1,000 IDPs Treated By Nigerian Airforce Medical Team In Gwoza.

The Nigerian Air Force has given free medicare to 1,000 returning Internally Displaced Persons, in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno state.

The beneficiaries were housed in the Wakani camp in Gwoza.

This is the first intervention by the Nigerian Air Force in Gwoza since it’s liberation.

However, there are over 50,000 Internally Displaced Persons living in Gwoza local government, dealing with one ailment or the other which is associated with poor hygiene and living condition in the camps.

The IDPS, mostly elderly people are happy with the efforts of the Air Force which supplements the overstretched resources of the MSF already operating in Gwoza.

The intervention dealt with issues that had to do with eye related problems, deworming of children, general checkup for nursing and pregnant mothers as well as distribution of free mosquito nets.

The Director Humanitarian Services of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Harold Onyechi says the outreach programme is continuous.


Source: Channels TV

How I was captured, forced to marry Boko Haram terrorist – Cameroonian

It was a few minutes after midday, and the sun was already blazing at the Dalori-1 camp for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

At this time of the day, usually, only the trees can provide the much-needed cool to wade off dehydration.

The displaced children had to shift their play from the burning grounds to the cool shades of the cascading Neem trees. So was the case for the elderly inmates who had to also move out of their tarpaulin shelters.

Young men were spotted in various locations chatting away; some had already dozed off, apparently helped by the coolness of the trees.

Some women, mostly mothers, were seen from time to time bending out of their make shift homes to check on the foodstuff they had spread to dry in the perfect sun.

Most of the young girls, especially those in their teens and early 20s, also had their different spots under the foliage or at the common hall built by officials of the camp. The girls, usually, at this time of the day, would be busy chatting away their boring time.

Some of them with knack for making money, legitimately, were seen busy knitting designs on native caps, which they would sell off to merchants.

Very naturally, the atmosphere around the girls’ spot was more exciting and attractive. The young females could be heard interjecting their gossips and chitchats with occasional laughter, and teases.


Boko Haram new
                                                                      Boko Haram

But Fati Salilhu, one of the young women in the camp, was not a party to the hilarity of the girls’ company.

A reporter sighted her sitting in a withdrawn mode under a Neem tree outside the camp tent she shares with other females. Her mind seemed to have travelled far away from the noisy happenings around her.

She was not looking shabby, despite being an IDP. Her slightly made up face had really done a great job at beaming up her natural beauty.  But it had not hidden the telltale of a young woman who had passed through difficult times.

She was 22 years old and mother of a deceased child.

Fati was one of the females rescued from the captivity of Boko Haram insurgents by soldiers of the Nigerian army about two years ago. Though she speaks flawless Hausa, a major language in northern Nigeria, Fati said she is not a Nigerian.

“I am from Cameroon”, she told reporters.

She was brought to the IDP camp about a year ago, after she was rescued from the captivity of Boko Haram insurgents who had snatched her and many other women from Kolofata in the Republic of Cameroon.

“I am from Mozogore village in Cameroon. I am the last child of the 9 kids from my mother”, she told reporters in Hausa, a major Nigerian language also spoken in northern part of Cameroon near the Nigerian border.

Fati, was abducted in Kolofata town of Cameroon on July 28, 2014. It was the very day the wife of a deputy minister in Cameroon, Ali Amodu, was abducted by Boko Haram.

While the deputy minister’s wife (now freed) was taken from her home, Fati said she was flocked away, alongside other women, into the jungle from a hospital in Kolofata where she was watching over her sick aged mother.

It was the last time she knew freedom.

“I was abducted when I took my sick mother to the hospital in Kolofata”, she said with sobered voice.

“Boko Haram fighters came in and abducted some other women and me”.

Coming out of a forced marriage, after she was forced to abandon her secondary school education midway because her parents could not afford her fees, Fati became a wife at the age of 19.

The road to captivity

Like many others, Fati said the road to Boko Haram’s captivity was harrowing.

“After they had forced us to follow them at gun point, we were taken for a long walk through the jungles of Buni Yadi (in Yobe State) where we were camped”, she recalled.

