Nigeria: Sect Leader Vows Revenge

Bauchi, Nigeria - Leader of the radical Islamic sect opposed to western education, Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf, yesterday told Daily Trust that his group would not take kindly to the killing of dozens of its supporters in Bauchi.

Yusuf, who spoke to our reporter by telephone on the clashes between his supporters and the police in Bauchi, said his men were ready to die to ensure the institution of a strict Islamic society.

Last week nine suspected followers of Yusuf were arrested in Biu, Borno State, carrying bombs. Also on Saturday, a prominent member of the sect died in an explosion at his home while fixing a bomb for use on a target.

Yusuf confirmed to our reporter that those were his men. "I received information that my followers were attacked in different locations at Biu. Initially I thought it was an attempt by the authorities to justify their plan to arrest me but I later gathered reliably that our brothers were doing what Allah said, arm yourself to defend yourself and your religion in the face of an attack and an attack was eminent. This was what Malam Hassan (bomb victim) was doing when he became a martyr.

"What I said previously that we are going to be attacked by the authorities has manifested itself in Bauchi, where about 40 of our brothers were killed, their Mosque and homes burnt down completely and several others were injured and about a hundred are presently in detention. Therefore, we will not agree with this kind of humiliation, we are ready to die together with our brothers and we would never concede to non-belief in Allah," he said.

Asked why he would not surrender to the authorities given the number of deaths on the side of his group, Yusuf said, "I will not give myself up, if Allah wishes, they will arrest me, if Allah does not wish, they will never arrest me. But I will never give up myself, not after 37 of my followers are killed in Bauchi. Is it right to kill them, is it right to shoot human beings? To surrender myself means what they did is right. Therefore, we are ready to fight to die."

He added: "The end of this crisis is, Kafirci and the kind of harassment my people are facing must stop. Democracy and the current system of education must be changed otherwise this war that is yet to start would continue for long."

Reminded that even during the time of the Prophet of Islam, Muslims and non-Muslims co-existed peacefully, he said, "Kafirci was never imposed on the Prophet, he came and met it and gradually turned it into an Islamic state but our land was an Islamic state (Borno) before the colonial masters turned it to a kafir land. The current system is contrary to true Islamic beliefs."

He added: "When they shot 18, they promised to do more and now you have over 70 that have received gunshots both dead and alive. Therefore, if we give ourselves up or they get us or me sure, they will kill me. We will not hear anyone. It is not with our strength that we will confront the authorities but with the help of Allah.

"What I want to tell the general public especially Muslims is, turn to Allah, pray and remain patient. Everyone must worship Him, this is the promise the Prophet undertook on our behalf before coming to this earth. We don't have any quarrel with the public, only the authorities, unless the general public supports the authorities."