Boko Haram Losing Grip And Territories
Deserter reveals how leadership vacuum, internal squabble, hunger, desertion by members made Adamawa military exploit possible
Indications abound that the Nigerian troops are getting upper hand against the Boko Haram sect, following the continued noticeable frictions existing among members of the gang and lack of clear, respectable chain of command hitherto existing before the killing of its leader, Abubakar Shekau, a source told Saturday Sun.
Saturday Sun authoritatively gathered that recent breakthroughs by the Nigerian troops is also informed by the demise of a prominent leader of the insurgents, after the death of Abubakar Shekau at Konduga in Borno State. It is suggested that the weakening of the sect also results from power tussle amongst those who are jostling to lead the gang. The development, which our sources said, has led to internecine squabble even among the rank and file in the Boko Haram camp.
It will be recalled that, as a result of the friction, which culminated in the fierce battle within their ranks and the death of over 30 insurgents in the process, succession palaver, is also said to have informed the new development. In the circumstances, it would seem that things have begun to fall apart with the terror group.
Coupled with all that is the apparent disenchantment by those that were forcefully recruited. For example, there were hundreds that were recruited in Michika and Madagali localities of Adamawa State. According to one of them who deserted the group recently, they were mostly natives who were used by the insurgents to identify houses of prominent figures in government in the two localities and their environs.
Some of the indigenes, who were rescued from captivity during an interaction with Saturday Sun, maintained that the recent military breakthroughs were made possible because the cohesion that once existed within the group has begun to weaken and, therefore, the centre is beginning to bottom out.
The recruited natives, who claimed that they were hypnotized by the insurgents toward assisting in dishing out vital information, took the advantage of these recent breakthroughs of the troops to escape to Mubi and Yola, the state capital.
Aliu Dauda, one of those that escaped, relayed his experience in the camp to Saturday Sun. He said that many of them that were recruited were did not join on their volition. According to him, they hypnotized, using certain liquid substances.
“Most youths in Michika were forcefully recruited to join the gang, first as subsidiary staff. Failure to do their bidding attracted lashes or being shot in the leg or confined in an underground detention camp.
“We served as informants and any attempt to give out false information will be punished severely. The fact remains that we were placed under a spell, which made it possible for us to obey them. We discovered that we were doing everything they told us without complaints.
“I thank God that I survived and now in the midst of our kinsmen who have helped us to recover from the after effect of our abduction,” Dauda enthused.
Adding, he said: “Those that forcefully recruited us do not have human feelings. While we were in their midst, we could not resist whatever they told us because a liquid substance was given to us.”
When asked how he was able to escape, he said that, “first and foremost, there were disagreement and disenchantment between the rank and file of the gang and our supposed leaders. Those of us that were newly recruited five months ago, had to escape when it was apparent that Nigerian troops were having an edge over the Boko Haram sect.
“At the stage we were, we weren’t given arms and ammunitions but rather our assignments were to give out information and identify locations and targets for destruction. We had not graduated to that stage; those recruited in Konduga and Gwoza were our seniors in the business of killing. We that were forcefully recruited in Gulak, Madagali and Michika, were considered not mature or trained to handle weapons or take charge of ammunition.”
Dauda disclosed to Saturday Sun that hunger and starvation in the camp of the gang immensely contributed to the breakthroughs recorded by the Nigerian side. “As a result of hunger and starvation, the gang allowed the newly recruited to search everywhere for food. We were given this assignment because we are familiar with the localities. We had no choice but to break into people’s houses who are our kinsmen to get raw food. Besides, houses of prominent persons in Michika were taken over by the sect.”
Army recovers more towns, arms and ammunition
In recent times, Nigerian troops’ successes over the insurgents have reverberated, especially with the capture of two armoured tanks belonging to the sect. Apart from serious casualty figures recorded by the group, the Nigerian military has also captured a massive armoury with arms and ammunitions belonging to the fleeing terrorists.
“The large quantities of weapons recovered in the raid are still being evacuated from the scene of the night raid where several terrorists died,” Major General Chris Olukolade, the defence spokesman said recently. He added: “Similar operations took place in coordination with the troops of Multinational Joint Task Force in the raids in other camps located on the outskirts of Duguri, Polkime, Malafatori and other locations around the fringes of Lake Chad.”
He also revealed that substantial amounts of “money in different currencies and denominations were recovered from the camps, while a total of seven terrorists were captured in the operation.”
The statement also gave an update on the foiled attack on Giwa Barrack in Maiduguri, Olukolade had said: “Troops conducting cordon and search for remnants of the daring terrorists who attacked Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri, had an encounter with some of the surviving terrorists in the general area of Kayamla and Alu Dam on the outskirts of Maiduguri this morning. More of the terrorists have been killed and arrested in the ongoing encounters.
He added that more bodies of fleeing terrorists had been discovered along the routes of their escape. Troops’ morale and fighting spirit have been further boosted by the outcome of the operations so far, he said, adding that cordon-and-search as well as patrols and pursuit by air and land were continuing in the entire mission area of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
Meanwhile, West African leaders have planned to establish a multi-national force to counter the Boko Haram Takfiri militants operating in the region. The decision was taken on Tuesday during a summit attended by the presidents of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Benin and the foreign minister of Cameroon in Niger’s capital, Niamey. Nigerien president, Mahamadou Issoufou, reportedly said after the meeting, that the establishment of headquarters for the multi-national force will be “accelerated to make it operational before the end of November.” Battalions will be deployed to “our respective borders” in the same time frame, Issoufou had added.