“After some days, soldiers came and we had to flee to another location, which name I could not recall. From there, we were taken to a place called Tumbuktu, where we spent about five weeks. The soldiers came again, and they had to move us to a place called Kafela and we were kept there for about 7 months.

Painful loss of child

When Boko Haram captured her, the Cameroonian girl was nursing a baby – the product of her failed marriage. It was with that baby girl strapped to her back that she was made to traverse the jungles, mostly on foot.

Fati said she lost the baby while they were being forced by the Boko Haram members to flee during an attack on their location by soldiers.

“I lost my baby when we had to run towards Izza village”, she said.

“The attack on our location was massive, and as we were running with the Boko Haram people, we all feared for our lives; so we ran through the thick bushes. My little daughter, who was strapped to my back, fell off and was badly injured. She eventually died. Some men amongst our abductors collected the child and buried her somewhere in a shallow grave; I was not given a chance to mourn her, we had to move on.

The rescue

After about a year under the captivity of Boko Haram, a miraculous rescue came to them when the Nigerian soldiers eventually raided Izza, one of the largest camps of the Boko Haram, located somewhere between Gwoza and Bama local government areas of Borno state.

“We did not stay long in Izza, when the soldiers arrived attacking from the sky and on ground”, she said.

“We kept on running towards Izza amidst bombardment from air force jets.  Many of us, including some Boko Haram members were killed. We made it to Izza, a big village where many abducted girls were kept but we did not stay there for long before the soldiers raided the place and rescued some of us.

“The soldiers took us to Bama, and from there we were taken to Giwa barracks. We spent about two months in Giwa barracks before they brought us here to stay in Dalori-1 IDP camp. Now I have spent about a year here in the camp.

Forced Marriage

Like most of the females taken into captivity, Fati had to become a wife to one of her abductors. A situation she had to accept, lest she suffered more torture or abuse by those who appropriated her liberty.

“I was forced to marry a Boko Haram member, named Abba Kaka. He said he was from Benishek town of Borno State. But the marriage lasted only two months because soldiers killed him.

“I was actually forced to marry him. In fact, the Boko Haram members threw me in jail for weeks when I refused to accept Abba Kaka’s hand in marriage”, she said.

Like many other girls, Fati said she was left with limited but cruel options. She just had to give in.

“We were made to undergo several punishments and torture when we were resisting to abide by their ways of doing things; they said we must accept their creed and belief that any other person that is not an adherent of Izalatul Ahlil sunna liddawati wal jihad (Boko Haram) is an infidel whose blood was legitimate to be shed.

“We were not hungry because there was food in abundance, but we had to live in a very difficult condition in which we sometimes found it difficult to change clothes or wash properly; some of us that menstruate would sometimes go without sanitary pads; we only used them if the Boko Haram fighters returned with loots and we were lucky to find such things like sanitary pads, and diapers for children.

“They kept telling us that they wanted to make us true Muslims, and there was no way they would allow us to see our infidel parents or relatives again.

“You know we were abducted at Kolofata, on the same night the wife of Cameroon minister, Ali Amodu, was kidnapped. And I could recall when the deputy minister’s wife, who was kept in different way from ours, was rescued after a shootout. They came to tell us that ‘your people in Cameroon are killing our members, so you too would not be freed; you would rather die in our custody’”.

“They said they would rather continue to move about in the bush with us, and that we too had to taste the bitterness of the pains they suffered each time their members were killed by soldiers in Nigeria and Cameroon. They kept threatening us daily; sometimes we cried and called for help; but they kept on telling us that crying was a waste of time. We went on like that for weeks and months until we became tired of crying. Yes, it was useless crying, so we decided to take our plight as our fate and began to live with it”.

Lonely and stranded in IDP camp

Unlike most of the rescued abductees who are Nigerians, Fati had not been able to link up with her family in Cameroon for over a year since her rescue.

“We were many that were abducted; but they split us up in the jungles and those of us that were brought to Dalori-1 IDP camp were four in number; they had all been joined with their families; it was only me that was left behind because I could not link up with my family in Cameroon”, she mourned.

“I have not heard from my parents, including my sick mother. I am not happy; each time I worried about leaving, I was told that it was not safe going to Cameroon”.


