Boko Haram fighters train bandits in northern Nigeria to use antiaircraft guns and explosives — Report

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Large numbers of Boko Haram terrorists have left their base in the northeast to join criminal gangs in the northwest, where they engage in weapons training and kidnappings.

An AFP report cited military sources as having confirmed this.



After the death of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, the group and rivals allied with ISIS consolidate their hold over the northeast.

The province of the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) has established itself in Boko Haram territory, fighting Shekau loyalists, assimilating some or forcing others to surrender to the armed forces, said sources of security.

Details of the movement of Boko Haram fighters could be the latest sign of cooperation between jihadists and armed criminal groups in the Northwest, who loot and plunder villages and carry out mass kidnappings for ransom.

Two military sources said a faction loyal to Shekau based in Borno state had sent two commanders and 250 fighters to the forests of Rijana in northwest Kaduna state.

The two commanders are allied with Bakoura Buduma, a Boko Haram leader who remains loyal to Shekau and whose fighters are resisting ISWAP consolidation, according to security sources.

“They are the masterminds behind some of the kidnappings in the Northwest,” one of the military sources said.

Both sources said Boko Haram militants also trained gangs, known locally as bandits, to use anti-aircraft guns and explosives, as well as other weapons.

The military spokesperson could not be reached immediately for comment. Kaduna state officials also did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

Analysts said there had been growing signs that jihadists and bandit gangs were developing deeper ties where both had everything to gain: jihadists supply weapons while profiting from criminal activity.

Northwestern Nigeria has long been plagued by bandit groups, but this year attacks and kidnappings have escalated.

The revelation comes two weeks after the State Security Service (SSS), also known as the State Service Department (DSS), asked security agencies in Kaduna to prepare for probable attacks.

He noted that the leaders and infantrymen of the terrorist sect Boko Haram settled in a forest in the south of Kaduna from the forest of Sambisa.

In a note viewed by the Peoples Gazette, the terrorists reportedly moved from Sambisa Forest in Borno State to Rijana Forest in Chikun local government area in Kaduna.

The newspaper quoted part of the memo as saying that a “senior Boko Haram fighter, Ibrahim (FNU) alongside his infantry” was moving to join their counterparts “under the leadership of one Adamu Yunusu (alias Saddiqu) “.

The DSS therefore ordered officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) to strengthen security in the “aforementioned areas and surroundings”, adding that its agents “should be put on alert and report accordingly”.

According to the memo, the NSCDC was also “tasked with stepping up surveillance and intelligence gathering on the aforementioned areas and surroundings.”

Recently, the director of public relations of the army, Brigadier. General Onyeama Nwachukwu said the terrorist group ISWAP launched a massive recruitment drive after thousands of Boko Haram insurgents “repented” and surrendered to the military.

The director noted that the army would not relax its fight against terrorism.

He, however, urged members of the public to be mindful in their communities.


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