23 April, 2014

YOUNG Nigeriens at the border town of Nigeria and Niger Republic, Diffa, have confessed to be recruits of the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram.A member of a gang in Niger told the
British Broadcasting Corporation(BBC)
that Boko Haram Islamist militants from Nigeria “regularly come across the border, looking for recruits.”

The gang members, in their 20s, said
they were paid $3,085 (about N500,000)to join the insurgency and since they were jobless,they were willing to take the cash, but with no interest in
protecting Sharia law. However, they said they were willing to strike if given the assignment to do so,as they blamed their decision to join the
militant group on their joblessness.

“They have paid Nigerian naira ($3,085,£1,835) to those of us who followed them over there,” one of the young men said. “When they come,we inform them about what’s going on, what the security forces are up to.“We have no jobs; some of us are still at high school, but we need money.
Violence has become a form of work for us.”

These confessions were revealed in a
documentary published by the BBC, on
Tuesday, after Thomas Fessy, a BBC
reporter visited Diffa region in Niger
Republic. BBC made contacts with this local gang, who claimed they collaborated with Boko Haram and agreed.

According to BBC documentary, five of
these young Nigeriens said they had
already joined the militant Boko Haram sect,while two other members were killed in operations. In total there are about a dozen gang members in a tiny, dark room, built with local mud-bricks.

When the reporter asked them: “If you are asked to launch an attack here, will you be ready to do that?” Their response: “Yes, we are ready.We
have no job, so, we are ready. That is
what we are here for.” When the BBC reporter asked if they agreed with Boko Haram’s reason for fighting, they answered in unison: “No. We only do it for the money.”

Arriving one by one to meet the BBC crew earlier on a street corner in Diffa,they all wore skinny jeans, bright coloured T-shirts and shiny chains, like those seen around the necks of American rappers on music videos. Their attitude and brand new clothes
made them stand out when they walked down the dusty streets of Diffa. The fashion style is clearly inspired by Western consumerism rather than Islamist militancy.

“We break into houses for cash;
sometimes we beat people for money, we steal their animals so we can eat and then we gather up and take Tramol (an opiate drug), smoke ganja (marijuana) and drink alcohol,” one of the gang members said.

The BBC reporter, giving an account of his experience at the border town, said: “At the Sahara, there is little space to take for cover from the storm at the village, as the first attack by Boko Haram by its militants meant deadly worst times for them to live in the border and the river between Niger and Nigeria.” He said on either side of the border,people had enjoyed strong links for centuries, sharing ethnicity and culture.

The report said Nigeria’s neighbouring countries, Niger, Cameroon and Chad,were fearful that the group’s insurgency might spill over to their borders. A resident told the BBC that the area was just three kilometres away from Nigeria,expressing his belief that the border
would keep them safe for now.

On Lake Chad, according to the
documentary, Nigerians were fleeing by boats, as the reporter quoting from a United Nations (UN) report, said the UN estimates that 500 people crossed into Niger from Nigeria every week.

One of the refugees, Mutala Suleiman, who arrived last month with his two wives and six children, narrating his story, said: “We were almost going to
bed that night when we heard the
gunshot.” We ran to escape. A little girl was shot as she fled the burning house.” He said he counted 50 dead people on the streets during the last attack.

The Diffa area, according to the BBC reporter,was suffering from growing refugee crisis without camps and the authorities argued they could become new targets or worse, recruitment centres for Boko Haram. He stated in the documentary that “Boko Haram insurgents have shown they can hit the Nigerian state in different ways.
While raiding villages, attacking schools and abducting children. To check against possible attack, the
threat, according to the report, means
daily patrol across the borders and
several attacks have been foiled over the last months, while dozens of men
suspected to be linked with Boko Haram had been arrested.

“We know that Boko Haram members
come across the border, but we are
watching them closely,” Diffa
government representative Inoussa
Saouna said. “Just last December, we arrested two dozens of men — we believe they were planning to kidnap the regional governor, the military zone commander and myself,” he added.

Military police, customs officers, as well as national guards conduct daily patrols along the porous border to mitigate the threat.

The border town

On paper, the border is supposed to be secured by joint patrols with soldiers from both countries.However, they are yet to start. Niger’s security forces are receiving training, logistics and intelligence support from both the United States and France.

Most of the border between Niger and
Nigeria is naturally drawn by the
Komadougou Yobe River. On either side of it, people have enjoyed strong links for centuries, sharing ethnicity, culture and living off the cross-border trade.

At the Bosso border point,many people cross on foot through water knee-high as the river is at its lowest level in the hottest month of the year. It allows motorbikes and cars to drive
through easily too. Most cars showing Nigerian number plates come from Borno State bearing the slogan “Home of peace”.

The UN refugee agency said more than 50,000 people had now crossed into Niger, fleeing the relentless violence. The many lake islands are now home to thousands and a lot of people, like Mourtalla Souleymane, have made it to the trading post of Krikri on Niger’s shore.

But how many more people can one of
the poorest countries in the world take in? Borno State has a population of five million 10 times more than Niger’s Diffa region. The UN refugee agency said it would try to build new homes and expand existing neighbourhoods rather than setting up camps.

In a report published this month, the
Brussels-based think-tank International Crisis Group noted that Boko Haram has “resorted to forced conscription and recruiting criminals and thugs, paying them for attacks.”