                                                                      Fati Salilhu

“Since my rescue and arrival to Maiduguri, I have been well taken care of by the Nigerian military and camp officials till date, we get enough medication, toiletries and apartment to lay our heads at night. But of late, things have begun to get difficult in terms of feeding. The foods are not enough; it hardly comes in square.”

Life after camp

For the first time during the interview, the Cameroonian girl’s eyes lit up when this reporter asked about her life before the abduction on July 28, 2014. She recalled her dream of being a working class lady. But she fears a future of stigma as a lady who had once been married to a “terrorist”.

“When I was a free girl back in our village in Cameroon, I used to sell soft drinks and cold water. I do not have much education; after my primary education, I enrolled into secondary school. But along the line, I had to drop out to get married on the orders of my parents who said they could no longer sustain my education.

“I wanted to be a government worker, just like some of my friends that were able to advance their studies and are now working as nurses; while some are currently employees of government. I wanted to be a nurse too.

“Even if I return home now, I have no concrete plans for the future, because I have no education to qualify me for employment. I have to embrace whatever God puts in my way. If another husband comes, I get married, that is if you don’t show my photograph as a woman who had once married a Boko Haram (smiles). If I have resources, I will continue with my petty trade.

Her ultimate desire

“All I want now is to be allowed to return home so that I can reunite with my family members. Most of my siblings are working; some are soldiers in the Cameroonian military; some are doing government work in Marwa, others are doing business there. But I have no relatives here on the side of Nigeria. I know my mother weeps every day for me. May be she may even be mourning, thinking I am no longer alive. I just need to go home.”

Nigerian army reopens primary school in Gwoza, restates commitment to western education

To restate it’s commitment to Western education and to assist returnees and other Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) with the education of their children, the Nigerian military has reopened a coeducational Primary School in Gwoza, Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State.

The military in conjunction with other security agencies and other security stakeholders have placed adequate security measures to ensure the pupils and teachers safety and security.


Already classes have commenced with an impressive turn out.



Similarly, the troops have also dislodged Boko Hararm terrorists from Dissa and Balazala villages located in the same Gwoza Local Government Area on Thursday during which they rescued 23 men, 33 women and 34 children from the terrorists.


In a related development, troops advancing from Bama have also intercepted quite a number of Boko Haram terrorists fleeing from Dara Jamel near Banki the battle zone disguised as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The intercepted persons are being screened by troops of 21 Brigade for more information and confirmation of their true identity.


-PM News

Troops Bombard Fleeing Boko Haram Fighters

Troops of 26 Task Force Brigade in Gwoza, Borno State, on Wednesday evening, engaged Boko Haram terrorists fleeing Sambisa forest following continued aerial bombardment by the Nigerian Air Force.

The fleeing terrorists in seven pick-up vans and some motorcycles mounted with assorted weapons such as rocket propelled grenades and anti-aircraft guns were decisively dealt with, killing quite a number of them.

The troops also destroyed their vehicles, weapons and motorcycles. They also recovered a vehicle, one motorcycle and two AK47 rifles and large quantities of 7.62mm NATO and 12.7mm ammunitions.

Nigerian Army Uncovers Road Bombs Near Gwoza

Nigerian army uncovered Wednesday five bombs planted by Boko Haram militants along a road in besieged Borno state. The troops cleared the explosives from the road which led from the northeastern town of Gwoza, the terror group’s former headquarters.

“The explosives have since been defused and destroyed by the team of Nigerian army engineers,” Nigerian army spokesman Col. Tukur Ismail Gusau told reporters in Abuja. The Nigerian military also discovered a suspected Boko Haram hideout in Dikwa, less than two weeks after recapturing the town from the Islamist militants in Borno state.

The hidden den was packed with weapons and equipment which were suspected to be used by the Nigeria-based terrorists to construct explosives. The troops recovered rocket propelled grenades, compact discs and machines used for drilling, filling and cutting.

Read Moreibtimes

10 Months After, 27 Police Officers Missing In Gwoza “Not Dead” – IG of Police

Twenty seven police officers who went missing after Boko Haram terrorists seized Gwoza in Borno State in August, 2014, may still be found after 10 months, as the Nigerian government believes they are not dead, the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, said on Tuesday.

