The uncovered ammunition grave in Borno poses a larger question—How does Boko Haram get its funds?
The latest discovery made by the Nigerian army in a village in Borno state is a grave containing ammunition that is reportedly worth over N20 million. During a press briefing, Major General Leo Irabor noted that this “monumental recovery” was in conjunction with the Civilian Joint Task Force, who led them to the grave following a tip-off.
During the operation, the Nigerian army claims that they were able to recover “36 boxes of .50MM, a 5/20 lethal brief case, a mixture of 7.62 mm NATO and 7.62mm special, a 1/81 NATO tube, five AK-47 rifles, grenades, mortar bombs, a generator, Hilux van and several motorcycles.” According to Irabor, the arms and ammunition discovered by the army were enough to destroy a trained battalion. In addition to the missiles recovered, the army reportedly gunned down a few Boko Haram terrorists as well.
Irabor stated that this discovery has confirmed the military’s earlier knowledge that Boko Haram operates several underground logistic bases in Borno state and its environs. This lends credence to the statement in Premium Times by Sani Usman (the Acting Director, Army Public relations), who said that the Nigerian army recently uncovered Boko Haram’s food storage. “To save for the rainy day, the terrorists had underground food storage facilities where they stocked large quantity of foodstuffs,” Sani said in his statement.
With the recent discoveries, it is quite obvious that Boko Haram couldn’t have been able to get funds for food or sophisticated arms and ammunition without some external support or funding from an organization or country with an interest in their nefarious activities.
In 2014, Terrence McCoy, a writer at the Independent, explored how the Boko Haram terrorist group gets their capital. In his article, he noted that although analysts say the funding process for Boko Haram is “intricate and opaque,” based on a survey of academic, governmental and journalistic accounts, Boko Haram funds are largely linked to “black market dealings, local and international benefactors, the al-Qaeda and other well-funded groups in the Middle East.” Although there are speculations that some wealthy Islamic extremists may be involved in providing funds, weaponry and information to the terrorists group, it has not yet been confirmed.
Therefore, McCoy’s observation may explain why Boko Haram, which has pledged its allegiance to ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is in possession of modern and largely uncommon weaponry that can wipe out their opponents.
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