The Nigerian Army said it has uncovered a plot by Boko Haram insurgents to win public sympathy through the unconditional and voluntary release of cattle, they hitherto rustled from the owners in the northeast.
In a statement, the Army’s Deputy Director on Public Relations, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, said the Theater Commander, Major-General Benson Akinroluyo, raised the alarm while addressing troops of Sector 2 during a three-day operational tour conducted between January thirty-first and February second.
The army said the insurgents invented deceit by first stealing the cattle and later returning same to their owners to win the confidence and support of locals in the North East by deceitfully creating the impression of Good Samaritan and presenting themselves as protector of the people.
Nwachukwu described the gimmick as dangerous ploy, stressing that the trend must be checked to avoid escalation. He tasked the troops to prevent any form of cattle rustling by the insurgents, noting that they now used it as a means of psychological warfare to make the locals see them in positive light and be receptive to their ideology.
The commander also called on community and opinion leaders to educate members of their communities on the development.