The police IG said the police have not been officially declared dead yet. He spoke on Tuesday this while responding to questions from journalists after inaugurating the Board of Directors of the Nigeria Police Property Development and Construction Company Ltd.

The I-G explained that the police would follow its tradition of declaring officers that got missing in battle dead after the lapse of a period of time which he declined to give. “About our colleagues, who are missing in Gwoza, there is a tradition in the police force.
When officers are missing in battle, we do not declare them dead or missing until after a period has lapsed. So, we are still waiting for that period to lapse, and if we cannot find them after that time, then, we will formally declare them either dead or missing,” Mr. Arase said.

Thirty five police officers were declared missing on August 20, 2014 after the insurgents attacked a police academy in Gwoza. However, the Police spokesperson, Emmanuel Ojukwu, later told journalists that eight of them were found, leaving 27 still missing.

The police IG said the current police management was passionate about the welfare of the inspectors, rank and file, who were mostly operational personnel. Mr. Arase said the welfare of those categories of personnel needed to be given priority to ensure that corruption was stamped out of the force. He announced that 36,000 personnel would by next week proceed on training that would lead to their promotion to the next rank. “We have a social contract with our inspectors, rank and file,’’ he said.

The seven-man board is chaired by the Inspector-General of Police. The I-G, on June 4, mandated the Police Works Department to build 6,000 units of modern houses for the rank and file personnel. Five hundred units of the houses are to be located in each of the 12 police zonal commands across the nation. (NAN)

Hundreds Of Corpses Of Boko Haram Victims Reportedly Seen At Gwoza Mountain In Borno State

Hundreds of bodies of some of the victims of Boko Haram attacks who fled from Gwoza community in Borno state are reportedly decomposing at the mountains that surround Gwoza community. A source who spoke with Sahara Reporters say most of the victims died due to hunger as they could not get food while they took refuge on the mountains during the period Boko Haram took their community hostage.

“Many atrocities were committed by Boko haram insurgents during Boko Haram reign at Gwoza, most of the mountain unburied bodies lying down. Hundreds of corpses are still there. If you go to the these mountains around Gwoza axis you wouldn’t be able to eat meats, sand has eaten some the bodies as many bones dry up due to heat” the source said.

Nigerian Military Declares Gwoza Reclaimed

The Nigeria Military reports it has taken over Gwoza, the phantom caliphate headquarters of the Boko Haram sect. A statement from the Defense Headquarters in Abuja, confirmed the breakthrough.

“The military has been able to take over virtually all the enclaves and hideouts where the terrorists were marauding. It is observed that some of the terrorists are currently fleeing towards border areas,” read a statement.

The military said the fleeing terrorists would expectedly run into subsequent encounter with contingents of partners in the Multinational Joint Task Force who have been mandated to contain them. It added that mop up operation in Gwoza and other liberated areas will continue in order to ensure that no vestiges of terrorists or terrorism remain in our country. “The Defense Headquarter thanks Nigerians and our partners in the sub-region who have consistently encouraged and supported us in the course of these operations,” added a statement.

It said the military is more than ever before determined to once and for all stamp out every trace of terrorism and insecurity in our country. All citizens have been urged to remain vigilant and report every movement or assemblage of suspicious characters to the security forces.

Credit: CAJ News

Troops Retreat From Sambisa Forest After Landmines Kill Soldiers, Vigilantes

Nigerian troops were forced to retreat from Sambisa Forest as they took the battle to the stronghold of Islamist sect Boko Haram, after a landmine blast killed one soldier and three vigilantes.

The Military said on Wednesday that soldiers were conducting offensives “in some forest locations” in the area after it was announced last week that the operations were imminent.

Defence spokesman Chris Olukolade said in a statement that a senior Boko Haram commander was killed, as well as a number of militants who attacked a patrol.

“The operations especially in forest locations are progressing in defiance of obstacles and landmines emplaced by the terrorists,” he added.

However, progress has been hampered by improvised explosive devices with which the area has been rigged by the terrorists, a civilian vigilante involved in the operation told AFP in an account backed by a security source.

“Boko Haram have buried landmines all over the routes leading to their camps in the forest, which is no doubt a huge obstacle retarding the military offensive against them,” he told AFP.

