Exclusive: Northern villagers reveal why Boko Haram terrorists are their “friends”

Some Northern villagers live under the protection of the dreaded terrorist group Boko Haram because of the circumstances beyond their control, winner of 2016 Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice’s Women Peacemakers Hajia Hamsatu Allamin has said.

Hajia Allamin known for her daring peacemaking in the dangerous Northeast zone told Opera News in an exclusive interview that she discovered that there was a remote community where “ there was no government presence, no police, no schools no soldiers, nothing, but the people who are mainly women and young boys stated that they are comfortable with life there.”

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It’s one of the communities greatly hit by the activities of Boko Haram, the founder of Al’amin Foundation for Peace and Development said.

According to Hajia Hamsatu Allamin who didn’t mention the name of the community said Boko Haram fighters come to the community to ask for food and money which the residents obliged since they had no option.

“They said Boko Haram fighters disturb them but when they come they ask for food or money and they will give the villagers time to organise what they asked for, after which the militants will come and take it.”

According to her, terrorists were no longer seen as strangers in the community as parents allowed their little boys to assist the insurgents in what could be described as “menial jobs.”

“Sometimes they even asked the little boys in the community to help them with the goods to the road and the boys are allowed to return afterwards. So even back then people have device means to live with the group at the time,” she told our correspondents.

The peacemaker also confirmed that terrorists had voluntarily offered themselves to the community as local security operatives.

“They inform us that when their animals were stolen, they have to report it to the Boko Haram, the Boko Haram went after those who stole the animals, retrieved it and brought it back to them” while the people of the area paid taxes in return for protection. 

The peacemaker who revealed that the villagers wanted to be under the protection of Nigerian government stated that “Boko Haram cannot guarantee safety, all the same, they have no choice and they have to live with the arrangement they have with the militants.”

She also said that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari needs to do more instead of claiming victory against the terrorist group.