MAIDUGURI – Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum has engaged over 1,000 hunters with supernatural powers to battle Boko Haram.
This follows last week’s engagement of Imams from Saudi Arabia to pray against the continued attack by Boko Haram on the state.
Zulum, a professor of engineering, has become apprehensive over the resurgence of Boko Haram in his state despite the efforts of the military, according to a report by The Cable, an online newspaper which was also independently confirmed
A source familiar with the secret recruitment said the governor may have decided to try unconventional means to supplement efforts of the military.
The Cable learnt that the recruitment was intensified in the last two weeks with the traditional hunters armed and administered the oath of allegiance, using the Qur’an, Islam’s most sacred book.
The hunters are largely Muslims.
Although the state government has been recruiting thousands of local hunters, vigilantes and the civilian JTF for years, they were volunteers from Borno.
“This is the first time outsiders have been engaged,” the source said.
“They are being brought into Borno in batches, often during the night in order to evade public attention.”
They are provided with dane guns, swords and anything they ask for, The Cable further learnt.
The source said: “The special hunters are being identified from all parts of the Northeast and Northwest, in particular, and engaged by a team of trusted aides assigned by Governor Zulum.”
He also increased monthly allowances of thousands of existing volunteers under the civilian JTF.
He immediately acquired 160 patrol vehicles and surveillance gadgets which he distributed to the fighters he inherited.
The Cable could not confirm the actual number of new hunter-fighters being recruited, but they are over a thousand.
They are being deployed in northern Borno – which has 10 of Borno’s 27 local government areas.
Nigeria’s share of the Lake Chad is substantially located in places in northern Borno.
Boko Haram insurgents are said to be in control of local and international water ways of Baga, a major fishing community in Kukawa Local Government, also in northern Borno.
The insurgents are believed to impose taxes on all water ways transportation to generate funds for their activities.
Northern Borno is also where oil prospecting was being carried out by the NNPC. The oil search has largely been halted owing to activities of the insurgents. (TheNation/TheCable)