The Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), a faction of Boko Haram, formerly refered to as Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād is said to have distributed Ramadan welfare packages to some residents of Borno and Yobe states.
Reports gathered states that the package distributed by the insurgents includes rice, beans, millet, maize, sugar, spaghetti and cash gifts. The act is aimed at inducing the villagers to join forces with them and become militants.
“Imagine, they (insurgents) claimed that the gesture was aimed at assisting villagers to perform Ramadan fast and Sallah with ease and happiness, the same villagers they killed their friends and family members,” the source said.
In 2019, a report gathered by an International Crisis Group, a non-profit think tank, states that ISWAP’s approach to recruiting new fighters has proven effective over the years.
The population of its fighters had roughly doubled despite the breaking out from the Abubakar Shekau-led Boko Haram faction in 2016.
“Although its leadership has been largely ethnic Kanuri, ISWAP has recruited significantly among lacustrine communities, notably the ethnic Buduma, many of whom earn a living from fishing,”
Also the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has made similar observations. In 2019 ISS SENIOR researcher Remadji Hoinathy warned saying “As part of this approach, the ideological aspect of the crisis must be dealt with. The ability of the group to recruit is one of the biggest reasons for its expansion, and so a deeper understanding of its recruitment patterns and operating mechanisms is crucial.”
ISWAP often try to prove that it can adequately provide essential services in the areas under its control.
See photos of the distribution exercise.
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