Saliu ABUJA (Xinhua) -- Looking back at the crimes he
executed against humanity, Auwal Ismaaela, a self-confessed top
commander of the Nigeria-based terror group Boko Haram, felt he
would likely be living the rest of his life regretting the
atrocities he and other fighters committed.
Although he claimed to have repented
now, and willfully surrendered to the Nigerian military
recently, he is, no doubt, gutted by his own past.
Ismaaela threw in the towel as
government troops intensified efforts to smoke out remnants of
the terror group in Nigeria.
His submission to the military was
promptly followed by a confession in which the terror group
commander said he played a major role in the abduction of more
than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, a Christian-dominated town in
the northeastern state of Borno in April 2014.
“It is unfortunate that I was
brainwashed and misled, not only on some abductions but in
the killings of my own people that were innocent,” Ismaaela
“I wholeheartedly regret my actions,”
he said, noting his sins were too many.
Among his many regrets, he would live
the rest of his life without a right leg and a partially burned
body—the vestiges of a senseless fight against his country and
Amid many acts of bloodletting on
innocent people and destruction of properties across the length
and breadth of Nigeria’s northeast, Ismaaela and another
repentant Boko Haram fighter named Abu Hafsat led the killing of
youths and other school children in Madagali area of Adamawa
State, also in the northeast region.
Between 2014 and 2015, he commanded
many terror operations which led to the invasion of almost a
dozen towns across Nigeria’s northeast region.
Even his kinsmen were not spared the
violence. In 2014, Ismaaela led his cohorts to his homestead of
Madagali, where they killed some students and youths at the
Central Secondary School in Sabon Gari area of the town.
“In one of the operations, I abducted
my wife named Maryam,” the repented terrorist said.
Maryam later bore him two kids in
Sambisa Forest, Boko Haram’s largest training camp in Borno
Before the terrorists were chased out
of Sambisa Forest, the place was a “land of horror,” Ismaaela
“Women were being raped, sometimes
publicly. Children died from malnutrition and diseases as
the living condition became harsher. As there was no food in
the camp, people died every day because of hunger,” he said.
Despite losing his right leg in a
gunfight with troops in Konduga, another frequently attacked
area in Borno State, Ismaaela did not stop fighting for Boko
He said Boko Haram’s kingpin, Abubakar
Shekau, gave him a tricycle with which he continued to use for
various operations before he eventually surrendered.
Giving many reasons for his decision
to voluntarily surrender to the Nigerian troops, Ismaaela had
since realized, also, that the sermons, barbaric indoctrination
and atrocities being committed in all the Boko Haram camps “were
“I willingly surrendered to the
military because I was tired of the senseless killing and
fight. I realized that our people have resort to stealing
and all sort of atrocity contrary to the teaching and
practice of Islam,” he added.
Ismaaela, currently held in a military
detention center in the northeast region, has vowed to cooperate
with the Nigerian Military with useful information on locations
and hideouts of other top commanders of the ruthless Boko Haram
His plea is being considered by
More than 100 Boko Haram members and
some commanders had in the recent past surrendered to the
military, knowing full well that their actions had become
inimical to the overall interest and well-being of the nation
and the surrounding countries of Cameroon, Niger, and Chad.