Following a recent report by HumAngle detailing the puzzling web of an audacious network of active cells and strategic alliances by the Jama’atu Ahlil Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, otherwise known as the Abubakar Shekau faction of Boko Haram, in Northwest and North Central Nigeria, investigation has revealed that there were 400 fighters in Niger and Zamfara states by July 2020.
The figure does not include those of Ansaru, an Al-Qaeda linked group that has been operating in the Northwest and North Central for a much longer period, the HumAngle investigation further revealed.
It is not also clear how many fighters of ISWAP, Islamic West Africa Province, and other Jihadist groups in the region now using the restive Northwest region as a transit zone for arms smuggling and other criminal activities.
The 400 Boko Haram fighters, according to investigations, have Qa’ids (top commanders), Munzir (mid-level commanders) and hundreds of foot soldiers.
HumAngle also gathered that Boko Haram cells in both Niger and Zamfara are yet to have one A-K47 assault rifle per fighter, by the end of July, “but (they) are training and will soon have all they need,” said a source following the developments closely.
The group, according to an investigation by HumAngle, is on an aggressive recruitment drive in the Northwest and some neighbouring states in Niger Republic to increase the fighters in their fold.
The cells in Niger and Zamfara states are working closely to stage attacks at the scale of what is seen in the Northeast region, the investigation revealed.
New Video: Celebrating Sallah in Niger State
A video, released by the Shekau faction of Boko Haram shows members of the deadly group celebrating Eid-el-kabir in an open field in Niger State.
The five minutes video shows three of the fighters sending Sallah greetings in Hausa, Kanuri and Fulfulde; three of the most spoken languages in Northern Nigeria.
“We thank the Almighty Allah for sparing our lives to celebrate this Eid-el-Kabir peacefully,” an armed Hausa speaker said.
“We send our greetings to our brethren in different states (wilayat), especially those in Zamfara, Niger, Sambisa and Cameroon,” he added.
The footage also shows child fighters carrying guns with one of them speaking in a muted voice.
HumAngle Crisis Signaling
HumAngle had published different investigative reports showing how Boko Haram terrorists are expanding and gaining grounds in the Northwest.
In a report published in July, the paper detailed how the terror king, Abubakar Shekau, is connecting different sub-regions to establish a terror base in the entire Northern Nigeria in a puzzling expansionist agenda.
Boko Haram had released a video that confirmed HumAngle reports about Boko Haram alliances with militias in the Northwest and the North Central regions of Nigeria.
Several analysts have urged the Federal Government to take the presence of Boko Haram in the sub-regions seriously before it gets out of control.
“I won’t get tired of urging the Ffederal Government and the Niger State government to take this threat seriously.
“We shouldn’t wait until the situation gets out of control before we start running helter-skelter.
“We better nip this challenge from the bud before it grows too gigantic to be uprooted,” tweeted Audu Bulama Bukarti, an analyst with Tony Blair Institute.