Militant group Ansaru, a faction of Boko Haram, has reportedly begun a “mass recruitment” of residents from Birnin Gwari LGA communities in Kaduna State.
According to Daily Trustthe group visited the villages of Damari, Farin Ruwa, Kwasa Kwasa, Kuyello, Gobirawa, Tabanni, Kutemeshi and Kazage on Wednesday with the aim of recruiting the villagers into their sect under the guise of celebrating Sallah with them.
The newspaper quoted locals as saying the insurgents handed them gifts from Sallah – cookies – and also performed stunts on motorbikes to entertain villagers.
The group also reportedly distributed a five-page pamphlet titled; “We are not Boko Haram but Ansaru”, flash disks and other articles about its activities in an attempt to entice locals to join them.
“Anyone who believes in Shahada and faces the Qibla to pray is considered a Muslim to us and therefore deserves protection just as we would protect ourselves and our family members,” the group reportedly said in the pamphlet. .
“We will celebrate with him in times of happiness and mourn with him in times of sadness. He is free from our evil and we are not going to hand him over to his enemies.
“Laying bombs in markets, mosques and car parks, among others, is not what we believe in because in these places the majority of the victims are the poor. We are not for materialism because if that was what we wanted, we would have stayed in our parents’ house to enjoy the world. We are also not seeking positions or supporting any political party or tribe or anything in the world.
A resident reportedly said the presence of the militant group would deter bandits from attacking their communities.
“They visited Kuyello, Tabanni, Kutemeshi area and also my village which is Kazage to join people in celebrating Sallah,” the resident said.
“They participated in motorbike stunts within the communities; no one was hurt and they warned against dangerous play. They also preached and shared cookies to the people.
“With their presence, the bandits will not dare to attack our communities.”
Muhammadu Isa, a resident of Kuyello, reportedly said that many young people had expressed interest in joining the group.
“There are certain communities where Ansaru members allow residents access to their farms and keep residents on the farms,” Isa said.