“We decided to turn back since the route was unsafe. As we were driving back, one of the vehicles carrying CJTF (Civilian Joint Task Force) hit a mine,” he added.

“A soldier and three CJTF were killed while another soldier was injured. We trudged along and made it back to Bama on Wednesday.”

The vigilante added: “There are no soldiers in Sambisa right now. We all returned to Bama after the horrifying experience of manoeuvring through minefields.”

“Boko Haram are in large numbers in Sambisa,” said the vigilante, who requested anonymity for security reasons.

“All their fighters who were pushed out of Bama, Dikwa, Gwoza and Damboa (in Borno state) all moved to Boko Haram camps in Sambisa,” he added.

The Sambisa Forest is located in Borno state, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the town of Chibok, where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped on April 14 last year.

It has been claimed that the 219 schoolgirls still being held were initially kept in the former game reserve, although others have said they may have been split up and moved to Chad or Cameroon.

How Boko Haram Was Defeated In Their Headquarters, Gwoza

As Nigerian soldiers search for missing girls, townspeople are fearful the jihadists won’t be gone for long. Ali Hassan should be happy to return to Gwoza, his hometown, following the news on Friday that it had been retaken from the jihadist group Boko Haram by the Nigerian military. But Hassan remains unfazed.

Like many displaced persons taking refuge in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, Hassan is not convinced that the military is being entirely truthful about its claims.

“I know fighting has been taking place but I don’t want to believe we’ve heard the last of it,” he said. “Boko Haram has a strong base in Gwoza, and it wouldn’t be easy dislodging them. They have large camps, thousands of fighters, heavy weapons and their headquarters there. The war in Gwoza wouldn’t be child’s play.”

Hassan isn’t the only one skeptical about the supposed victory.

An unnamed soldier told a local news website that fighting was still going on, even as the Nigeria Defense Headquarters announced Gwoza’s recapture from Boko Haram on Twitter.

The soldier was quoted as saying: “The announcement was made because my bosses are trying to please Mr. President, who announced that the town would be liberated by today.”

On Wednesday, as he received international election monitoring groups, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said the military command had assured him that Gwoza would be liberated on Friday.

Nigeria’s presidential election is currently ongoing.

Jonathan is being challenged by Muhammadu Buhari, a former military general who is vying to become the first candidate to beat an incumbent in Nigeria’s history. Buhari has argued that Jonathan didn’t put enough effort into fighting the Boko Haram insurgency earlier. For his part, Jonathan has said he is determined to beat the militants. Polls have the two men in a dead heat.

The military says that Boko Haram insurgents have now been driven from virtually all the territory they’ve previously held, a claim that supports Jonathan’s assertion that Boko Haram is on the run.

The move on Gwoza followed the liberation of more than 30 other towns in the northeast in recent weeks. Boko Haram seized the town in August of last year, declaring that they were ruling it by Islamic law. The insurgents are believed to have held some 200 schoolgirls, kidnapped from Chibok almost a year ago, in the town.

Nigerian military spokesman Major-General Chris Olukolade said it wasn’t clear if the abducted schoolgirls were in the seized town.

“A massive cordon and search has commenced to locate any of the fleeing terrorists or hostages in their custody,” he said on Friday.

The capture of Gwoza is a major milestone for the Nigerian army and surely deals a huge blow to Boko Haram.

Gwoza’s location made it an ideal base for the insurgents—the nearby Mandara Mountains offered protection and the jihadists could flee into Cameroon with ease. There is a complex system of caves and tunnels nearby, some of which burrow hundreds of meters into the mountainside. Many believe that Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, may have been hiding in those caves.

When Gwoza was captured by the jihadists last August, thousands of residents were left trapped and terrified on the mountain slopes with no food. To make matters worse, the military fled, leaving the militants to help themselves to the local armory.

But on Friday, the military said troops leveled the operational headquarters of Boko Haram and seized several arms and ammunition from them, forcing many insurgents to flee.

Eyewitnesses say that after the military assault, militants could be seen heading over the mountain by torchlight.

Though the recent success of multinational forces over Boko Haram brings huge relief to Nigeria’s troubled northeastern region, some are worried the gains might not be sustained.

