Apo Extrajudicial Killings: How I was lured into Boko Haram, teenager tells NHRC

The National Human Rights Commission is conducting a hearing into the killings.

The Department of State Security Service, SSS, on Tuesday testified before the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, in the ongoing investigation into the killing of eight people in Abuja last year. A 16-year-old boy, also narrated how he was lured into joining the sect before he confessed to security agencies.

The session took place at the building in Apo district, Abuja, where 8 squatters were killed on September 20, 2013.

The hearing commenced after an adoption of a 9 -page application submitted by the security agency on Monday at the rights commission’s headquarters; and a visit to the site of incident.

Eight people were killed in a joint security operation led by the SSS on September 20 at a building at No. 8 Bamanga Tukur Street, Gudu District, Abuja.

The NHRC in December 2013 had declined a request by the SSS to have its officials testify in secret in the ongoing enquiry into the killing.

The Chairman of the Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, said Tuesday’s session, witnessed by journalists, was in accordance with Rule 79 of the Rule of the Commission.

“We segmented the issues and it did require a filing from them (SSS) on record and they will be open to cross examination. But there are also intelligence assets and exhibits that are in their care and as part of the ruling we’ve exempted those from public hearing and it is understood that we take those where there are,” Mr. Odinkalu said.

During the session, an operative of the SSS gave brief details of the operation. He also spoke about the arrest of a suspect that led the SSS to the building on September 20.

He said on September 18, three suspected Boko Haram members were brought to the agency’s office; and out of the three,16-year-old Mohammed Adamu was interviewed and he confessed that Suleiman ‘R Kelly’ had lured him into joining the group.

The teenager also told his story in Hausa during Tuesday’s session.

 How I was lured

Mohammed said he left his home in Katsina to earn a living in Abuja. He said he met Suleiman ‘R Kelly’ at the Garki market, and the latter lured him to join the Boko Haram.

Mohammed, who has been in the custody of the SSS since his arrest on September 18, 2013, said he used his commercial tricycle to convey Suleiman and his colleagues between the Apo house and Garki market.

He said Suleiman initially paid him N3,000 weekly for his service until he demanded N5,000, which he felt was a fairer sum as he often made three trips a day, three days in a week between the house and the market. Suleiman eventually agreed to the new sum, he said.

Mohammed said he conveyed Suleiman and 10 others between Garki market and the house for their meetings where they discussed how to protect their religion and wage war on the government. He also joined them for the meetings after he was invited, he said.

He said he once enquired about the content of Suleiman’s bag inside the latter’s Volkswagen golf vehicle used for taxi; with the latter showing him four guns inside the bag.

The teenager said after his arrest, he took the SSS to the building at about 1 a.m. on September 20 for the operation that resulted in the killing. He said Suleiman usually spent the night at the building, where their meeting often holds between 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

The NHRC will continue with the session on Wednesday at its Abuja headquarters.

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