BOKO Haram militants on the run in Borno State have resorted to cannibalism in an attempt to stay alive as they have been cut off from towns and villages following recent assaults on them by Nigeria's military.
Over the last two months, Nigeria's joint task force (JTF) stepped up its attacks on Boko Haram, dislodging them from their numerous strongholds. As a result, many have fled into the Magumeri Forest in northern Borno State and have to eat one another to stay alive as they have no access to food and water.
Magumeri Forest is about 150 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital and JTF operatives have cordoned off all the possible escape routes. Momodu Bukar, one suspected militant who managed to get away, said that he fled the camp when it became obvious that he was going to be eaten.
Bukar said: “I thank God that I escaped because I would have been slaughtered by now to provide meal for my colleagues at the camp. Our group, consisting of about 300 well armed combatants, headed for Magumeri on the orders of the sect leader, Abubakar Shekau, shortly before the military took over Marte Camp.
"We have been wandering in the forest. We have exhausted our food and water supplies and so, everybody became hungry.”
Arrested by members of the youth vigilante group, popularly known as the civilian JTF in Maiduguri, Bukar added that he and his colleagues have been in the forest since May, when they were dislodged from Marte by the JTF. He said that they lost contact with Shekau due to the closure of GSM services by the Nigerian military.
Bukar added: “It all started last Monday when three of the combatants in camp died of acute hunger and it became obvious that all of us will die if action was not taken. The leader of the group, Abu Omar, directed that a non-combatant member be slaughtered to provide meal for the rest.
“The meat provided a meal for just two days and another person was killed in the same manner on Wednesday. So, it became certain that I might be the next person since I am also a non-combatant member.”
He pointed out that he escaped after volunteering to help search for drinking water for the group in a nearby village. Bukar said he then running until he arrived at Magumeri town, where he slept in the motor park before boarding a vehicle to Maiduguri with the little money he had on him.
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