Insurgency: How Boko Haram fighters get their arms, by Abubakar Mohammed Kareto

Abubakar Mohammed Kareto
Abubakar Mohammed Kareto

A public affairs analyst, Abubakar Mohammed Kareto, said the Boko Haram insurgents have several means of funding their operations including taxation of locals, raids on villages, kidnapping and looting of military formations.

According to Military sources, the weapons and hardware being used by Boko Haram insurgents were looted and carted away during invasions on military formations in the northeast.

They were reacting to the claim by the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major-General John Enenche, that the military does not know those sponsoring terrorist groups in the country and how they get their weapons.

“It is not correct to say that the weapons being showcased by the terrorists are anything different from those procured for us,” one of the sources said.

“The candid truth is that most of these vehicles, armour tanks and other military hardware were stolen from our bases. Recall that in most displaced military locations, they looted our arms and ammunition to fuel their operations. Most of the vehicles they use were snatched from our front-lines troops.

“Another means is that they get weapons from neighbouring  countries like, Lake Chad at giveaway prices. It is easier to move arms and ammunition to Lake Chad Basin because of porous borders,” the source said.

Boko Haram Sponsors

Major-General Enenche, on Thursday, during the weekly press briefing on military operations across the country, claimed that the military does not know those sponsoring Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the country.

Daily Trust reports that his claim was in sharp contrast to what military and civilian leaders had said in the past.

For instance, in May 2015, the then Theatre Commander of Operation, Lafiya Dole based in Maiduguri, Borno State, Major General Yushau Abubakar, had said the army had a list of the sponsors of Boko Haram and that it was doing everything possible to end the insurgency by the end of that year.

“Investigation on those that we suspect that are either participating or hiding, fueling or conniving with those that carried out those acts, is ongoing. They will be exposed in due course,” Abubakar had said at that time.

He had also pointed out that the spate of bombings at the time was aimed at diverting the attention of the military from achieving its target in the ongoing anti-terrorism war.

But while briefing journalists, Enenche said: “Once we get information on collaborators of Boko Haram, we move in with military actions. For sponsors, that one is at the high level, we have not seen them, and we have not seen that people are sponsoring them.

“The evidence is that terrorists are getting provisions and equipment that ordinarily should not be, even if they loot and sell the rustled cattle.

“Common assessment will now justify how much would they steal and sell to get gun trucks and other equipment, all these points to the fact that they are being sponsored, but that is beyond the military,” he said.

He also said that troops in the northeast had conducted several operations at various locations which led to the neutralisation of terrorists, destruction of their equipment and structures as well as recovery of various items.

He said between June 18 and 30, 2020, the Air Task Force of Operation, Lafiya Dole conducted intensive air strikes to mark the launching of its subsidiary Operation Long Reach along the fringes of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State.

He said air operations led to the destruction of a Boko Haram tactical command centre, housing some of their high value leaders and neutralised several of their fighters at Garin Maloma and Yuwe villages.

He added that airstrikes conducted at Buka Korege, Bula Bello, Ngoske, Tongule, Bukar Meram and Warshale villages led to the destruction of several Boko Haram locations and gun trucks, while scores of fighters were neutralised.

Abubakar Mohammed Kareto is a public affairs analyst.


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