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. buchi says:

    classical there you have it absolutely no ideology at all just a bunch of criminals.i dont know what it would take the nigerian govt to take the israelie approach to this. How much would it take to construct a large double reinforced fence from border towns surrounding central and northern nigeria even if it is barbed complete with small sized FOBs high survey racks and with a proper supply route and an even space of at least 3miles.we could conduct monthly cycling of our troops in this areas to avoid extreme familiarity we then would now site the immigration offices nearer to this wall with the troops as cover for them.think of it before any of the BH boys can scale this fence,cut or try to blow it ,how would the response be then.(i stand corrected)

    • doziex says:

      Oga buchi, We could look to india and isreal, for some of their counter infiltration tactics.

      India’s experience in Kashmir , would be a treasure trove for Nigerian counterinsurgency soldiers.
      Funny we are training with Pakistan instead.

  2. buchi says:

    oga doziex your assessment is totally correct however training with pakistan isnt such a bad idea considering the fact that they have a robust military industry we can tap into and the fact thaty they are fighting BH big brother the taliban.they have almost the same problems that we have hence,a synergy can create an avenue for us to learn to and fro from each other.but i know that MOSSAD is training Our DSS and SSS personnel and the army DIA have attended course there in isreal.but more solutions are needed.pls oga beez and doziex what is the status of our air defense capability and the partnership for the JF-17 from pak.

  3. peccavi says:

    Oga’s them never begin build correct fence around air bases or barracks, na border they wan begin build fence.
    there are other ways to solve this problem, a combined stabilisation/ hard knock approach will solve this problem.
    i.e start doing little little projects, tree planting against desertification, irrigation ditches etc, paying the boys N500 or whatever a day. At the same time use aggressive patrols and targeted strike ops against the gangs. when the boys are facing the option of small, but easy money doing relatively safe work or big money where you have a bigger chance of being killed, quote a few will choose the safe route.
    Their friends who do not will target them, if it was me I’d keep them all in one camp thus giving the security forces a chance to destroy the insurgents when they try to attack their former comrades.
    It is a classic COIN/ Stabilisation/ Influence environment

  4. drag_on says:

    Military suggests herdsmen in Taraba are bokoharam.

    It has emerged that groups of alleged herdsmen or gangs operating in the middle belt states of Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and even those that recently killed scores of people in Zamfara state, are Boko Haram sect members.
    This development came to light following the confessions of some arrested Fulani herdsmen that took part in the killings and burning of houses in Wukari, Taraba state, they disclosed to security forces that they took part in many Boko Haram attacks.
    A statement signed by the Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade confirmed the development saying “A group of terrorists operating under the guise of herdsmen from a camp in the outskirt of Wukari have been arrested, while others died after an attack on military check point at Gindin Dorowa, a suburb of Wukari in Taraba State”.

    more info is at the vanguard website.

  5. Are James says:

    This is quite a revelation. Someone else had suggested on tis blog that the ‘herdsmen’ and BH were from the same gene pool of radicalised northern youth and could actually be working together and some of us asked for proof. There you have it.

  6. asorockweb says:


    it’s hard to believe ALL BH members were bought for US$3000.00 each.

    I say bought because I am pretty sure it’s a onetime payment – once you are in, you are in.

    So, the day BH lost 700 men in Sambisia, I guess they lost US$2.1million?

    the article says
    “Most of the border between Niger and Nigeria is naturally drawn by the Komadougou Yobe River”

    In reality, only a small portion of the border between Niger and Nigeria is drawn by the said river which flows into Lake Chad.

  7. Are James says:

    “It’s the cash we want, we have no interest in defending Shari law”
    “We have no jobs, so if we are called upon we will fight for Boko Haram”

    • Bigbrovar says:

      I don’t know why I take this report with a grain of salt. The maths just doesn’t make sense at all. Unfortunately this news is just like one HUGE recruitment Ad for the group. I can imagine lots of criminals in the south already mouth watery with this news wondering how they too can join in the largess. I think the figure BH pays is considerably lower.
      Oga peccavi knows the way of it. The british army used this combined stabilisation/ hard knock approach in Basra Iraq and it was highly effective. Working with tribal leaders and helping them to solve basic problems like water and sanitation went a long way to ensure relative peace in Basra and build trust between the local community and the occupying force. Unfortunately this level of thinking is way beyond the metal capacity of our leaders

  8. drag_on says:

    Herdsmen fleeing Taraba enter cameroon killing 20.About 20 people were killed and thousands vacated their homesteads in Cameroonian villages sharing border with Nigeria as heavily armed gunmen, believed to be cattle ranchers, Tuesday, had a face-off with farmers of the Franco-phone country.

    Voice of America (VOA) Thursday cited eyewitnesses narrating that hundreds of Fulani herdsmen fleeing conflicts in Nigeria’s Taraba and Benue states turned belligerent when Cameroon village farmers asked to leave the area.

    The villages affected include Efung, Afu, Gayama and Mayi, situated about 20 kilometers from the nearest military post.

  9. ugobassey says:

    This coming from the Cameroonian government: It seems to me Ogas that there are many Trojan horses in this house called Nigeria.

    • asorockweb says:

      The usual compendium of rumors, allegations, politics, truths, half-truths, and lies.

      I believe it’s the same “StrategyPage” that wrote about how BH fighters are well paid, well looked after, and even have a pension plan.

      “StrategyPage” is just after page-views and the dollars it translates into.

      All these stories about how awesome it is to be a BH fighter is just nonsense.

    • asorockweb says:

      Food for thought – the title of the StrategyPage article is “Nigeria: Sexy Beasts”

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