Armed ViolenceNews

Security Agents Complain Of Inadequate Weapons Amid Boko Haram Attacks

A recent attack in Amarwa, Borno state, exposes the critical challenges faced by local hunters as they confront the ongoing insurgency.

Hunters and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Borno state, North East Nigeria, have complained about the lack of adequate arms following a gun battle with Boko Haram insurgents last week.

The remote village of Amarwa in the Konduga area of the state became a battleground around 8 p.m. on Friday, May 3, after a CJTF member spotted seven armed individuals believed to be terrorists crossing the road towards the river bank.

“We started hearing the Boko Haram members shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ as they exchanged fire with the military along with the CJTF and hunters group,” local sources told HumAngle about the community’s experience during the attack.

The community dispersed and fled for safety, leaving behind the security forces.

The local hunters operating in the area who had taken it upon themselves to protect their community pursued the terrorists, initiating an intense exchange of gunfire. One of the hunters found himself in a perilous situation, exhausting all his pump shotgun bullets while sustaining a gunshot wound to the leg.

“We traced and chased them after we were informed about their movement, and eventually, we intercepted them. We were face to face with eight Boko Haram members, each carrying AK-47 rifles,” said Suleiman*, one of the hunters who engaged the terrorists.

“They were shooting at us with AK-47s while we were using pump shotguns with inadequate munitions. They would shoot several bullets before we could shoot one, hiding for safety.”

Tragically, amidst the chaos, one officer of the Nigerian military lost his life in a separate encounter with the insurgents in Amarwa. 

A close-up of a bandaged knee with a safety pin securing the bandage, with a backdrop of sandy ground.
Leg of the injured member of the hunters’ group.

The hunters, who risk their lives daily to defend their communities, face a daunting challenge. A severe shortage of ammunition hampers their ability to effectively combat Boko Haram and protect their villages.

Frustration mounts among the hunters, with one even contemplating resignation due to the dire circumstances they face.

“I want to leave the job because we don’t have enough munitions. But the local villages situated along Maiduguri-Bama road really need security because they are prone to such attacks,” said one CJTF member who wishes not to disclose his identity.

“We have risked our lives so much with the little we have, and we have a family to raise. We cannot be endangering our life when the simple provision of enough ammunition can protect us and strengthen our fight against Boko Haram,” he added. 

The necessity for security in these areas remains paramount as they prepare to commence farming activities with the approaching rainy season. Empowering local security forces will enhance their commitment to providing protection, enabling farmers to access their farms less fearfully.

In 2017, Amarwa experienced a deadly attack by Boko Haram insurgents, resulting in the loss of four lives and leaving several others injured. The recent attack on Saturday further exposed the silent security challenges faced by communities in the region. 

Despite efforts to improve security measures, such as the presence of military personnel and local defence groups, attacks continue to occur, resulting in loss of life and injuries among both civilians and security agents. 

Local sources have reported recent sightings of Boko Haram members in the area, instilling fear and raising concerns about the possibility of another attack.

*Names changed to protect the source’s identity.

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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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