Armed ViolenceNews

Evangelist Abducted By Boko Haram, Turned Fighter, Killed Protecting Shekau

HumAngle had learnt from reliable sources that Abraham, who refused to be freed after his ransom was made available by the church in 2020, fell to an ISWAP bullet, protecting Shekau, moments before Shekau was killed.

Abraham Amuta, a former member of Nigeria’s youth trainee programme and Boko Haram convert, was killed by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) insurgents during last year’s battle to topple Abubakar Shekau and occupy Sambisa forest. 

Abraham, later known as Ibrahim, was killed alongside some bodyguards and diehard loyalists putting up a resistance against ISWAP, a rival terror group that invaded Sambisa to end the brutal rule of Abubakar Shekau, according to a source familiar with the circumstances surrounding his death. 

He had joined the violent extremist group after his abduction in April 2019 and subsequent refusal to return with the negotiating team comprising state officials and Kaltum Foundation, a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) known for facilitating ransom payments to free abductees. 

Abraham was a serving member of the National Youth Service Corps, a mandatory one year programme for Nigerian graduates under the age of 30 when he was abducted alongside Moses Oyeleke, a pastor with the Living Faith Church in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. Both men were travelling to Chibok in southern Borno.

The negotiation process for release almost a year after his abduction met a brick wall as Abraham declined to leave his captors. In a video recording during the final phase, armed insurgents were seen flanking the team and captives as Abraham was heard speaking on his experience. He expressed gratitude for the efforts to free him and stressed his desire to stay back. 

Screenshot of Abraham and another captive that was later released during the final negotiations.

Ummu Kalthum Mohammed, who led the negotiations, informed Daily Trust the journey to secure his release began in Feb. 2020, which led the mediators to meet Abraham Amuta and another captive, Stella Ibrahim, in Sambisa.

Abraham was heard in the video released by the mediators saying, “I am sorry, I have changed my mind. I am not going with you people. I have converted to Islam.” 

The team returned with Stella while his counterpart had regained his freedom much earlier in Nov. 2019. 

HumAngle learnt after returning to Sambisa, Abraham was embraced by Shekau and kept in the late leader’s Markaz (camp) and assigned by Shekau to serve in the media division of the group in – charge of translation.

Close shot of Abraham with a belt-fed machine gun.

In his media role, Abraham appeared in several propaganda media of the group masked in an Arabian Scarf.  He also appeared in the video of a crashed Nigerian fighter jet wearing combat fatigue and standing on the aircraft’s debris holding a belt-fed machine gun and speaking both in Arabic and English.


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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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