Women Join “Civilian JTF” to Hunt Boko Haram Members in Maiduguri
The hunt for Boko Haram suspects by youth groups in Borno and Yobe state received a boost as many girls and women joining the youth volunteer groups also known as “Civilian JTF” in the hunt for Boko Haram suspects in Maiduguri.
This is coming days after reported cases of suspected members of the Boko Haram sect deploying women or disguising as women to wreak havoc, Our correspondent who went round Maiduguri metropolis, yesterday, saw girls and women, aged between 15 and 30 carrying swords, daggers, knives and sticks.
They stop and search vehicles and pedestrians together with their male counterparts. About ten girls were seen along Shehu Laminu way, five at West End roundabouts and more than 25 at various checkpoints mounted by the “civilian JTF” along Baga road.
Whenever a vehicle is stopped, the women volunteers check their womenfolk while men check men and when the vehicle is “certified” the driver is allowed to go. Both private and commercial vehicles are not spared in the operation even as the checkpoints mounted by the youths far outnumber that of security operatives.
“We joined the civilian JTF in order to be searching females. A woman can search any other woman anywhere and nobody can raise eyebrows,” said Halima, a girl of about 17 years, who was seen around Ramat Square.
Halima said she was not afraid at all and had participated in raiding some houses at Kumshe ward.
“Securing Maiduguri is now a collective responsibility, irrespective of age, gender or status. The safer the town, the better for all of us,” she said.
Another girl, Saratu said she suspended working as a sales girl in order to take part in the routine patrol being undertaken by civilians.
It was gathered that on Saturday, over 120 young vigilantes, whom the Joint Task Force (JTF) said should be addressed as” patriotic citizens” had stormed “Libya” a red spot close to Jajeri in the outskirt of Maiduguri.
Security sources said the youths had succeeded in recovering an AK47 rifle and some shallow graves at a house.
Meanwhile, Daily Trust observed that hawkers of weapons such as swords, bows and arrows and knives now make brisk business in Maiduguri as a result of high patronage by the “civilian JTF.”
Before the emergence of the youth groups, it was not possible to see anyone selling daggers in the open but our correspondent saw some middle aged men peddling them about.
One of the hawkers who was seen around Wulari but declined to give his name said his sales had risen by 0ver 80 percent.
“The price of sword has also gone up from N250 to N350 or more,” he said. Inside the Baga Market, blacksmiths were also seen making knives and swords and one of them said there was sharp increase in demand.
Barrister Usman Sani, a legal practitioner said there was the need to control the proliferation of such weapons in the hands of the youths.
“If authorities did not take the right measures now, we would find ourselves confronted with another serious dilemma in the nearest future,” he said.
Spokesman of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Lt Col. Sagir Musa had in an interview with newsmen at the weekend called on parents to also assist authorities in regulating the activities of the youth vigilante groups.
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