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Inside Boko Haram 8: How To Identify Boko Haram Members




By Adeyemi Olalemi

There have been speculations over the true picture of a Boko Haram member, especially among larger number of people who are sitting afar to observe the situation in the northeast, Boko Haram most ravaged region. Considering the barbaric activities of the terrorists which included bombing and killing of innocent people, kidnapping of women and schoolgirls, many wondered if the Boko Haram terrorists were humans or monsters.

Even when the acclaimed Boko Haram leader, Abubarka Shekau appeared on Youtube claiming terror attacks and threatening people and the Nigerian Government, It is still baffling how they have decided as humans to take up arms against fellow humans. Boko Haram’s incessant attacks on civilians and security operatives suggested that their cruelty against fellow humans knows no bound as they have killed over 25,000 people and destroyed properties worth trillions of Naira in the last 6 years.

READ ALSO: Inside Boko Haram 7: Real Reasons Boko Haram Won’t Stop Striking

Most shocking to everyone across the globe was how terrorists resorted to suicide bombing. It seems unfathomable how they will prefer to kill others and then, themselves. The argument that the terrorists were brainwashed to carry out suicide bombing in order for them to get 72 virgins in heaven is unreasonable to the sane minds. They appear like aliens who reason differently from the rest of human race, they have become the enemies of the world, from America to Syria, Nigeria to Libya, terrorists are known for mass destruction and have no regard for human lives.

Unraveling the persons of the so called Boko Haram terrorists which is troubling Nigeria’s northeast region, fact-finding trip to Boko Haram most ravaged towns in Adamawa state gave a rare peep into the activities and characteristics of the Boko Haram terrorists.

Skinny Terrorists

Identifying_BH1 (1)Describing their looks, Deaconess Jingi Gela, who was held by Boko Haram for two days before escaping, said Boko haram terrorists were skinny and of average height, with most of them speaking Hausa fluently. This is evident in the Youtube videos released by the terrorists.

Long Hairs and Beards

Boko Haram do not shave, as a result, they possess long and dirty hairs and beards, a resident of Mubi, one of the towns captured by Boko Haram, said they hardly had time to shave, so they keep their hairs and beards.

The single act of Boko Haram terrorists leaving their beards may have changed the orientation of Muslims in the northeast as many Muslims in the region don’t keep their beards anymore. Leaving their beards makes them prone to arrest or harassment by the military who believed they might be Boko Haram suspects. It has become a criterion for identifying terrorists at Military checkpoints.

Enemy of Water, Always Dirty To Do Evil

Boko Haram terrorists are known to look very dirty. ”They rarely had a full bath“, a former Boko Haram hostage revealed. It was further gathered that Boko Haram terrorists detest water; they usually avoid getting close to river. This is presumed to be because of the black magic (Juju) they use in some of their activities. Water can render the charms ineffective. It was gathered that Boko Haram terrorists always avoid towns that are surrounded by rivers.

No Ablution, Unlike Other Muslims

While preparing for the Islamic prayers, unlike other Muslims, Boko Haram terrorists don’t do ablution; they neither wash their hands, face, nor legs. They go into the prayers looking dirty. This was their practice in Mubi town, Adamawa state, gathered.

BH Tattoo

Apart from Boko Haram identifying feature which looked natural, the terrorists also made frantic effort to tattoo themselves as a means of identifying their members. It was perhaps the most shocking revelation about identifying Boko Haram members.

The terrorists had tattoos on their bodies with the inscription “BH” which apparently means Boko Haram. There are two tattoos on their bodies, one at the back of the neck (cervical) and other on the ribs just below the armpit. This was part of Boko Haram initiation process. Many youths who joined them in Mubi town were tattooed with this marks, Locals said.

Terrorists were believed to be very interested in showing off these tattoos as they tore the portion of their cloths where this marks were to make it visible to their victims and hostages.

Military Camouflage and Turban

Identifying_BH2Military camouflage and turban is common among Boko Haram terrorists, especially the commanders. The Boko Haram commanders wear military camouflage when they are about to launch an attack. Jonathan who experienced Mubi invasion by terrorists said Boko Haram members who invaded were wearing military camouflage and turban. Turban is a traditional Muslim headdress, a long scarf wrapped around the head.

Distinguishable Riffle Sounds

Also noteworthy among features that distinguish Boko Haram members on the battlefield was the sound of their guns. Boko Haram guns sound differently from other guns. Investigations revealed that the guns used by Boko Haram are called Staline rifle, this gun changes tone when in use, it has chains used to store bullets and it is more sophisticated than AK47. During the Mubi invasion; terrorists used the sound of their rifle to alert their members who had already infiltrated the town. It was one of their ingenious strategies that gave Mubi and other neighbouring villages to them in just 20 minutes.

They Are Humans with Flesh And Blood

Returning from Mubi to Yola, team saw first-hand, the military, arresting four suspected Boko Haram terrorists, as aptly described earlier, the terrorists were dirty, rough and with long beards.

This may finally lay to rest, doubts on whether these ragtag Boko Haram terrorists are really humans, aliens, or invisible. This is insight into what Boko Haram had looked like in most of their attacks; they are humans and possess their own characteristics.

Click to read next episode: “Inside Boko Haram 9: Not All terrorists Are Muslims”

READ ALSO: Inside Boko Haram 1: Fact-finding Trip To Boko Haram Most Ravaged Towns In Adamawa State






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