By Sumaila Ogbaje
Abuja – The Multi National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) has received 47 members of Boko Haram/Islamic States West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorist groups who surrendered to its troops in the Lake Chad and surrounding areas.
The Chief of Military Public Information MNJTF N’Djamena – Chad, Col. Timothy Antigha, in a statement on Friday, said the terrorists surrendered with their families recently in Sector 1 of the MNJTF.
Antigha said that the recent incessant power tussle in the top echelon of the terrorist groups, ethnic tension and failure to actualise the establishment of a caliphate in the Sahel contributed to the surrender.
He said a member of the group, who admitted to have participated in various attacks on Banki, Fotokol, Gambarou Ngala, New Marte, Chikun Gudu, among others, had expressed frustration with the lack of progress in the jihad.
Antigha quoted the surrendered terrorist as saying, they could not make progress due to the preoccupation of the leadership in the pursuit of material things.
“They told us that we were being lied to and cheated by apostate governments, but I have not seen any difference between Shekau and those he has been condemning. He may even be worse. I am having it a lot better here because since we came out of the bush, we have been fed and catered for”.
Antigha further disclosed that another surrendered terrorist claimed that he was misled to kill innocent people, for which he might face physical and spiritual condemnation.
He said that the terrorist also added that there was ethnic rivalry among members of Boko Haram and ISWAP.
He quoted him as saying, “If you do not speak a particular language, you can not be appointed a commander or made a guard in the bush and you can not even be allowed to also go for tax collection.
“This discriminatory attitude has made some of us feel that we are not trusted and good enough to be given responsibilities.”
The spokesperson also disclosed that a female member of the group lamented the severe abuse of women in the camps and prayed that no woman should find herself in the situation she recently escaped from.
He quoted her as saying, “those people are ungodly, so they can not tell the world that they are doing the will of Allah.”
Antigha said that the MNJTF has been consistent in its observation that Boko Haram and ISWAP are transnational criminal enterprises which have been sustained by grand deception, appeal to religious sentiments and violence.
“The force is therefore vindicated by the testimonies of the surrendered terrorists who spoke on their own volition.
“Consequently, the MNJTF renews the call on other misled fighters in the bush to come out. It is important to add that MNJTF Troop Contributing Countries have structures and programmes in place to receive all those who surrender.
“Similarly, the MNJTF urges communities to accept repented terrorists back after their rehabilitation, even though some of them had perpetrated heinous crimes.
“The MNJTF shares in the understanding that such a gesture by communities will go a long way in the continuing efforts to defeat terrorism and build peace in the Lake Chad Basin,” he said.