SaharaReporters has exclusively obtained evidence that a man who was widely portrayed as a captured Boko Haram fighter disguised as a woman is a Nigerian soldier.
Several months ago, as associates of former President Goodluck Jonathan pushed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the 2015 general elections, a video was released of an alleged Islamist terrorist caught in a woman’s dress. However, a video obtained by our correspondent revealed that the man presented to the Nigerian public as a Boko Haram insurgent is an enlisted Nigerian soldier serving at the time as a member of a multinational military task force operating in Nigeria’s northeast.
In making a case for postponing the presidential election that had been scheduled for February 14, 2015, Mr. Jonathan’s National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), had claimed that Nigeria needed to launch an offensive to dislodge Boko Haram from the northeast and end insurgency.
Shortly before and after the elections were postponed, Nigerian troops ramped up the fight against Boko Haram, liberating areas hitherto captured by the insurgents.
The troops released photos of weapons it claimed to have seized from the insurgents. However, some of the photos bore timestamps indicating the shots were taken as far back as 2011.
In an intriguing twist just uncovered by our correspondent, the remarkable photo and account of a man disguised as a woman has been exposed as a ruse as well. The military had claimed that the man was an insurgent captured after a fierce operation led by the Nigerian Air Force.
But a 10-minute video clip of the man’s interrogation showed the man clearly revealing that he was a soldier. During what appeared to be a debriefing session with an officer who was taking notes, the man explained that he had been in hiding after Boko Haram fighters overran his military post. He had been in hiding until Nigerian soldiers and Air Force liberated his hideout.
Although the unnamed soldier wore women clothes, he also had his army uniform on his lap during the interrogation. Throughout the interrogation, the man spoke in pidgin English. He told his interrogators about the might of Boko Haram fighters and described how members of the sect moved their families from the scene of a recent bombing. At a point he expressed surprise that, despite the movement of Boko Haram fighters in long convoys, the insurgents were never subjected to aerial bombardment by Air Force jets.
The soldier appeared to plead with the senior officer debriefing him at the end of the video, which had apparently been edited for clarity and brevity.
SaharaReporters was unable to reach any senior military officer to explain why the soldier was presented to the public as a Boko Haram member.