Abuja — SUSPECTED link-man between Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda terrorist network, Mallam Mohammed Ashafa, who was indicted by the Federal Government in 2003 for recruiting some Nigerian youths to Niger Republic and Pakistan for training as members of Al-Qaeda has alleged that the statement tendered in evidence against him was doctored by the Department of State Security, DSS.
Ashafa, who is standing trial before Justice Adamu Bello of a Federal High Court in Abuja is answering to a five-count charge of receiving monetary payments from Talha and Na'deem (al-Qaeda operatives) of the Tabliqh headquarters, Lahore, Pakistan for recruiting and training terrorists.
A retired investigative agent of the DSS, Mr Bukar Tarha, in his testimony before the court, insisted that Ashafa who is a 46-year old man of about 5.4 in height, while under interrogation, admitted his involvement in both national and international terrorism acts.
The witness further told the court that the accused person facilitated series of terrorist exchange programmes between the Boko Haram sect and the Al-Qaeda network, stressing that its underground investigations revealed that he was second in command to one Mallam Adnan Ibrahim, who it said was the Resident Chief of al-Qaeda in West Africa, but based in Kano.
Besides, Tarha, who retired from the DSS into private practice in 2008, told the court that Ashafa was under his custody between 2005 and 2006, when he was head of the anti-terrorism department of the DSS, saying he was convinced that the accused person is a die hard adherent of the Boko Haram ideology.
According to the witness, there was a forwarding letter with a brief that Ashafa was intercepted at the Pakistani Airport in 2004 and subsequent search and investigation by the Pakistani authorities revealed that he was a member of the al-Qaeda.