Boko Haram con­script youths in Borno vil­lages, kill 4

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Hamza Idris, Maiduguri

Boko Haram in­sur­gents are force­fully re­cruit­ing young men from Borno vil­lages to fight for them, Daily Trust learnt yes­ter­day.

This came in the wake of Wed­nes­day’s killing of four youths in Yasku vil­lage close to Ala­garno, known to be a breed­ing ground for Boko Haram fighters lo­cated south of Jakana in Kaga LGA of Borno State.

It is not yet clear if the four were killed be­cause they re­fused to join the ter­ror­ists or for other rea­sons, but our cor­re­spon­dent learnt that they were killed around 2pm Wed­nes­day.

“Some time ago, the in­sur­gents took some of our chil­dren by force and left. This time, they came and there was no provo­ca­tion in what­ever form. The gun­men sim­ply went to Yasku and shot dead the four harm­less people. They also warned the lo­cals not to bury the corpses. As I talk to you, the bod­ies are still there,” a res­i­dent said yes­ter­day.

It was gath­ered that ear­lier on Sun­day, lo­cals in Jakana dis­cov­ered an im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice buried near the vil­lage and quickly alerted mil­i­tary op­er­a­tives. The po­lice bomb squad later went to the area to neu­tralise it.

“It was an ex­plo­sive that can only be det­o­nated by ve­hi­cle run­ning over it, it was meant to kill se­cu­rity op­er­a­tives on rou­tine pa­trol be­cause there was a sim­i­lar one some weeks ago that killed in­no­cent vil­lagers,” a se­cu­rity source said.

Res­i­dents of Auno, Jakana, Mainok, Ben­isheik and other vil­lages said in the past three weeks, Boko Haram in­sur­gents have stepped up vi­o­lent cam­paigns and force­ful re­cruit­ment of young men.

“I think they are des­per­ately look­ing for mem­bers and their at­ti­tude is af­fect­ing the psy­chol­ogy of people,” a com­mu­nity leader in Jakana said. He added that many youths have been in­doc­tri­nated by the Boko Haram.

“They have a way of chang­ing the think­ing and dis­po­si­tion of any­one they catch. On many oc­ca­sions, our chil­dren that were force­fully re­cruited have turned their backs against us and taken part in at­tack­ing our vil­lages,” he said. He did not give the ac­tual num­ber of those picked but said the process is con­tin­u­ing. A cleric in Mainok also said many of their chil­dren had been taken away.

“A dis­turb­ing trend is the force­ful re­cruit­ment of men un­der the age of 40. The in­sur­gents warned chil­dren here to seek knowl­edge from Qu­ran only and not to read any other book. They also warned them not to go to farm...this is hap­pen­ing in all vil­lages around”, he said.

“The ter­ror­ists are los­ing ground se­ri­ously in terms of man­power, which is why they are pick­ing youths by force. They did a sim­i­lar thing around Marte, Mal­lam Fa­tori and other lo­ca­tions in north­ern Borno,” a se­cu­rity source said. Ac­cord­ing to him, the cam­paign will not last long be­cause they are be­ing tracked. “Our only con­straint is that some vil­lagers are not forth­com­ing with in­for­ma­tion on the where­abouts of the ter­ror­ists who nor­mally take cover in the midst of civil­ians in ham­lets”, he added.

PHOTO: SHEHU K. GORO

From left: Emir of Lere, Al­haji Garba Mo­ha­hammed; District Head of Mak­era, Ibrahim Yusuf; and rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Kaduna branch con­troller of CBN, Mr. Ab­dul-Ra­haman Garba, dur­ing the clos­ing cer­e­mony of stake­hold­ers fo­rum on CBN’s sen­si­ti­sa­tion for the cash-less pol­icy in Kaduna yes­ter­day.

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