MORE communities across northeastern Nigeria are resorting to forming armed vigilante groups set up to combat the growing menace of Boko Haram due to the inability of the country's military authorities to control the terrorist sect.
Over recent years, Boko Haram has laid siege to large swathes of northeastern Nigeria, blighting communities and in some case taking over entire local government areas. Totalled overwhelmed by the situation, Nigeria's military has been unable to combat the well-armed terrorist group, leaving local people to fend for themselves.
In Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, local people have formed vigilante groups called Civilian Joint Task Forces (JTF) which have been highly effective ion containing the terrorists. This model is now being copied across northern Nigeria with towns and villages forming Volunteer Vigilance Youths’ Groups.
Among other things, they are procuring small arms to enable them confront the well-armed terrorist group that is equipped with hardware that include rocket launchers, armoured personnel carriers, machine guns and other forms of military equipment. Local communities are also introducing measures to defend themselves from potential attacks.
A New York Council on Foreign Relations (NYCFR) spokesman, said: “Many people in northern Nigeria, frustrated by a five-year insurgency and what they call a lack of military protection, are ordering what passes for bulletproof clothing, buying homemade muskets and organising ragtag militias.
"Nigerian military’s failure to help rescue the girls has reinforced a belief among ordinary people that only they alone can defeat Boko Haram, so, residents are assembling their own armies. Three closely linked vigilante groups have taken root over the past year and they count more than 11,000 members between them."
According to the NYCFR people were initially equipped with sticks, machetes and table legs but ate now scaling up, procuring locally-made barrel-loaded shotguns cobbled together from car parts and scrap wood. They are also thick leather amulets into tank tops , which are being worn as bullet proof vests underneath shirts.
Om May 14, a vigilante group in the town of Kalabalge in Borno State, mounted a fierce resistance to Boko Haram, killing 41 of the insurgents as they repelled the terrorists. Many communities in the state are now looking to use this as a model, hoping it will enable them to keep their localities safe and free of Boko Haram.