Vigilantes: the force against Boko Haram

The Nigerian paramilitaries are a crucial force against the terrorist group

Vigilantes: the force against Boko Haram

The war against Boko Haram in Nigeria has been happening for nearly 15 years. Recently, this group, loyal to ISIS, is becoming stronger and taking some international relevance; the kidnapping of the 270 girls from Chibok back in 2014 generated international repudiation.

Since then, this armed group has attacked churches, towns, universities, markets, and even mosques, either through bombs or by military action in Nigeria and also in some other countries like Chad, Cameroon, and Niger.

Leer en español: Vigilantes: la fuerza que combate a Boko Haram

However, the Nigerian army hasn’t been able to dismantle the rebel group by themselves. Nearly 26,000 combatants of the “Vigilantes” group, a paramilitary army who fights against Boko Haram in the northeast of Nigeria, have helped the State’s fighting force to expel the Islamic group from several towns. The group “Civilian Join Task Force”, or better known as the Vigilantes, was born in 2013 in Maiduguri, capital of Chibok. It was founded by civil Nigerians in order to regain control of the regions Boko Haram had taken over.

Despite the efficiency of the group in battle, many human rights NGOs accused the Vigilantes of crimes, like extortion, rape, and many others. The leaders of said group assured that those are just a “few bad people” and emphasize the price they have had to pay, around 670 Vigilantes dead in combat, in order to keep their country safe.

The majority of the Vigilantes are unemployed and within the legal working age of the country. This is why the CJTF is asking the Government to pay them salaries becoming an official a paramilitary group.

Many experts are afraid of the Vigilante’s power. It may become a serious problem the day Boko Haram is defeated. With a paramilitary group that controls a vast territory in the country and military forces that showed their limitations of controlling the Muslim north, the consequences can be devastating.


Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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