ISWAP IN MASSIVE RECRUITMENT OF FEMALE MUJAHIDEENS, TO BE DEPLOYED AS SPIES IN NORTHEAST NIGERIA
Sources have revealed that desperate Boko Haram/ISWAP units have turned to coercive tactics of recruiting vulnerable women and girls for information-gathering activities in North-East Nigeria.
The sources said caution should be applied around villages in the axis of Monguno town where ISWAP is successfully recruiting and deploying girls and women to obtain information on security and military activities. The sources further indicated that these most vulnerable women are forced to travel to Monguno town on a weekly basis with some staying in locations given as GGSS IDP camp.
Sources confirmed that recently, some women were spotted moving into the GGSS IDP camp for information onward gathering mission.
The tactical advantage of using women, according to the same sources, is to evade suspiciousness by vigilant Nigerian Army ground troops in these locations.
Traditionally, girls and women have not been considered to pose the same threat as boys and men in the theatre of war. And their ability to gather valuable information useful for jihadist planning of soft and hard target attacks has been generally undermined.
Another set of women were deployed through Bulgaram town to Cikka and then Gamburo-Ngala town. It was noted that recent attacks on the Monguno-Maiduguri road and Ngala Dikwa road were not un-connected to some
of the key information obtained and dispatched by a specialised group of women recruited by Boko Haram ISWAP.
In counter-insurgency operations where Boko Haram ISWAP jihadist factions are constantly monitoring changing behaviour and responses of state forces on the theatre of operations, gender blindness is key at all levels of engagement.
It is imperative for security and military forces to take all necessary measures to ensure that men, boys, girls, and women who loiter and in and out of IDP camps in both Monguno and Ngala and other areas, are constantly monitored and questioned when their movements are outside routine.
The questioning and treatment of all suspected vulnerable individuals should be within the demands of their human rights and dignity. Women, girls or men and boys should not be targeted by state forces simply because of their gender. Winning hearts and minds is key to any successful counterinsurgency strategy in Northern Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin.
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David Otto is the Director for Stepped In – Step Out UK Ltd and a Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Expert. He is a Certified Anti -Terrorism Specialist (CAS), a Certified Master Anti -Terrorism Specialist (CMAS) and a programme trainer with the Anti -Terrorism Accreditation Board (ATAB). Twitter @ottotgs Email: David.firstname.lastname@example.org.