Chad’s President Idriss Deby, who has been fiercely critical of Nigeria’s response, said the Nigerian military had been uncooperative.

He told French magazine Le Point that Chadian troops have had to retake towns twice from Boko Haram because Nigeria’s forces had failed to secure them. “The Chadian army is fighting alone in its part of the Nigerian interior and that is a problem. We have had to retake certain towns twice,” Deby was quoted as saying.

“We are forced to abandon them and Boko Haram returns, and we have to go back. That has a human and material cost.”

Read More: thedailybeast

Chibok Girls Are Held Under Tight Security In Gwoza, Says Freed Hostage

A woman, Mbutu Papka, who was recently freed after eight months from the captivity of the Boko Haram sect has said that the more than 200 school girls captured by the sect are in Gwoza town. She said she was held in the same location as the abducted Chibok girls.

Mbutu Papka, 56, who was kidnapped in July 2014 and held by the insurgents for eight months in two locations, said confidently that the abducted girls were being held under very tight security in a house in Gwoza.

Papka said nobody is allowed near the fenced building where the abducted girls are being held under 24-hour security. Even the heavily armed guards, who keep watch over the girls round the clock, it was learnt, are only allowed to go into the house to deliver food, water and other supplies to them.

The woman was seized along with others when Boko Haram attacked Gwoza on July 4, 2014 and taken to Mdita, a remote village near the notorious Sambisa Forest, bordering Askira Uba, Damboa and Gwoza.

Read More: Cable

We Will Liberate Gwoza From Boko Haram By Friday- Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday expressed the confidence that Nigerian troops will liberate Gwoza from members of the Boko Haram sect latest on Friday.

Once that feat is achieved, he said it would not take the nation more than one week to clean up.

Jonathan spoke while granting audience to a group of international election monitors who paid him a visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“We believe by today (Thursday) or latest Friday, we will be able to take over Gwoza. If we take over Gwoza it will not take us more than one week to clean up. Now Boko Haram is not in position to come out and disrupt elections,” Jonathan told his guests.

He recalled that when security operatives advised that elections be rescheduled for security reasons, a number of people thought it was just because of the terror attacks in some parts of the North.

He however admitted that that was a major factor too because the Boko Haram set was in three states: Borno, Yobe and Adamawa at that time.

Boko Haram Militants Reassemble In Gwoza, Kill Elderly Men Studying Quran

Boko Haram militants are not about to give in the face of severe pounding of their hide-outs in the northeast zone of Nigeria, just as they reportedly killed residents who were unable to flee when they re-invaded Gwoza town in Borno state; a Senator and witnesses have said.

A female resident who fled Gwoza and requested anonymity said the insurgents rounded up elderly men who were studying the Koran outside the home of a local cleric.

The men were later executed in front of their wives, the witness told AFP from Yola, capital of neighbouring Adamawa state. “The Boko Haram men brought out brand new guns from cartons, tested them and shot dead all the men who they forced to lie face down,” she said.

Some of the details were supported by area Senator Ali Ndume, who also confirmed the large build-up of insurgents in Gwoza. “Boko Haram insurgents have in recent days been converging in Gwoza where they killed many male residents and chased women and children out of the town,” said Ndume.

Read More: newspotng.com

Read the Account of People who Lived in “Boko Haram State”

Boko Haram says it is building an Islamic state that will revive the glory days of northern Nigeria’s medieval Muslim empires, but for those in its territory life is a litany of killings, kidnappings, hunger and economic collapse.

The Islamist group’s five-year-old campaign has become one of the deadliest in the world, with around 10,000 people killed last year, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Hundreds, mostly women and children, have been kidnapped.

It remains the biggest threat to the stability of Africa’s biggest economy ahead of a vote on Feb. 14 in which President Goodluck Jonathan will seek re-election.

But while it has matched Islamic State in Syria and Iraq in its brutality — it beheads its enemies on camera — it has seriously lagged in the more mundane business of state building.

“The Islamic state is a figment of their imagination. They are just going into your house and saying they have taken over,” said Phineas Elisha, government spokesman for Adamawa state, one of three states under emergency rule to fight the insurgency.

