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How Boko Haram recruits Niger Republic youths with $3,000- BBC Documentary

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Young Nigeriens at the border town of Nigeria
and Niger Republic, Diffa, have confessed to be
recruits of the Islamist militant group, Boko
Haram.

A member of a gang in Niger told the British
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that Boko
Haram Islamist militants from Nigeria “regularly
come across the border, looking for recruits.”

The gang members, in their 20s, said they
were paid $3,085 (about N500,000) to join the
insurgency and since they were jobless, they
were willing to take the cash, but with no
interest in protecting Sharia law.
However, they said they were willing to strike if
given the assignment to do so, as they blamed
their decision to join the militant group on their
joblessness.


“They have paid Nigerian naira ($3,085, £1,835)
to those of us who followed them over there,”
one of the young men said.


“When they come, we inform them about
what’s going on, what the security forces are
up to.

“We have no jobs; some of us are still at high
school, but we need money. Violence has
become a form of work for us.”


These confessions were revealed in a
documentary published by the BBC, on
Tuesday, after Thomas Fessy, a BBC reporter
visited Diffa region in Niger Republic.
BBC made contacts with this local gang, who
claimed they collaborated with Boko Haram
and agreed.


According to BBC documentary, five of these
young Nigeriens said they had already joined
the militant Boko Haram sect, while two other
members were killed in operations.
In total there are about a dozen gang members
in a tiny, dark room, built with local mud-
bricks.


When the reporter asked them: “If you are
asked to launch an attack here, will you be
ready to do that?”


Their response: “Yes, we are ready. We have
no job, so, we are ready. That is what we are
here for.”


When the BBC reporter asked if they agreed
with Boko Haram’s reason for fighting, they
answered in unison: “No. We only do it for the
money.”


Arriving one by one to meet the BBC crew
earlier on a street corner in Diffa, they all wore
skinny jeans, bright coloured T-shirts and shiny
chains, like those seen around the necks of
American rappers on music videos.
Their attitude and brand new clothes made
them stand out when they walked down the
dusty streets of Diffa.


The fashion style is clearly inspired by Western
consumerism rather than Islamist militancy.


“We break into houses for cash; sometimes we
beat people for money, we steal their animals
so we can eat and then we gather up and take
Tramol (an opiate drug), smoke ganja
(marijuana) and drink alcohol,” one of the gang
members said.


The BBC reporter, giving an account of his
experience at the border town, said: “At the
Sahara, there is little space to take for covers
from the storm at the village, as the first attack
by Boko Haram by its militants meant deadly
worst times for them to live in the border and
the river between Niger and Nigeria.”


He said on either side of the border, people
had enjoyed strong links for centuries, sharing
ethnicity and culture.

The report said Nigeria’s neighbouring
countries, Niger, Cameroon and Chad, were
fearful that the group’s insurgency might spill
over to their borders.

A resident told the BBC that the area was just
three kilometres away from Nigeria, expressing
his belief that the border would keep them
safe for now.
On Lake Chad, according to the documentary,
Nigerians were fleeing by boats, as the
reporter quoting from a United Nations (UN)
report, said the UN estimates that 500 people
crossed into Niger from Nigeria every week.
One of the refugees, Mutala Suleiman, who
arrived last month with his two wives and six
children, narrating his story, said: “We were
almost going to bed that night when we heard
the gunshot.” We ran to escape. A little girl was
shot as she fled the burning house.”
He said he counted 50 dead people on the
streets during the last attack.
The Diffa area, according to BBC reporter, was
suffering from growing refugee crisis without
camps and the authorities argued they could
become new targets or worse, recruitment
centres for Boko Haram.
He stated in the documentary that “Boko
Haram insurgents have shown they can hit the
Nigerian state in different ways. While raiding
villages, attacking schools and abducting
children.
To check against possible attack, the threat,
according to the report, means daily patrol
across the borders and several attacks have
been foiled over the last months, while dozens
of men suspected to be linked with Boko
Haram had been arrested.


“We know that Boko Haram members come
across the border, but we are watching them
closely,” Diffa government representative
Inoussa Saouna said.


“Just last December, we arrested two dozens of
men — we believe they were planning to
kidnap the regional governor, the military zone
commander and myself,” he added.

Military police, customs officers, as well as national guards conduct daily patrols along the porous border to mitigate the threat.

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