Falmata Abubakar, the mother of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, has said she recognizes that her son has “brought problem to many people” but she still loves him just as every mother does her son.
Speaking with the Voice of Africa (VOA) in the village of Shekau, Yobe State, Falmata said she hadn’t seen Shekau for 15 years, and wondered where she could find him to convince him to change his ways.
“I don’t know if he’s alive or dead. I don’t know,” she said adding that “It’s only God who knows. For 15 years I haven’t seen him. Since Shekau met with Mohammed Yusuf, I didn’t see him again.”
According to Falmata, Shekau left the village as a boy to continue his Islamic education in Maiduguri, a centre of religious studies for hundreds of years.
Shekau was an almajiri. In the generations-old tradition, almajirai are sent off by their parents to study the Quran in schools locally known as a tsangaya, where a teacher coaches the dozens, sometimes hundreds, of male students to memorize the entire Quran.
Almajirai beg on the streets for food, and it is believed that Shekau did the same. At some point in his studies, Shekau, according to his mother, met Mohammed Yusuf, the founder of Boko Haram, who condemned Western education as sinful. Falmata says her son was brainwashed.
“I am praying for God to show him the good way,” she told the broadcaster.
Falmata Abubakar added:
“Yes, he’s my son and every mother loves her son, but we have different characters. He brought a lot of problem to many people.”
“He just took his own character and went away. This is not the character I gave him. I don’t know what this type of behavior is. It’s only God who knows.”
“Where can I meet him to tell him that these things he is doing is very bad?”
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