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HomeBreakingBoko Haram Builds New ‘Sambisa Forest’ in Niger’s Shiroro Communities

Boko Haram Builds New ‘Sambisa Forest’ in Niger’s Shiroro Communities

Christian Villages Targeted for Annihilation and Replacement

By Mike Odeh James

[Kaduna] The infamous Boko Haram Insurgency is building a fortress zone in Niger’s mountainous Shiroro County (LGA), according to Emmanuel Umar, a former Commissioner of Internal Security in Niger State.

Emmanuel Umar, a former Commissioner of Internal Security in Niger State, Credit; Emmanuel Umar.
Emmanuel Umar, a former Commissioner of Internal Security in Niger State, Credit; Emmanuel Umar.

“Shiroro is a strategic location, and Boko Haram wants to replicate what they had in Sambisa Forest,” Umar said in an exclusive interview with TruthNigeria. “They want to create a haven where they can plan and launch attacks without fear of being caught.”

The Boko Haram (Western Learning Forbidden) terrorists are beheading Christian natives who refuse to join their army, shooting others en masse, and demanding that residents in five Christian villages abandon their farms and animals or be killed, according to security experts speaking to TruthNigeria.  

Umar said that Shiroro County is a prized location for Boko Haram. “Shiroro is a very mountainous area, covered by forests, making it difficult for the Nigerian military to penetrate,” Umar said.  Controlling Shiroro would provide Boko Haram with a safe haven, within easy travel distance of busy railroads and highways between Kaduna City and the federal capital of Abuja. A Shiroro base would allow Boko Haram to rig the area with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and carry out attacks on nearby communities, Umar went on to say.

Grisly Executions Carry Terrorist Message

On Thursday, June 7, 2024 (06/07/2024), gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram militants attacked the Bassa Christian community in Niger State’s Shiroro County, killing 20 people.  Ten of the victims, all young men, were beheaded by the terrorists, who also forced community members to carry the severed heads while filming and taking photos.

The attackers, numbering more than 50, selected 10 adults and shot them at close range. Then, 10 young Christian men who refused to be recruited by Boko Haram were beheaded as the people watched helplessly. The gunmen warned the community that anyone who refused to join them or vacate the community would face similar treatment.

This attack comes two months after Boko Haram beheaded nine people in Allawa community, also in Shiroro County, after dislodging the military from their camp. The community had been warned not to return, but the victims had gone back to get food and subsequently were rounded up and beheaded.

Senator Alhaji Mohammed Sani Musa condemned the attack as “barbaric, heartless, and inhuman,” lamenting the helplessness of the people in the face of such violence. He questioned what the attackers want from the people, who are mostly harmless peasant farmers. The attack has left the community deserted, with many displaced and unable to return to their farms.

Boko Haram’s Sinister Plan in Shiroro

In a bid to unravel the mystery surrounding the recent attacks in Shiroro, Niger State, TruthNigeria consulted with security experts and news analysts. The consensus is that Boko Haram is the primary culprit, with a sinister plan to establish a stronghold in the region.

Navy Captain Umar Bakori (rtd) explained that Boko Haram, after being chased away from the Northeast, has settled substantial numbers of its fighters in Niger State. “The perpetrators are Boko Haram members. They had to battle hard with the military and Ansaru for control of Shiroro County.” “Ansaru and Boko Haram have been present in Shiroro since 2014 but were not visible until their defeat in the Northeast forced them to seek survival elsewhere,” Bakori said. At least 42 communities reportedly were controlled by Boko Haram by last October.

“For several years, they lay low, regrouping and re-strategizing. Now, they’re trying to establish a stronghold in Shiroro,” Captain Bakori explained.

Forced Recruitment and Intimidation

Captain Bakori explained that Boko Haram is forcing youths to join their fold or face death. “Since the group had no choice but to fight for survival, it is coercing youths into its fold or facing death.” This tactic has led to the recruitment of many young people in the region, who are then forced to carry out attacks on their own communities.

Mineral and Agricultural Assets

Captain Bakori highlighted the area’s rich mineral deposits, including gold and copper, and its fertile soil. “About 90 percent of Shiroro County’s inhabitants are farmers. If Boko Haram controls Shiroro, they’ll have access to vast lands filled with mineral deposits and agricultural land,” Bakori added. These assets would provide them with a steady source of income and resources, enabling them to sustain their terrorist activities even without doing kidnapping for ransom, he went on to say.

Targeting Christian Villages

The attacks targeted Christian villages, with over 10 churches burned down, including ECWA, Tekan, and smaller denominations. Pastor Sunday Idowu of Celestial Church confirmed that the attacked villages—Allawa, Rumace, Gaude, and Kuchi—are predominantly Christian settlements.

Though Emmanuel Umar says all religious and ethnic groups are being targeted, Idowu disagrees,

“It’s clear that Boko Haram is targeting Christians in Shiroro,” Pastor Idowu said. “They’re trying to drive us out of our homes and take over our land.”

“Right now, the only place that is safe in Shiroro is where the Hydro Electric Dam is located. Displaced persons from Christian communities are flocking into Zumba as refugees, the cleric added.

Boko Haram’s sinister plan in Shiroro is to establish a stronghold, control mineral resources and agricultural land, and target Christian villages.

Nigerian Military Understrength

The Nigerian military as it stands today is unable to defend Shiroro fully, because it is understrength and not fully equipped, according to Bakori, however, he noted that there are well trained men and women from the Vigilant Group of Nigeria( VGN), who could compliment the services of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

“We have volunteers from VGN who are on the field fighting Boko Haram and Ansaru in Niger State,  and a lot of them were killed during the last battle for Allawa and Rumace , yet the Federal  Government is not ready to integrate them into the country’s security apparatus,” Bakori said.  

Mohammed Anka, a veteran journalist also told TruthNigeria that it was the selfless sacrifices of the vigilantes that actually helped to stem the onslaught of terrorists in Shiroro County.

” It is because of the local security outfit called vigilantes that stopped Boko Haram and Ansaru from overwhelm Shiroro communities.

Mike Odeh James is a conflict Reporter covering Northern Nigeria. He writes for TruthNigeria

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