By Agency Reporter
A Perth-based international adviser, Dr. Stephen Davis, who survived months of extreme danger to try to rescue more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram, has alleged that one of the primary sources of funding for the terror group is Nigerian politicians.
It was reported that one of the key federal government negotiators trying to secure the release of the Chibok girls from the clutches of Boko Haram was Davis.
Davis has worked in Nigeria in the past with the Archbishop of Canterbury and Head of the Church of England, Justin Welby, to negotiate the release of kidnapped oil industry workers in the Niger Delta. Speaking yesterday in an interview on ABC News, an Australian television station, Davis, 63, said he had realised the only way to stop the kidnappings was to stop the sponsors of Boko Haram.
While Al Qaeda was involved in training Boko Haram recruits, Davis said one of their major sources of funding – aside from raiding banks – was Nigerian politicians.
“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 (Goodluck Jonathan) moves against them, he would be accused of trying to rig the elections due early next year,” he said.
“So I think this 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.
“I would say it’s almost beyond the control of the political sponsors now. 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,” he told his interviewer.
Davis, who returned to Australia after a four-month sojourn with rare footage of the intense fighting in Nigeria’s North-east, as Boko Haram stepped up efforts to establish an Islamic state, said he established extensive contacts with tribes and terrorist groups in Africa, including three small cells of Al Qaeda, while working as a troubleshooter for oil and gas company Shell in the Niger Delta.
When news broke in April about the girls’ kidnapping from a school in the village of Chibok, near the Cameroun border, Davis, who had recently moved to Perth from London, decided he could not sit on his hands.
During the journey in North-eastern Nigeria, his life was threatened more than once, but his Australian passport saved him.
“When confronted by groups with an AK-47 in my face they’d say, ‘you are American, we have to kill you’,” Davis said.
“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.” The devout Christian managed to smuggle out of the country footage of a handful of schoolgirls who escaped from Boko Haram. [eap_ad_1] They detail the atrocities they endured, including being raped almost on a daily basis. Following media reports that nobody knew where the girls were, he decided to reach out to his contacts. “I made a few phone calls to the Boko Haram commanders and they confirmed they were in possession of the girls,” he said.
“They told me they’d 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.”
Arriving in Nigeria, Davis quickly set up talks with commanders and he believed he had brokered a deal. Fearing being arrested, the Boko Haram commanders – holding the girls across the border in Cameroun – had a list of conditions.
They wanted the military to stand down and promised to drop the girls in a village before phoning to give their exact location.