With about ten days after the Boko Haram fighters occupied Baga, Doron-Baga, Kross Kauwa, Bunduran, Kekeno and Kukawa areas of Borno state, the insurgents have commenced the process of recruiting youths of the affected communities into their group, Blueprint has reliably gathered.
The revelation is coming as residents of the communities fled to Monguno, a town currently under the joint watch of the Mobile Police Corps, Civilian Joint Task Force and the Vigilante Group.
And to give the residents some level of confidence amidst glaring security risk, Governor Kashim Shettima visited Monguno at the weekend, passing a night (Friday through Saturday) there in the town.
Unlike some others, the troops were able to contain and repel the incursion of the hoodlums when they attempted breaking into Monguno last week.
Though the insurgents failed in their bid, the residents, nonetheless, fled the town with some of them heading for Maiduguri to seek refuge.
Upon the governor’s visit, however, the residents returned to their various abodes and business centres, with life and economic activities picking up.
Insurgents seek youths’ recruitment
As a way of firming up the group’s membership and fighting force, the Boko Haram elements in the captured areas of Baga, Doron-Baga and others, our findings revealed, have started speaking with youths in the areas to come and join them.
One of the Baga youths who arrived Monguno, told our correspondent that he had to flee the town after turning down a gesture from the insurgents to join their group.
The source, who craved anonymity said: “I had to leave Baga when the insurgents approached me as they do to youths in our town, to come and join them. Though I was not compelled to come on board, but I rejected the invitation. And following my rejection, they asked that I should leave the environment completely and never return to the area again.
“I never believed they could let me go when I turned down the offer, giving the many things we have always heard about them and their activities. That is their approach to the youths who stayed back in all the places they presently occupy. I chose to trek to Baga for between one and two days, just to save my life.”
Continuing, the middle aged man, who has a swollen leg following the long trek, further said, “contrary to the fear we had expressed when they came in last week, the insurgents are living peacefully with the natives, and even patronise those who stayed back operating their businesses.”
And to boost the confidence of the over 57,000 residents, the Internally Displaced Persons and other stakeholders, Governor Shettima, on Friday spent the night in Monguno town. Monguno which is the headquarters of Monguno local government area is located in Northern Borno, and it is about 60 kilometers away from Baga in Kukawa local government, also within the same jurisdiction.
The governor, who arrived the town in the afternoon, spent the night at the local government lodge.
He embarked on the journey despite frantic efforts and advice by aides and political associates to discourage him from doing so.
The governor travelled in company of his security aides, heavily armed soldiers, policemen and men of the civilian JTF, and accompanied on the trip by the Senator representing Borno North, and Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence in the National Assembly, Abubakar Kyari as well as the All Progressives Congress’ governorship candidate, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum amongst others.
“I will be failing as a leader if fear of any kind, stops me from going to Monguno where we currently have 57,000 fellow people of Borno, amongst them women and children.
“We must go there to show them sense of belonging, to inspire them and build their confidence. Importantly also, the military needs us more than ever. They should see us, the leaders and feel our presence. There is no going back in my plan to travel and pass the night in Monguno.
“The same way we went to Gwoza and Chibok at different times and at the worst stage of the insurgency, for the funeral of the assassinated Emir of Gwoza and to meet parents after the Chibok abduction, is the same way we will go to Monguno. God will protect us,” Shettima had courageously told some aides ahead the visit.
…Gives relief materials to residents
During the visit, Governor Shettima supervised the distribution of multiple trailer loads of food and non-food items to residents and displaced persons from Marte and Abadam local government areas living within host communities in Monguno.
Besides, he also visited camps and supervised another distribution of food and non-food items to fleeing residents from Baga and Kross Kawwa, both in neighbouring Kukawa local government area.
While commiserating with the people of Baga, Kukawa towns, and environs over the recent Boko Haram attacks in the areas, he assured them of government’s determination to address the condemnable and unfortunate act.
Governor Shettima sympathised with the victims, and took his time to address them at their various camps.
He assured the community of further support from the government to alleviate their suffering, and do everything possible to address the problem.
The governor also visited the military at King Nasara Barracks also in Monguno, held closed-door meetings with top military commanders to boost their morale, and commended them for their gallantry in the service to their fatherland.
Blueprint reports that the governor, on his way back to Maiduguri, stopped at Gajiram, the headquarters of Nganzai local government to inspect Mega Primary Schools, Housing Estate, and a General Hospital, all being constructed by his administration.
He proceeded to Gajiganna town in Magumeri Local Government to also inspect another mega primary school nearing completion in Gajiganna, Nganzai and Magumeri, all part of northern part of the state.
Troops neutralise 6 terrorists
Meanwhile, the troops of 112 Task Force Battalion, 22 Brigade of Operation LAFIYA DOLE and members of the CJTF, has neutralised six terrorists during a fighting along Gawa and Boskoro villages in Mafa local government area of Borno state.
According to a statement by army spokesperson, Brigadier-General Sani Kukasheka Usman, the troops also discovered and destroyed Boko Haram terrorists’ hideout in the area, during the patrols on Thursday, 3rd January, 2019.
He said: “During the search on the hideout before destruction, the troops recovered 3 pieces of 36 hand grenade, 4 Dane guns, and 26 rounds of Anti-Aircraft ammunition.
“They also recovered 3 Gas Cylinders and a set of Bow and Arrows. The gallant patrol team also rescued 3 women at Boskoro who were later handed over to the Internally Displaced Persons camp officials at Dikwa.
“Impressed by their performance, the Theatre Commander, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Major -General B.A Akinroluyo commended the troops. The commendation was relayed to them by the Acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division and Commander Sector 1, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Brigadier-General Bulama Biu.
“He further enjoined them to be more daring and clear any suspected Boko Haram terrorists hideout.”