Boko Haram forcefully conscripting hundreds of youth in Gwoza, Bama, killing those who refuse to enlist
by Hamza Idris
Boko Haram militants are believed to be training middle aged men who are trapped in Bama, Gwoza and surrounding villages, opinion leaders have said.
Leader of the Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has declared Gwoza the headquarters of his “Islamic Caliphate” after sporadic attacks forced away local authorities, security establishments, the first class emir and many others.
Hundreds of others who could not flee were held hostage. The situation is the same in Bama as well as in more than 15 local government areas in Borno State.
Community leaders told our correspondent in Borno that dozens of trapped residents in Bama and Gwoza who refused to be “enlisted” for the training on arms handling were killed by Boko Haram commanders.
“I am sad to inform you that the delay by Nigerian authorities to recover Bama and Gwoza from the terrorists is leading to something else,” said Mustapha Musa, a community leader in Bama who is now taking refuge in Maiduguri.
“For now, a lot of our people trapped in Bama have been moved into a camp in Gwoza where they are forcefully undergoing special training on terrorism, in fact, some have been cajoled to accept the doctrine of the insurgents.”
Asked how he got his information since he was taking refuge in Maiduguri, Musa said: “Some people escaped from Bama on Friday when soldiers from Cameroon invaded the town and came with the story.”
Emmanuel queried the rationale behind leaving major towns under the control of the Boko Haram, saying: “We are fully aware that both Bama and Gwoza were taken over by the insurgents long before Mubi, but I am still confused as to how Mubi was rescued. Is it because it is the hometown of the Chief of Defence Staff?”
About 20 local government areas of Borno State are currently under the control of Boko Haram, forcing over two million people to relocate to Maiduguri, the state capital and other locations, according to the deputy governor, Zanna Umar Mustapha.