Armed ViolenceNews

Gwoza Community Unites In Protest Against Escalating Boko Haram Violence

Under the ‘Gwoza is bleeding’ campaign, some residents of Gwoza town in Borno State, frustrated by issues of insecurity in their community, have begun an advocacy both online and offline to protest the incessant killings carried out by Boko Haram over the years. 

The harrowing surge in violence perpetrated by the Boko Haram terror group has left residents of Gwoza grappling with fear and desperation. As the number of farmers, commuters, and residents falling victim to the terrorist group’s attacks doubled dramatically over the years, the community has rallied together under the campaign slogan “Gwoza is bleeding” to demand an end to the bloodshed.

HumAngle gathered that residents of the northeastern Nigeria town who have been frustrated by the increasing rate of insecurity in their community have plans to demonstrate their concerns through a peaceful protest. 

Already, the campaign has begun to circulate on social media platforms, mainly promoting calls for relevant authorities to bring an end to the security issues in Gwoza. Hashtags like #gwozaisbleeding, #gwozadailymassacre and #weneedpeace are seen attached to posts associated with the campaign. 

Collage of related posts on social media platforms. 

For years, Gwoza has been a prime target for Boko Haram insurgents who have terrorised the region with ruthless attacks on innocent civilians. These assaults have disrupted daily life, leaving farmers unable to tend to their fields, commuters fearful of travel, and residents living in a constant state of fear. HumAngle has reported some of the infamous attacks carried out by terrorists in the town.  

Abduljabbar Abba, a resident and a member of an online platform set up to promote the campaign, told HumAngle what led to the campaign. According to Abba, several killings have been recorded in the past 20 days.

“Seven farmers in Jide community were killed while ploughing fields, Isa and Zakaria were slaughtered along their way to the farm along Hambaghda, a police officer and a civilian were killed together in the same spot at the outskirts of main Gwoza town, three commuters were killed and two vehicles burnt between Gwoza town and Liman Kara. All these happened in less than one month. How do we survive this kind of violence by Boko Haram?” Abba said.

He further added “For this reason, we the people of Gwoza decided to start a campaign called Gwoza is Bleeding. Family and friends, relatives and the entire Gwoza community are displeased with these crimes and the lack of security that is affecting our people badly.” 

At least fourteen people have been killed by terrorists in the past month and many have gone missing.

The Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Mohammed Shehu Timta, has sympathised and extended his condolences to the families and relatives of those who were recently killed.

Meanwhile, the Emir has directed that all the communities in Gwoza and its environs suspend farming activities until further notice or when security is restored.

In an interview with the National Compass Nigeria, the Emir said “I just had a meeting with heads of security agencies, including concerned stakeholders in the emirate with a view to address renewed killings by Boko Haram members in the community.

“I want to firstly sympathise with families of those killed in the road ambush and other attacks on farmers in Gwoza, which had claimed many lives. May the souls of the departed rest in perfect peace.

“It is unfortunate that in the last two weeks, about ten farmers were slaughtered simultaneously in their farms while harvesting crops in Gwoza.”

He explained that it was important for order to be restored, “especially now that many resilient internally displaced persons were relocated back to their liberated communities picking up the pieces to earn a means of livelihood.”

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Usman Abba Zanna

Usman is a multimedia journalist covering conflict, humanitarian crises, development, and peace in the Lake Chad region. He is also a media and conflict management consultant.

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