West & Central Africa

Kidnapping Muslim girls gave “bad light” says Boko Haram

Abu Musab Albarnawi’s faction of the Islamic Boko Haram terrorist group has announced that the abduction of the Dapchi Muslim girls in Government Girls Science School in February has “cast the group in bad light” within the Muslim community and that was why they released the girls.

Released Dapchi School girls

In an audio released by the terrorists to SaharaReporters, the speaker, introducing himself as one of the faction’s Shura (decision makers), Abu Bashir said, the abduction of the Dapchi school girls was solely to force the Nigerian government to release of some of its members in detention and get a ransom paid. Bashir did not however confirm or deny if the ransom was paid or if any of their fighter was released by the Nigerian government. He also did not  mention Leah Sharibu, the only Christian girl they refused to release.

The Boko Haram faction, claimed that it is an arm of the Islamic State West Africa Provence (ISWAP), and explained that the release of the girls was a joint decision by the leadership of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), suggesting that Abu Bakr-al-Baghdadi, ISIL’s terrorist leader directed the release of the girls.

Bashir, in the audio, declared all Muslims who were knowingly or unknowingly fighting ISWAP as apostates; like the Civilian Joint Task Force, fighting alongside the Nigerian army. “We will kill them, both men and women, wherever we find them because they took up arms against us,” Bashir ranted out.

Al Barnawi, factional Boko Haram leader

Bashir also claimed that while the girls were in captivity, Boko Haram “preached to them to repent and released them.” The Islamic jihadi sect said he did not have any agreement with the Nigerian government for any ceasefire the week they returned the Dapchi school girls, contradicting what the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said about an ongoing discussion after the ceasefire to get the militant to accept an amnesty and to disarm.

A source knowledgeable about negotiations for the release of the Dapchi girls said,“Anyone who  believes any individual or group of people on the issue of a ceasefire and peace settlement is being scammed. I doubt even Shekau will accept any deal that does not recognize his authority.” He explained that the factional leader of ISWAP and son of the founder of the Boko Haram Islamic terror sect, Abu Musab Albarnawi was appointed a Wali (administrator) of the Lake Chad Basin region and therefore follows the chain of command. Final decision is likely made by the leader of ISIL.


Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos

Image credits/Google images/Al Barnawi: Sceen grab Boko Haram video/schoolgirls