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Boko Haram: FG to decide on mercenaries, says military

The Nigerian military says the country’s civilian government will decide if mercenaries will be hired to assist the military in the fight against Boko Haram.

Last week, Boko Haram slaughtered 40 farmers while working on a rice field an incident that led to renewed calls for the country to hire mercenaries to assist in the fight against Boko Haram.

Babagana Zulum, governor of Borno, had earlier made the call when he hosted a federal government delegation that visited him over the killings.

At a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, John Eneche, military spokesman, said it was up to Nigerians and the civilian authorities to contract a private army.

He reportedly responded to a question asked by PUNCH at the briefing.

“Request or proposal to engage mercenaries, that is at a very high level. The kind of armed forces and security agencies you have now is normally determined by the people,” he was quoted to have said.

”It (engagement of mercenaries) is not in our powers. It is a kind of force package; it is what the government wants. It is not for the military to begin to contend.

“No armed forces anywhere will tell the people, ‘this is how we want to operate.’ The legislators, the National Security Council, will decide on it.”

Nigeria has been wagging a military campaign against the Islamist group Boko Haram since 2009 with limited success. In the run-up to the 2015 general elections, the country hired some 250 mercenaries to help provide security during the elections.

Boko Haram has emerged as a serious threat in Nigeria. More than 3,700 people have been killed since Buhari took office on May 29, according to a report from the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law. Since then, more than 100 have died in suicide bombings in Borno and Yobe states.



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