Nigerian military prevents islamic seize of Nigerian town with the help of vigilantes.
On Sunday Boko Haram attacked Maiduguri in what has been the city’s second assault in a week, but were stopped by paramilitary locals. The Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist faction in western Africa, failed at capturing Borno’s capital when citizens put up a fight and thwarted the terrorist group. Rushing into the capital in large numbers, Boko Haram was resisted by armed citizens and the Nigerian military. The armed citizens of northeastern Nigeria, who have been fighting in collaboration with the Nigerian military, are more typically referred to as vigilantes.
Sunday’s attack on Maiduguri, which has a population of about 1 million, was the second time in a week that the militants of Boko Haram have tried to seize control of the city. Attacking by the thousands, Boko Haram entered Maiduguri around 3 a.m.. Tweets from Maiduguri were quickly sent which alerted the media of the attack, which represented the first time that Boko Haram militants and the Nigerian military, with its vigilante allies, have used mortar rounds. Boko Haram also launched aerial bombs onto Maiduguri. Eight people have been reported dead.
The vigilantes have been countering the assaults made by the Islamic extremist group. Made up of ordinary people such as hunters, the vigilantes of Nigeria are often equipped with weapons that starkly contrast Boko Haram’s extensive arms inventory. Reports have revealed that the vigilantes are battling Boko Haram with everything from cobra venom-dipped shanks fashioned from buffalo horns to muskets. Although the vigilantes are outmatched in terms of their weaponry, they have proven themselves to be an asset to Nigeria’s military forces who have endured repeated assaults from Boko Haram.
In January the Borno city of Baga suffered a deadly encounter with Boko Haram. Casualty estimates of the Baga attack were initially in the thousands but were later reduced to 150. Nevertheless, Boko Haram has been steadily seizing and occupying villages and cities in northeastern Nigeria.
Boko Haram has not limited their insurgency to Nigeria. The violence of the extremist group has spilled into neighboring countries like Chad and Cameroon. These countries are working in collaboration to combat the Islamic militants who kidnapped approximately 80 people in Cameroon in January. Three of the people who were abducted died, according to a Cameroon journalist, Saiid Abdulkarim. Fifty of those kidnapped were children.
Tweets from Boko Haram have revealed that they are hosting training camps dedicated toward indoctrinating child soldiers into their caliphate campaign. These child soldiers are abductees, according to military officials. Witnesses who have been attacked by Boko Haram have reported accounts wherein child soldiers have been observed among the militants during attacks. The estimates of how many child soldiers there are is unclear.
Boko Haram currently occupies an area in western Africa the size of Belgium. The areas of northeastern Nigeria, that Boko Haram occupies, is home to diverse geography – the Mandara Mountains and the Sambisa Forest most notably. The geography has presented difficulties for Nigeria’s military, who are often unfamiliar with the territory. The vigilantes have thus proven to be an asset to the Nigerian military because they represent locals who are familiar to the topography.
Many people in Maiduguri are refugees who have been living in the city due to Boko Haram’s recent attacks in nearby areas, according to sources. The attack on the city has symbolic implications for upcoming elections in Nigeria. Boko Haram, who is responsible for suicide bombings, kidnappings and continuous assaults, has shaken Nigerian citizens’ trust in their government, who struggles to combat extremist occupation.