This is how 10,000 hunters intend to defeat Boko Haram
10,000 hunters armed with charms and 'Juju' are getting ready to storm Sambisa forest and finish Boko Haram.
However, the sect is still capable of detonating bombs in communities, kidnapping kids or attacking motorists.
In a nutshell, the sect is still here or is still capable of terrorising the state on a large scale.
Boko Haram continues to create a humanitarian crisis across the north of Nigeria, with millions displaced from their homes in ten years.
Now, thousands of Nigerian hunters, armed with charmed amulets and intimate knowledge of harsh terrain, are preparing an offensive against the Boko Haram extremists who have ravaged the northeast for a decade.
These hunters say it’s “high time” they help soldiers end the deadly insurgency, according to an AP report.
Backing of the government
It is not the first time local hunters have volunteered to have a go at the terrorists. However, this time, the Borno state government is backing them to the hilt.
According to the AP story, Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, says he is tired of applying conventional strategies against an extremist group that has killed and abducted tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.
The governor has approved the sourcing of at least 10,000 hunters to help end the fighting and annihilate Boko Haram as we have come to know it.
The governor’s spokesperson, Isa Gusau, says the government will “aggressively explore every lawful means necessary in trying to put an end to the insurgency.”
He also says the state government is holding consultations with key stakeholders, including elders and traditional rulers concerning the Boko Haram war.
“We need all the prayers we can get, given the task ahead,” Gusau is quoted as saying.
Intimate knowledge of Boko Haram
The hunters are separate from the civilian joint task force who have sprung up in northeastern Nigeria to combat the Boko Haram insurgency in cahoots with regional armies.
The local hunters are seen as the only group with intimate knowledge of the forests and other terrain in the vast region near Lake Chad. They also see their charms and amulets as protection from attack.
According to the AP, about 2,000 hunters have been waiting ahead of their march into the Sambisa forest and other Boko Haram hideouts.
More than 5,000 local hunters are being mobilized from Nigeria and regional countries including Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, says Baba Maigiwa, leader of the hunters.
“The majority of our men have returned to their various states and communities to go and bid their families farewell but are on their way back to the Borno capital Maiduguri," says another leader, Abdulkareem Umar.
“We are here because the governor is passionate about ending this madness called Boko Haram,” he adds.
“I remember about five years ago when we, on our own, converged here in Maiduguri with the intention of storming Sambisa forest to confront Boko Haram, but we did not get the backing of the government and the military. As law-abiding citizens, we had to withdraw. But as this is happening now, it means it is time.”
The hunters have received 10 vehicles from the state government to help with transportation, but say they need 30 more, along with weapons.
“We have also made it clear to the authorities that the difference between the soldiers and the hunters is the military training and our knowledge of the jungle,” says Umar.
“But what unites us both is armament. So we need arms and ammunition, just like the soldiers. When that is done, the rest would be history, by the grace of God.”
Umar discloses that the hunters are being fed by the Borno state government as they wait for the offensive. Food and water have been deployed to various locations that can be used as forward operating bases.
“We are so happy with the move the state governor is making by recognizing the contributions that the hunters can bring into the counterinsurgency war,” says another hunters’ chief, Maigana Maidurma. “We are ready to lay down our lives if that is what it would take to bring peace to our dear land.”
A younger hunter, 32-year-old Auwal Unar, called the upcoming offensive “a war to safeguard our future and the safety of our women and children.”
He says the hunters believe in the potency of the charms they will carry into battle.
“We don’t fear guns but fear only God,” he says. “When we roar in the jungle, even the lions fear because our fathers have tapped the secret of the forests, so Boko Haram will have no hiding place. They will have no choice than to surrender, or they die if they dare stand in our way.”
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