Boko Haram Fighters Turn to Cannibalism in Nigerian Forest
Wed, August 28, 2013
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. The Nigerian army reports that Shekau may have died from wounds inflicted in a recent gun battle with the military but there are no independent reports of his death.
Members of the violent Nigerian Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, who have been chased into the Magumeri forest have reportedly begun to eat each other after being stranded for days without food or water. Magumeri forest is approximately 150 kilometres from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
Mallam Momodu Bukar, a suspected member of the outlawed sect told reporters in Maiduguri that the group was beginning to slaughter non-combatant members to provide food for the fighters. He fled the forest camp when he realized that he might be next in line. "I thank God that I escaped because I would have been slaughtered by now to provide meals for my colleagues at the camp," Bukar said.
He said that the Boko Haram sect members had been in the forest since May, after being kicked out of the Marte Local Government Area by the Joint Task Force called “Operation Restore Order” after a state of emergency had been declared in Nigeria.
"Our group, consisting of about 300 well-armed combatants, headed for Magumeri on the orders of the sect leader, Abubakar Shekau, shortly before the military took over Camp Marte. We have been wandering in the forest. We have exhausted our food and water supply, and so, everybody became hungry," Bukar narrated.
The group had lost contact with Shekau due to the closure of GSM services by the Defense Headquarters.
"It all started last Monday," he continued, "when three of the combatants in camp died of acute hunger, and it became obvious that all of us would die if action was not taken. The leader of the group, Abu Omar, directed that a non-combatant member be slaughtered to provide meals for the rest. The meat provided meal for the combatants for just two days and another person was killed in the same manner on Wednesday. So, it became certain that I might be the next person since I am also a non-combatant member," he said.
Bukar escaped and fled the forest after he volunteered to help search for drinking water for the group in a nearby village.
"I left the camp on Thursday evening after agreeing to fetch water from the village. After leaving the camp, I started running until I arrived at Magumeri town, so I slept in the motor park before boarding a vehicle to Maiduguri with little money on me," he said.
Bukar says he was caught immediately after his arrival at the motor park in Maiduguri by a youth vigilante group, that was formed to fight the terrorist organization.
An official of the vigilante group, Mallam Ajid Asheik, said the suspect would be handed to the Joint Task Force on Operation Restore Order (ORO) for investigation.
Boko Haram (literally, Western education is forbidden), is an Islamist terrorist group that targets churches, schools and even mosques that don’t support their agenda. Killings by the group surpassed 12,000 victims just last week.