A man the Nigerian army has described as a leading member of the Boko Haram terrorist group could neither read the Quran, the Muslim holy book, nor explain how Muslim prayers were performed, according to video footage of his interrogation seen by Anadolu Agency.
Bulama Modu is said to be a Boko Haram commander from the Bulakuri area of Nigeria’s restive northeastern region, where, according to army spokesmen, dozens of militants were recently captured by the army, according to army spokesman Sani Usman.
“I don’t know how to read the Quran,” the captured militant chief admits in the footage in response to interrogators’ questions about his understanding of Islamic jurisprudence.
He adds: “And I don’t know how to perform [Muslim] prayers either.”
While Boko Haram says it wants to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north, the group is despised by most Nigerian Muslims who view its violent activities-which include frequent attacks on civilian targets-as entirely un-Islamic.
Nigeria on Wednesday claimed Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency was nearing an end, after the military said it had cleared rebel camps, rescued hundreds of women and children and arrested dozens of suspected militants.
But apparent government and military confidence in counter-insurgency operations was off-set by nearly 140 deaths in a series of bomb attacks and fears of more civilian bloodshed over the Eid al-Adha holiday.
President Muhammadu Buhari has given his new military high command until early November to end the rebellion, which has claimed at least 17,000 lives and made more than two million homeless since 2009.
Since the deadline was announced, the military has claimed successes against the terrorists and said troops had on Tuesday rescued 241 women and children near the town of Banki, close to the Cameroon border.