Nigeria: Top Civilian - JTF Official Abducted in Chibok

27 February 2020

A top official of the Civilian Joint Task Force fighting Boko Haram in Borno State has been abducted by suspected members of the terror group, C-JTF officials confirmed Thursday.

Bello Danbatta, a leader of the C-JTF, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that Mohammed Abba was abducted early Wednesday.

Mr Abba commands the C-JTF in Bambula village of Chibok local government area.

"We received the shocking news yesterday with sadness that he was taken," said Mr Danbatta Thursday morning. He said he was not aware of any other abducted member of the vigilante group.

Associates say Mr Abba has been a die-hard hunter of Boko Haram and had resisted all attempts to be compromised

According to reports on social media, the armed insurgents stormed Bambara at about 4 a.m.and began to shoot sporadically. During the shootout, many people who attempted to flee, including Mr Abba, were rounded up.

The head of the civilian JTF was abducted alongside many others who are yet to be identified.

A source said the insurgents came in through the Ajigum Talala axis believed to part of the Sambisa forest, known as an ISWAP stronghold.

A source also said the attackers went to the village specifically for Mr. Abba "because they headed straight to Abba's home and took him."

Many communities in Chibok have suffered serious attacks by the insurgents in recent months. This is the first in a long time that a member of the C-JTF would be abducted.

Since the beginning of the Boko Haram terror attacks in northeast Nigeria, more than 680 members of the Civilian-JTF, mostly youth, have been killed, the legal advisor of the group, Ibrahim Gunda, revealed recently.

Civilian-JTF came into force in 2013 at the height of the Boko Haram insurgency when innocent civilians were killed daily by the militants.

The youth of Maiduguri rose to conquer their fears in May 2013 when they began to confront the well-armed insurgents with only sticks and machetes until they forced them to flee from the centre of Maiduguri into Sambisa and other forests.

Most of the youth, mostly without any form of combat training or body protection, have laid down their lives while helping soldiers to sniff out the Boko Haram.

The Borno State government had in 2014 organised the youth security volunteers, under a legislated programme known as Borno State Youth Empowerment Scheme which ensured the youth were given some martial training, armed with light hunting rifles and patrol vehicles.

Since then, the Civilian-JTF became part of most military operations and are targeted by Boko Haram.

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