PRO-GOVERNMENT MILITIAS IN COUNTERINSURGENCY IN NORTHEAST NIGERIA: ROLES AND OPERATIONAL CHALLENGES
ABSTRACT: The intensification of the insurgent hostilities of the Islamic fundamentalist in northeast Nigeria since 2009 have witnessed the deliberate mobilization of community based militia groups in the counterinsurgency operation. The militia that are in support of the government and the security agencies were largely armed with mundane weapons but yet lacks technical training of armed warfare and military combat of confronting the highly equipped rivals. However, since their participation, they allegedly succeeded to reduce both attack frequencies and fatalities from both the public and state security sides. Identifying with successes, most communities in the northeast pointed out the militias as indefatigable warriors. This study therefore investigated through qualitative case approach the roles and the operational challenges of the militias in the counterinsurgency operation. The qualitative data was collected through in-depth face to face interview with key informants involving both community members, the militia participants and local authorities in the northeast. The study confirmed the incredible roles of the militia in the combat operation. Equipped with their terrain knowledge of physical and topographic structure of the northeast coupled with their vital human intelligence function such as personal knowledge of the insurgent fighters, collaborators and local supply routes, they successfully the counter the insurgent rebellion. Others are the financial and insurance issues, shelter and training among the challenges bedeviling the militia operation.