hearts the terrorists as the mere mention of her name rings a bell in
the camp of insurgents. In this outstanding report by Rosie Collyer, published by the Guardian, details of the strong woman is revealed for all.
militants attacked their village, Daggu. Three local people were shot
dead and cars, houses and food stores set ablaze.
schoolgirls were abducted in April 2014. Both villages are in the region
of Borno state in north-eastern Nigeria, which has become all too
familiar with such attacks by the world’s deadliest terrorist group.
still operate despite a military offensive last year that destroyed many
of their major camps. She used to hunt antelopes, baboons and guinea
fowl with her grandfather. Now she hunts Boko Haram.
by the military on an ad hoc basis. But Bakari Gombi is one of only a
handful of women involved and she has become a heroine for hunters and
local people alike. Her gallantry has won her the title “queen hunter”.
is Muslim but also believes in traditional spirits. One of her rituals
is to douse fellow hunters with a secret potion to protect them from
numbers remain low nationwide, in this region some women have very
personal reasons for joining the counterinsurgency. One of those is
Hamsat Hassan, whose sister was kidnapped by Boko Haram two years ago.
She has not been seen since.
Association in a town also called Gombi, but all I knew was that I
wanted to avenge the people who abducted my sister,” she says.
with other jobs, Bakari Gombi and Hassan are among the 228 male and
female hunters who were recruited on a more formal basis last year by a
local government official.
hunters had stopped. Two months later most of the team had pulled out of
the programme, though some, including Bakari Gombi and Hassan, remained
committed to the fight.
though Boko Haram is regrouping in the surrounding areas, the collapse
of the programme and lack of funds have left them unable to tackle the
difficulty. In December a group of Nigerian soldiers uploaded a video to
YouTube in which they appealed for equipment, food and water.
former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, is due to stand trial
for allegedly stealing £1.8bn allocated for weapons to fight Boko Haram.
counterinsurgency efforts, no matter how under-resourced they may be.
those women and children from Daggu, but I don’t know if they will give
us more arms,” says Bakari Gombi. Whether or not she receives the
weapons she requires, she vows that her mission to root out Boko Haram
from the forest in which she grew up will continue.