Abuja — There were indications yesterday that the Federal Government may go after the strategists and financiers of the Boko Haram sect as a way of ending the spate of bombings in the country. Also being targeted by security agencies are those believed to be inciting the sect into violence through the spread of hate messages in certain parts of the country.
A reliable government source told Vanguard that security agents had decided to look beyond those who merely throw bombs in their bid to find a lasting solution to the cycle of violence in parts of the North.
About 1,000 Nigerians have so far been killed in various parts of the country since the sect began its bombing activities in 2009, according to Human Rights Watch.
The source said the administration decided to take on other elements of the sect, who have decided to make life unbearable for other Nigerians.
The source said: "The focus of the search is gradually shifting from the sect's foot soldiers, who merely go on suicide missions to the financiers, intelligence class and those who indoctrinate the bomb-throwers".
Asked if indeed the sect was involved in any form of dialogue with the government, the source admitted that some form of discussion was going on with the administration but declined to give further details.
The source said the recent listing of three Boko Haram leaders as terrorists by the United States had made some members of the group to seek dialogue, apparently to avoid being designated as a foreign terrorist organisation.
"The sect has come to realise that the government is fully aware of what it is doing and that is why they have soft-pedaled. The heat is more than what the sect can take," the source said.
Last week, a prominent northern leader, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, warned people to stop associating the sect with any religion, as its activities did not have anything to do with any of the religious groups in the country.
Mohammed said: "As far as I am concerned, Boko Haram is a terrorist group; it has nothing to do with Islam or Christianity. Let those who are ignorant stop associating it with any religion and face the reality on the ground.