Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
The military said it has uncovered a new tactic of deception by Boko Haram insurgents deployed to win the confidence of the local people by playing “a good Samaritan” to them.
The new tactic according to the theatre command, Operation Lafiya Dole, would help Boko Haram rustle cattle in some communities in the North East and then return the rustled cattle to the owner later, creating the impression that they (insurgents) are good and helpful to the people.
“Boko Haram terrorists now engage in cattle rustling and later return the rustled cattle to their owners, thereby deceitfully creating the impression of “the Good Samaritan” and presenting themselves as “protector of the people,” spokesman of the operation, Col Onyema Nwachukwu quoted the Theatre Commander, Maj Gen Benson Akinroluyo as saying in a statement issued on Sunday.
He said Gen Akinroluyo revealed the insurgents’ strategy while addressing troops in the operation during a tour of the theatre weekend. “Theatre Commander Operation LAFIYA DOLE has uncovered the employment of deception by Boko Haram terrorists to win the confidence and support of locals in the North East,” he said in the statement.
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He described the gimmick as a dangerous ploy that must be nipped in the bud, before it spiraled out of control. He urged troops to prevent any form of cattle rustling by the insurgents, as “it is now being used as a means of psychological warfare to make the locals see them in positive light and be receptive to their ideology.”
The military appealed to community and opinion leaders to educate members of their communities on the development. He urged them to be vigilant and not fall for the “wiles of the terrorists.”
He said it was a fact that cattle rustling by insurgents had been identified as a means of raising funds for their terror activities. However, he said cattle rustling had been invented by the terrorists was another form for psychological warfare by first stealing the cattle and later returning same to their owners to make the locals believe they were pious and possibly turn blind eyes to their nefarious activities.
He also urged the youth not to be persuaded to join the terrorist group even as he described Boko Haram as an enemy of the people.