Unlike its Middle East counterparts wooing locals with a semblance of administration, villagers trapped by Boko Haram face food shortages, slavery, killing and a lock down on economic activity, those who escaped say.

“(They) have no form of government,” Elisha, who saw the devastation caused by Boko Haram after government forces recaptured the town of Mubi in November.

Boko Haram, which never talks to media except to deliver jihadist videos to local journalists, could not be reached for comment.

Boko Haram’s leaders talk about reviving one of the West African Islamic empires that for centuries prospered off the Saharan trade in slaves, ivory and gold, but they demonstrate little evidence of state building.

In August a man saying he was Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau — the military says it killed Shekau — issued a video declaring a “Muslim territory” in Gwoza, by the Cameroon border.

There were echoes of Islamic State’s proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria two months earlier. Boko Haram controls an area just over 30,000 square km of territory, about the size of Belgium, according to a Reuters calculation based on security sources and government data.

But while in Syria, after initially brutal takeovers, Islamic State has tried to win over communities, those who escaped Boko Haram say the rebels do little for them beyond forcing them to adopt their brand of Islam on pain of death.

“They provide raw rice to cook, the rice that they stole from the shops. They provide a kettle and … scarves to cover up the women,” said Maryam Peter from Pambla village.

“People are going hungry. They are only feeding on corn and squash. No meat, nothing like that. The insurgents are not providing anything else,” she added.

Maryam said most daily interactions with the militants involved them questioning villagers on their movements and forbidding them from trying to escape — a rule she managed to flout when she fled a week ago.

A government-run camp in a former school is now her home, along with 1,000 others, where mothers cook on outdoor fires while children run around. Some 1.5 million people have been rendered homeless by the war, Oxfam says.

And those the militants kill, they often fail to bury. The first thing the Nigerian Red Cross has to do when a town falls back into government hands is clear the corpses, Aliyu Maikano, a Red Cross official, told Reuters.

After the army recaptured Mubi in November, Maikano had to cover his nose to avoid the stench of rotting corpses.

Those still alive “were starved for food, water, almost everything there. There’s no drinking water because (in) most of the wells there you’ll find dead bodies,” Maikano said.

Many residents looked tattered and malnourished, and some were unable to speak.

“They are heartless. ISIS (Islamic State) is a kind of organised group, it’s a business. These guys are not.”

A former resident of Mubi said the rebels had renamed the town “Madinatul Islam” or “City of Islam”.

But when government spokesman Phineas Elisha walked into the Emir’s palace after its recapture, everything had been looted, even the windows and doors.

“Mubi was a ghost town … Virtually all the shops were looted.” he said. It took him hours to find a bottle of water.

Sometimes the rebels simply loot the unprotected villages and hide out in bush camps, security sources say. Murna Philip, who escaped the occupied town of Michika five months ago, said a few dozen fighters had occupied an abattoir, a school and a lodge, but little else.

To survive under their watch you have to pretend to support them, said Andrew Miyanda, who escaped the rebels last week, walking for days to the Benue river.

“They would write Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’Awati Wal-Jihad (Boko Haram’s full name) on their trouser legs in marker or the back of their shirts,” he said. “You had to turn up your trousers with the marker on to show that you are a member.”

Buildings were torched and boys were abducted for “training”, he said, a practice reminiscent of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army.

Slowly, with the help of traditional hunters armed with home made guns and a reputation for magic powers, government forces have pushed Boko Haram out of some of its southern possessions.

Morris Enoch, a leader of the hunters, says they found an arsenal of military weapons: rocket launchers, machine guns, dynamite, anti-aircraft guns and grenades. The rebels rarely leave behind much else.

Credit: Reuters

Boko Haram Abducts 40 Boys, Men in Borno Village

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen have kidnapped 40 boys and young men in a remote village in Borno state on New Year’s Eve?, residents who fled the isolated settlement said on Saturday.

Scores of Boko Haram militants stormed the Malari village and whisked away the males, aged between 10 and 23, into the nearby Sambisa forest, believed to be one of the Islamists’ major bases. The news of the abductions came out only days later, when residents who fled the village arrived in the state capital Maiduguri late on Friday. “They came in pick-up trucks armed with guns and gathered all the men in the village outside the home of the village chief where they preached to us before singling out 40 of our boys and taking them away,” Bulama Muhammad told AFP

?Malari village lies 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) from the Sambisa forest and close to the town of Gwoza, which the militants captured last June declaring it part of their caliphate. “My two sons and three nephews were among those taken away by the Boko Haram? gunmen and we believe they are going to use them as conscripts,” Muhammad said.

