EXCLUSIVE: KIDNAPPED AT 10, BOKO HARAM CHILD SOLDIER REVEALS HOW INSURGENTS TURN CHILDREN TO ISLAMIC FIGHTERS, SAYS TERRORIST LEADER SHEKAU HAS LOST USE OF HIS LEGS (VIDEO)
A Boko Haram child militant fighter has sensationally revealed how Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Jama’at Ahl al-Sunna lil Da’wa wal Jihad (JAS) lost his leg and became incapacitated in one of the devastating air bombardment by the Nigerian Army in the insurgents camp in Tumbuktu - Sambisa forest.
There was increased speculation regarding the whereabouts and well-being of JAS leader Abubakar Shekau in the Nigerian media circle, with some pointing out that the erratic leader no longer released videos while standing on his feet. His leg injuries meant the Boko Haram terrorist leader could only sit down to make video and audio recordings.
The young jihadist named as Mohammed Adam - who says he is 15-year-old, turned into an Islamist fighter after he was kidnapped by the sect from his native town in Firgi in Gwoza local government area, South of the Northeastern Borno state, aged only 10.
Adam was apprehended by troops of 159 Task Force Battalion of the army, on Friday, Dec. 12, at a location given as Muna garage in Maiduguri, the state capital of the restive Northeast.
The brave looking jihadist fighter revealed that Abubakar Shekau could no longer walk or physically lead any operational mission due to his battlefield injuries.
Recounting his own experience, Adam claimed that he personally met Abubakar Shekau after taking active roles in several Operations under the command of the veteran factional leader.
He also claimed that he was among the Boko Haram fighters that escorted the kidnapped Chibok girls to a camp in Tumbuktu and gave them close protection.
Bearing his age - some of his statements cannot be relied upon.
In a bid to confirm to the Nigerian army 159 TF Battalion that they got the right man - the young Adam demonstrated some combat skills he acquired during training by the Insurgents in weapons handling, marksmanship and planting of Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
"I am a well trained insurgent war front soldier who was specialised in weapons handling including AK-47 rifles and GPMG as well as planting IED's along troops patrol route. We are also given training on other unconventional techniques to inflict heavy casualties on troops.
Adam claimed that he had participated in several top Boko Haram Operations and attacks including the elimination of some army engineers in the South of Borno while showcasing skills in IED planting on the road.
He said that he escaped from one of the camps in Sambisa forest due to hardship and hunger, resulting from the Cholera outbreak, which left over 500 militants and their families in critical conditions.
"I escaped with the intention of Being rescued by the troops of the Nigerian army which will, in turn, afford me the opportunity of fulfilling my dreams of going back to school to acquire knowledge," said Adam.
He revealed that other escapees, mostly minors were in Banki in Bama local government area. He claimed to have come to Muna to collect some of his personal possessions from a friend he met after escaping from Sambisa forest.
Adam is currently in the safe custody of the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole of the Nigerian Army for further investigation, profiling and channelling.
The jihadist factions of Boko Haram JAS and ISWAL have continued to employ the battle strategies of recruiting children as frontline fighters in battlefields across Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad. The recruitment strategy became common after the jihadist suffered major losses of experienced fighters, soldiers and commanders in the hands of Lake Chad regional and state forces.
Most of the enlisted children were mostly abducted at very young ages, groomed and trained to become militant battlefield soldiers and spies.
The latest arrest of Adam and his revelations is further confirmation of the recruitment of Minors by Boko Haram insurgents to evade suspiciousness by the Nigerian troops in the theatre of war.
The protection of vulnerable young children from exploitation by non-state armed groups like Boko Haram and ISWAP is extremely crucial in the war against terrorism in the North East - Mandara Mountains- Sambisa Forest and the fringes of the Lake Chad basin states. The use of child fighters by Boko Haram and ISWAP factions is an ongoing tactic that requires multiple stakeholders awareness.
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David Otto is the Director for Stepped In – Step Out UK Ltd and a Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Expert. He is a Certified Anti -Terrorism Specialist (CAS), a Certified Master Anti -Terrorism Specialist (CMAS) and a programme trainer with the Anti -Terrorism