God guides him right. I don’t know whether he is dead or alive, only God knows. I have not seen him in the last 15 years.” The report also said Shekau’s late father was the Imam of the village Mosque before his death.
According to his mother, Shekau left the village for Maiduguri, the Borno State capital as a young boy in search of Islamic knowledge. She said he was an “almajiri boy” who walked the streets of Maiduguri looking for food. It was in the course of seeking Islamic knowledge that her son came into contact with the founder of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf. She said the late Boko Haram leader was the one who indoctrinated her son.
“I did not set my eyes on him since he came in contact with Mohammed Yusuf,” she said. “I know he is my son, and everyone knows a mother’s love for her son, but our attitude to life is different.”
Falmata however said she will not curse his son. “He has chosen a path different from the one we put him on and only God knows what he has become now.”
Residents of the village also affirmed that they always hide the identity of their village for fear of being associated with the boko haram leader.
Shekau is notorious for his leadership of the deadly group responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. He has personally carried out the execution of several people including members of the sect he leads. He has also carried out many raids leading to death and destruction of many towns and villages across the north eastern part of Nigeria.
Shekau took leadership of the group after the death of its founder, Yusuf, who was killed in police custody. The Nigerian military has repeatedly claimed to have killed Shekau. Those claims have turned out false.
The boko haram leader is on the Nigerian government’s list of most wanted terrorists. The United States government also has a bounty on him.
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