Maiduguri — The Boko Haram sect has given reasons for its weekend attacks, which led to the killing of about 162 people in Kano State, saying it was to avenge the persecution of its members.
Spokesman of the group, Abul Qaqa, made this known in a telephone interview with newsmen in Maiduguri, yesterday.
Claiming responsibility for the attacks and multiple bombings on police stations, State Security Services, SSS, and passport office buildings in Kano metropolis, Qaga said: "Last night's (Friday) attacks and bombings of Kano city followed our warnings in the second week of December, 2011."
'We warned Kano stakeholders'
Besides, Qaqa also referred reporters to an e-mail message in which Imam Muhammad Abubakar Shekau, Spiritual Head of the sect, threatened that: "Unless urgent steps are taken, the group will launch endless and violent attacks on Kano and its environs because of arbitrary arrest and persecution of his members."
Vanguard learnt that in the said e-mail, Shekau said the group had written an open letter to the people of Kano, including the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero; Governor Musa Kwankwaso, Alhaji Aminu Dantata and Khalifa Sheikh Isiaka Rabiu on recent happenings in the ancient city.
Shekau revealed that but for the intervention of some prominent scholars in Kano, his group would have made the city ungovernable a long time ago.
Qaqa said: "The message here is that everybody knows that a lot of our people were killed in Kano State, especially in Wudil town. We had perfected plans to take revenge but some notable scholars intervened by pleading with us.
"They also assured that our members would nevear be persecuted again and we took them by their words. Unfortunately, however, about five months ago, security agencies began trailing and arresting our members who are carrying out their legitimate businesses, alleging that they are all thieves and armed robbers.
"Again, we perfected plans to attack the city of Kano but the scholars pleaded that we should not.
They advised that we should write a formal letter of complaint to some notable people.
We agreed and sent letters to the Emir of Kano, Wamban Kano, Dan Masanin Kano and the governor of Kano State.
"We also posted the open letter on the internet, but nothing was done to stop the persecution of our members.
"Recently, security agencies launched a fresh onslaught on some of our members in Kano city in which even women and children were not spared. Many houses were raided and a pregnant woman was manhandled.
'We respected Kano'
"Some of our members were tortured with electric shock. All these things happened in Kano, a city that we hold in high esteem.
"We have varied opinions about Kano, including the option of launching endless campaign of violence, but the scholars that have been talking to us are still persuading us to tarry a while.
"We are compelled to write this open letter so that the world will know what is happening."