Falmata Abubakar the mother of Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, granted her first media interview to VOA, saying she has not seen her son in 15 years.
The interview took placein the village of Shekau, Yobe state. The report published by VOA revealed that Mr Shekau’s late father was the Imam of the village Mosque before his death.
Ms Abubakar said she had no idea where her son was or his situation. “I don’t know whether he is dead or alive, only God knows, I have not seen him in the last 15 years,” she said.
She said Mr Shekau left the village for Maiduguri, the Borno state capital as a young boy in search of Islamic knowledge. She said he was an “almajiri boy” who walks around the streets of Maiduguri looking for food.
She said it was in the course of seeking Islamic knowledge that her son came into contact with the founder of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf. She said the late Boko Haram leader was the one who indoctrinated her son.
“I did not set my eyes on him since he came into contact with Mohammed Yusuf,” she said. “I know he is my son, and everyone knows a mother’s love for her son, but our attitude to life is different,” she said.
She also said “He has put so many people in serious difficulty, I pray that God guides him right”. Ms Falmata said she will not curse his son, saying “he has chosen a path different from the one we put him on, only God knows what he has become now”.
Mr Shekau took leadership of the group after the death of its founder, Mr Yusuf, who was killed in police custody.