Before the founder of Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (“People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”), Mohammed Yusuf, was killed on July 30, 2009, he was interviewed by Nigerian security operatives after being captured in Maiduguri, Borno State. The carnage in Maiduguri then would be child’s play compared to what is taking place today. Reproduced below is a transcript of the interview conducted in Hausa (credit to Daily Trust newspaper for the translation).
Interrogator: We went to your house yesterday and we saw a lot of animals, syringes and materials used for making bombs, what were you keeping all that for? Yusuf: Like I told you, to protect myself…
Yusuf: Like I told you, to protect myself…
Interrogator: (Cuts in)…to protect yourself how? Isn´t there the authorities, the law enforcement agencies?
Yusuf: The authorities, the law enforcement agents are the same people fighting me…
Interrogator: What did you do?
Yusuf: I don´t know what I did… I am only propagating my religion Islam.
Interrogator: But I am also a Muslim…
Yusuf: I don´t know why you refuse to accept my own (Islam)
Interrogator: Why should you say Boko is Haram (sinful)?
Yusuf: Of course it is Haram
Interrogator: Why did you say that?
Yusuf: The reasons are so many…
Interrogator: The trouser you are wearing…
Yusuf: (cuts in)…it is pure cotton and cotton belongs to Allah
Interrogator: But Allah said in the Qur’an iqra (read), that people should seek knowledge…
Yusuf: That’s correct, but not the knowledge that contravenes the teachings of Islam. All knowledge that contradicts Islam is prohibited by the Almighty…sihiri (sorcery or magic) is knowledge, but Allah hath forbidden it; shirk (Polytheism or sharing or associating partners to Allah) is knowledge, but Allah has forbidden it; astronomy is knowledge, but Allah has forbidden it…
Interrogator: At your place we found computers, syringes…are all that no products of knowledge?
Yusuf: They are purely technological things, not Boko…and westernisation is different.
Interrogator: How comes you are eating good food – look at you, looking healthy – you are driving good cars, and wearing good clothes while you are forcing your followers to sell their belongings and live mostly on dabino (dates) and water?
Yusuf: That is not true. Everybody is living according to his means. Even you are different. Whoever you see driving good cars is because he can afford them, and whoever you see living in want also means he doesn’t have the wherewithal.
Interrogator: Why did you abandon your mosque and your compound?
Yusuf: Because you went and opened fire there…
Interrogator: But you sent your people there to die in the fire?
Yusuf: No my people have left the place. Interrogator: What about those who came to fight for you…where and where do you have followers?
Yusuf: You have chased all of them away.
Interrogator: Apart from Maiduguri…
Yusuf: There are some in Bauchi but police chased them away even before now; there are some in Gombe, police went to their house and chased away; there are some in Yola, Adamawa, police attacked them, same with those in Jalingo, Taraba State. It was after chasing them away that they turned to us here in Maudguri.
Interrogator: What happened to your hand?
Yusuf: I fell
Interrogator: In this town (Maiduguri), how many areas do you have?
Yusuf: The headquarters is right here.
Interrogator: What about other branches?
Yusuf: We have in Gwange, Bulunkutu…
Interrogator: Where they intercepted weapons the other day, right?
Yusuf: (Laughs) Intercepted weapons?
Interrogator: What about your 2IC (second in command)…because they said you have soldiers, police, etc?
Yusuf: That is not true… Interrogator: But don’t you have a 2IC, who acts in your absence? Yusuf: I have…
Interrogator: What is his name?
Yusuf: Malam Abubakar Shekau
Interrogator: Where is he now?
Yusuf: I don’t know. Interrogator: Who and who escaped with you? Yusuf: I did not run with anybody
Interrogator: Who are your sponsors, here at home or abroad?
Interrogator: No, tell us the truth…
Yusuf: Insha Allah, I won’t lie to you…
Interrogator: You have a farm around Benishek?
Interrogator: Now you have made us kill people that are innocent. What do you have to say? Yusuf: You bear responsibility on all those you killed.
Interrogator: What about those killed by your followers?
Yusuf: My followers did not kill anybody
Interrogator: What about those killed among your followers?
Yusuf: Those killed among my followers, whoever killed them are those who committed crime.
Interrogator: Where are you from originally?
Yusuf: I hail from Yobe State. Interrogator: Where in Yobe State? Yusuf: Jakusko
Interrogator: What about your father? Yusuf: He is also from Jakusko.
Interrogator: What about your mother? Yusuf: She is from Gashua
Interrogator: Have you ever travelled abroad?
Yusuf: Only Hajj (Pilgrimage)
Interrogator: What year was that?
Yusuf: 2003 and 2004.
Editor’s Note: Yusuf was killed after the interrogation in what police said was an exchange of gunfire, although it later emerged he was summarily executed.
Source: The Cable
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