INTELLIGENCE: HERDSMEN IN DANGER AS BOKO HARAM/ISIS STRATEGISE ON KIDNAP, KILLINGS, AND TAXATION OF CATTLEMEN DURING UPCOMING FESTIVE PERIOD
Highly calculating Boko Haram ISWAP units are actively setting up kidnap for ransom plans, execution of uncompromising herders, forced taxation of middlemen/cattle owners and cattle rustling, violent tactics on local communities and all volatile roads leading to Maiduguri metropolis.
These techniques are set to increase as demand for cattle products rises during the upcoming December 2020 festive period.
Sources say jihadist understand that most herders ( usually of the Fulani ethnic clan) do not own the cattle but are tasked to graze them by wealthy Fulanis, Kanuris and Shuwa Arab owners. The Fulani herders who do not comply are mostly targeted by Boko Haram ISWAP units, and their cattle rustled.
The middlemen who broker the sales of cattle on behalf of cattle owners are targeted for ransom and forced taxation. Cattle owners are also forced to pay regular direct or indirect ‘ransom’ taxes or risk losing their cattle - the main source of their wealth.
To avoid suffering loses, cattle owners pay protection fees to various Boko Haram ISWAP units so the Jihadists can allow them to do business.
The high consumption of cattle products in Maiduguri and other Northern states has created a viable source of funding for Boko Haram ISWAP unit to exploit for operational survival. This forced taxation trend has pushed the price of cattle up and is seriously impacting on consumers affordability.
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Sources say an average cow is retailed at approximately 200,000 Naira ( depends on the size) and Boko Haram units are taxing cattle owners no less than 3000 Naira per cattle transported via the Maiduguri- Monguno road.
Funds from rustled cattle and regular funds generated from the compliance of middlemen linked to Boko Haram ISWAP units — the cattle business is no doubt one of the most successful streams of funds for Boko Haram ISWAP and organised criminal groups.
Intelligence Tips — Extreme vigilance should be observed by all legitimate cattle stakeholders during this approaching festive period of high demand for cattle products. All the inter-agency state and local security services should be proactive and liaise with legitimate cattle traders operating in towns and villages along Monguno and Maiduguri. —The aim is to build trust and confidence necessary for timely information sharing on suspicious activities in the cattle trade and surveillance of the unregulated cattle market activities.
Regular mixed security armed patrol along the long stretched Maiduguri-Monguno road will reduce jihadist and criminals using the road to raise funds, but caution is required as the risk of ambush attacks on security personnel is high.
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