Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
The outlawed Boko Haram sect, apparently reeling from heavy loss of members from offensives launched by the military, has embarked on the forced enlistment of innocent youths in Borno state.
Bringing the development to light, the spokesman of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maiduguri, Muhammad Dole, a colonel, said the military is doubling efforts to hunt down members of the group and secure the release of those that had been forcefully conscripted.
Dole said Boko Haram had raised some villages in the state, taking away young men who are then force at the rust of death to join the group.
Some women are among those forcefully taken away from the villages, it was gathered.
The military spokesman reasoned that the sect was forcefully enlisting the youths to replace its depleted army following a clampdown by security forces.
“Recently, due to increased offensive operations by ground and air against the terrorists, the attacks resulted in serious decimation of Boko Haram fighters. This forced them (Boko Haram) to embark on forceful conscription of youths and abduction of women from vulnerable villages into their folds,” he said.
Dole said several Boko Haram members were killed Friday in the latest air and ground bombardment launched against the insurgents during the funeral of some of their dead colleagues around Mudube village.
“The Air bombardment of insurgents’ hideouts in Mainok and Mada general areas of Kaga and Konduga Local Government Areas by the Nigerian Air Force claimed the lives of some Boko Haram Terrorists,” he confirmed.
The spokesman said in another operation, troops of 7 Division had an encounter with Boko Haram insurgents along Maiduguri-Bama-Gwoza road for two hours during which eight Boko Haram terrorists were killed and three vehicles and AK 47 rifles were burnt.
According to him, the Division is poised to decimating Boko Haram terrorists wherever they are and will continue to appreciate the continuous support and cooperation of the general public.
The forceful enlistment is not a new strategy for the insurgents. In the past some of the sect’s members arrested by the meeting confessed the they were unwilling recruits.
For example, one youth who sais that he got into the sect through his brother said that he was told he must join or face the risk of being executed.