GOVERNOR Babagana Zulum of Borno State has raised a fresh alarm over the resurgence of terrorism in the country warning that Boko Haram has now resorted to recruiting young militants from internally displaced persons (IDP) camps.
Since 2009, Boko Haram has been fighting a war of insurgency against the Nigerian state and at one stage, it controlled eight local government areas in Borno State and shared control in about 21. Although the Nigerian Army has since regained control of most of this territory, Boko Haram is still operational and mounts periodic attacks on villages, towns and military facilities across Borno State.
As a result of the insurgency, Nigeria now has the highest number of IDPs in the world, with about 2.7m people living in makeshift camps across the country. Boko Haram has now begun targeting these camps that are located in the northeast as it seeks recruits for what appears to be a planned renewal of its attacks.
Governor Zulum said: “It is true Boko Haram are recruiting people into their fold and this is frightening. My fear is about those at the IDPs camps because if they don’t go back to their villages to farm and do other things, they will end up becoming members of the Boko Haram.
“The people are tired of staying at IDPs camps because they are not getting what they want and they must go back to their villages so that they can go to the farms, as well as continue with their livestock business. So far, we have been able to return some people back to their areas, as for instance, we have resettled those who are from Kukawa and Mafa local governments.”
Speaking during a BBC interview, Governor Zulum expressed his fear that the situation might worsen if the government failed to act quickly as many of the IDPs might end up becoming Boko Haram recruits. He added that urgent action needed to be taken.