Extremist sect, Boko Haram, has launched a special squad of kidnappers that will target members of the public for ransoms, the military Joint Task Force in Borno state warned on Sunday.
The JTF advised members of the public in a statement to be on high alert as "a special kidnapping squad has been earmarked and tasked by Boko Haram Sect to kidnap persons who could be wealthy."
Those likely to be targeted are politicians, business person, traditional rulers, senior civil servants and foreigners alike, the JTF said.
The military force said the group was getting desperate after intense security measures made it increasingly difficult for the sect and other criminals to conduct successful bank robbery operations in Borno State.
"Intelligence available to the Task Force has indicated that Boko Haram terrorists have resolved to concentrate more on kidnappings than robbery. They alleged that kidnapping is more lucrative, less dangerous and requires short time to plan and execute," the statement read.
The task force has therefore asked members of the public to wary and security conscious.
"The public are advised to avoid or be very sensitive to strangers and friends that have not been in contact for long. Additionally, members of the public are also warned to avoid isolated areas and shun meetings or friendship organized through telephones or social media," said the statement.
The warning came days after international news agency, Reuters, quoted a government document indicating that the violent sect received half a billion naira in exchange for the release of the French family of seven captured in Cameroun in February.
The JTF advised the public to contact its personnel with the following numbers if alarmed:
080 - 64174066, 070 - 65464012, 081 - 54429346 and 081 - 42333138; they are operational 24/7.