“When we heard of the kidnap of 40 boys in Malari by Boko Haram we decided to leave because we could be the next target,” said Alaramma Babagoni, who fled from the nearby village of Mulgwi. There was no immediate comment on the incident from the military in Maiduguri.

Boko Haram is still holding in captivity more than 200 schoolgirls it abducted from their school in Chibok in Borno state last April.

The Islamists are believed to control large swathes of territory in Borno as well as several towns and villages in two other northeastern states, Adamawa and Yobe.

Boko Haram’s five-year uprising in Nigeria has claimed more than 13,000 lives and has seen dozens of people, including women and children, kidnapped by the Islamists.

Credit: www.vanguardngr.com


Mr. President, Here is Gwoza. ­­-By Rabiu Usman


The mind can only be distraught on matters that it is consented to. What you lack knowledge about bother you less because an individual gets his feet knocked off the ground largely by bothering much on difficulties than the difficulty itself. We have to spare the President any criticism further, and retract the many aspersions spewed on him over not acknowledging the abduction of Chibok Girls until after more than two weeks, and recently, for not memorising and assimilating the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria. It must be a daunting task for him to cram such number of LGAs even if he has been in possession of a couple of current affairs pamphlet during his yore days for job or employment interview purposes.
While we soften the pedal on criticising the President based on the aforementioned verdicts, certain facts here makes him more culpable and as a leader that has reduced the country to the size of Central Area of Abuja; what were the routine reports of the NSA, Colonel Sambo Dasuki to the President on the state of insecurity in the nation about? Was Dasuki misleading the President with the well-being of Aghenebode in Edo state over the trauma of Gwoza in Borno? Didn’t he mention to Presidents Jonathan that sometimes in May, more than two hundreds souls were annihilated in a space of a week by insurgents? Didn’t Sambo Dasuki narrates the tales of two first class monarch from Borno, that were attacked by insurgents while on their way to Gombe state with one of them losing his life in the process? If there is any area a sincere leader ought to be conversant with at this time of our crossroads should be not less than the troubled zones of the nation.

Mr. President’s palpable rhetoric is just a revelation out of a possible many heart drenching others. It is an outburst that should clear our eyes of the cataracts that has blinded us from how grossly duty is abdicated among public office holders. It has vindicated further how disconnected rural areas are from the impact of leadership. Really, the president doesn’t give a damn. Not until he’ll be able to garner a handful of votes from Gwoza. A troubled Gwoza is the ruling government’s gain and the opposition’s lost politically. It is on record that the president has never visited any insurgent victims outside Abuja since the advent of this carnage, save for his visit to Maiduguri on a meeting with the elders of Borno for more than a year ago. This is a huge manifestation of disconnect between leadership and the people.

Every single arm of the government is being dismantled from its function. There is no iota of productive output in them; they’ve become mere card carrying monuments that are occupied by various cronies of the leadership to enrich themselves and to fund the apex government’s re-election rallies and jingles through the back door of fundraising for insurgents and education support programmes.
The last straw of credibility in the nation, the Military has since become dysfunctional. The murky atmosphere of the nation’s politics has encroached into the once formidable agency. The pride of the nation and West Africa. In the past, there were security funds with no insecurity. In the present there is insecurity with looted security budgets. The decade long institutionalised corruption in security sector has created a grey spot to the advantage of insurgents dispersing our formations and making them to fall like a house of cards.

Again, for how long will the government continue to live in denials of the reality that stares at us? Here is Gwoza, the base of Nigeria Mobile Police Training, being overran by insurgents with thousands of its inhabitants displaced. So, Mr. President, not only Gwoza sef; Bama, Gamboru-Ngala, Damboa and Buni Yadi needs you to reason their matter. This is not a joke. This is a matter of survival! May God have mercy on us.

Rabiu Usman @rabiusm

 Views expressed are solely the author’s