Boko Haram has reportedly moved its camp recruitment base to neighbouring Niger Republic by some of its leaders, a report by the BBC has indicated. The report came just as preparations have entered top gear for a meeting of the National Security Council tomorrow in Abuja, which will be presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, the 36 state governors and service chiefs, among others.
The insurgency in the North-east, being waged by the terrorist group, is expected to top the agenda at tomorrow’s meeting.
Last week, the meeting had been rescheduled for today, but was postponed for the second time to take place tomorrow. However, ahead of the security council meeting, former military Head of State, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, has rallied the political class behind efforts to frontally tackle the insurgents trying to destroy the country.
The report by the Hausa Service of the BBC yesterday said Boko Haram has the support of some criminal elements in South-eastern part of Niger Republic, al-Shabab in Somalia and the al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) in carrying out its terror activities.
The sect, the BBC said, had infiltrated Niger Republic, where internally displaced persons from Borno and Yobe States have been flocking to since the crisis escalated in recent times. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), about 50,000 Nigerians have poured into Niger while fleeing from the insurgents.
The insurgents have been confined to the two states where they have carried out most attacks in recent times.
According to the BBC report, it is only a matter of time before the insurgency begins to thrive in Niger as the sect has intensified its recruitment drive.
Some miscreants in Diffa, a border town with Yobe State, told the BBC that they have been given money by Boko Haram to recruit members for them.
The report said many unemployed youths were being wooed by the promise of lots of cash by the insurgents.
The web of the insurgents’ spread is not limited to Niger alone. Of recent, they have been linked to their Somali counterparts, who were said to have given logistics support for the prosecution of the Nyanya blast that claimed more than 70 lives.
The recruitment drive in Niger lends credence to the belief that the operations of the army, which have been backed by air raids on the Sambisa forest and other locations where Boko Haram has its camps, have led to a depletion of the sect’s members. However, it was a strategy meant to create the impression that the sect has not been weakened, the Terrorists used the recent attacks to prove.
The sect is in desperate need of new recruits to continue its campaign of terror. But the Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN), told the BBC that the federal government was unaware of the connection between Boko Haram and al-Shabab/AQIM.
Despite the government’s effort, the insurgents struck again in Borno State where they killed two chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state along the Maiduguri-Dikwa Road.
It was gathered from sources that the two politicians, the Kala/Balge Council Chairman of APC, Alhaji Modu Janga, and its Youth Leader, Alhaji Abba, were shot dead near Mafa town at about 11 am on Monday.
They were said to be returning to Gudumbali after attending a political meeting in Maiduguri when the vehicle conveying them was ambushed by the insurgents.
According to an eyewitness and resident of Mafa, Fogu Fannami, the insurgents barricaded the road with wood and tree branches, and on identifying the two APC chieftains, shot them dead on the spot. They subsequently fled towards Dikwa, a border town with Cameroun.
Fannami, in a telephone conversation with journalists yesterday, said: “Three gunmen on motorcycles shot dead two people at close range and fled towards Dikwa.”
He added that the gunmen did not rob the party officials, as their vehicle was abandoned at the scene of the incident.
He said the road was also closed for two hours by soldiers and policemen to prevent further attacks.
On whether other vehicles were ambushed during the attack, he said: “These gunmen could have targeted the APC officials returning to the council area of Kala/Balge, before they were ambushed on that road leading to Gudumbali, the council headquarters.”
The council Chairman of Kala/Balge, Alhaji Alifa Bukar Rann, yesterday in Maiduguri confirmed the incident.
A senior police officer, who asked not to be named, also confirmed the attack.
However, as part of attempts to stem the terror unleashed on the country by Boko Haram, Buhari has called on politicians, irrespective of their party affiliation, to join hands with the federal government to defeat the insurgents.
Buhari, in a fitting tribute to the victims of the bombing of a bus park in Nyanya, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) last Monday, and pupils of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, who were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists last week, said: “Nigeria and Nigerians have suffered enough. Those who now lead the nation and those who would lead her must over look their political differences to find whatever ways we can cooperate to make this a safer, more secure nation for all.”
The former head of state, who is now a leader of the APC, in a statement yesterday, decried the Nyanya bomb attack and the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok.
He said while he and his party were engaged in a tight competition against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), they would not play politics with such an issue vital to Nigeria’s survival and wellbeing.
He pledged the commitment of APC and its members to the unity and safety of the country and assured the federal government that they would do nothing to undermine national security nor seek political advantage from the calamity brought upon the nation by the insurgents.
While wishing the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan success in fighting the terror war, he said: “We stand ready to help in any meaningful and productive way to fight this battle against evil. We extend our hand and earnest offer of cooperation in this regard.”
Governors from the northern section of the country have pushed for the end of emergency rule, but the military has counselled against it, warning that the insurgency in the North-east could get worse.