I was surfing the internet last night and I came across New images of ISWAP and Boko Haram terrorists purportedly pledging allegiance to what experts termed as the new Caliph (Whatever that means).
The insurgents were armed from tooth to nails carrying sophisticated weapons that includes the likes of the Polish Beryl M762 AK, the NSV, Zastava M85, FN MAG and other AK/PK(M) variants.
I was restless and I thought to myself, despite the tens of thousands of terrorists surrendering to the Nigerian Military monthly, where have these more equipped lots come from?
How have they been able to acquire more sophistication despite being on the losing end as recently reported by virtually all media houses?
For these questions and many more begging for answers, I decided to do a research as to how this group is able to recruit fighters. How, despite their loses (Fighters and equipments), they are able to reorganize very quickly and lunch deadly attacks.
My findings, which took me back to the early days of dreaded terrorist leader, Abubakar Shekau, opened my eyes to their recruitment strategies which I’ve summarized below;
ISWAP and Boko Haram recruitment strategies
During the early years of the insurgency in Nigeria, Notorious terrorists leader Abubakar Shekau began recruiting followers by storming some Nigerian prisons to free inmates who would return the favour by joining his campaign against the Nigerian state.
Although, more recently, this strategy have not been used by Boko Haram in North Eastern states maybe partly because Nigerian prisons are now been fortified to withstand the most deadly attacks.
Shekau was also notorious for snatching young men and forcing them to join his cause. During attacks on isolated communities and villages, he would kidnap women, young men and children and force them to join his ranks. Even after the death of Shekau this strategy is still largely used by Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists to acquire fighters.
They storm isolated villages, kidnap children, train them in combat, give them Islamic education and force them to join their ranks.
The terrorist group have also been known to attract a growing number of Muslims in Northern Nigeria who feel alienated and marginalized by Nigerian society’s secular orientation and seek a return to Sharia law as the legal system’s base.
I would also like to a book “Boko Haram recruitment strategies,” published in 2013, by John Campbell (Washington, D.C.: Council on Foreign Relations).
In this book Mr. Campbell argued that some people join because Boko Haram pays them to attack and kill Nigerian government officials. Campbell further asserts in the article that immigrants from surrounding nations joined the group for economic reasons.
Yes, you heard it right. Economic reason is a major pull for recruitment of fighters. Poverty has eaten deep into Nigerian societies especially in the Northern region. However, ISWAP and Boko Haram groups are providing a way out for young men in the most affected region.
With guns, conscripts are able to rob farmers of their produce, kidnap people for ransom, attack travellers and steal their belongings and rustle huge number of cattle.
Photo Credit: @CalibreObscura/Twitter.