While we pray and hope that the quest for relevance in world politics won’t drive nations to a nuclear war, Cameroon says the war of guns and bombs against Boko Haram can definitely end in victory.
The combined effort from Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon is getting a boost from Paul Biya‘s men who are using witchcraft to make themselves invincible.
Biya made an SOS call in 2016, advising his soldiers and militia fighters to get help from sorcerers against Boko Haram. Lucky charms and talismans from marabouts are believed to be effective in a war of guns and bombs “until proven powerless in death”.
According to an official report from Biya’s government, over 1,500 Cameroonians have died in the war, and more than 155,000 people have fled their homes to stay alive.
A local fighter named Ahmed Mohamad says his protection comes from witchcraft.
“Since I have this gris-gris, I have no problem,” the Mora native said.
Ahmed, a gym teacher who is now a militia fighter, says he wears his voodoo bag around the neck or waist. Among the objects contained in his black magic bag are: some pieces of paper with inscriptions from the Bible, Quran and other religions.
“It is so powerful,” Ahmed said of the charm which are also used by women as contraceptives in most African countries.
He however confessed that he has never been shot to test the effectiveness of his charms though there’s no need to doubt its powers.
“I put it on at the moment I go into the field of fighting. The fetish protects its wearer. If someone shoots at you, the bullets have no effect. They fall on the ground like small pebbles,” he added.
The bloody war against Boko Haram, an affiliate to ISIS, has been on for years. And Nigeria has soft-pedaled in its front-line position following a series of in-fighting among soldiers and corruption in government.
Meanwhile, a water-tight cooperation among Chad, Nigeria, and Cameroon, has been the most effective measure – not excluding Biya’s spiritual approach, against the die-hard terrorists.
Commercial routes between Nigeria and Cameroon which were previously closed to cut down on an alarming increase in suicide attacks and kidnapping, have now been reopened. Some displaced citizens, including natives from Ahmed’s Mora community, have returned to their normal lives.
An unnamed 32-year-old woman who survived a bloody raid in her community said some Boko Haram fighters attacked her village one morning but she was able to escape with her 9-month-old baby.
Unfortunately, her husband was murdered in their home while she watched, a few minutes before soldiers arrived their location.
“They murdered my husband before our eyes,” said the unnamed woman from Kerawa who now lives in Mora. “Then they raped my neighbor before setting fire to the whole village. Soldiers on patrol saved us.”
Boko Haram changed its tactics since suffering shortage in human and material resources. They resorted to kidnapping and using underage girls strapped with explosives.
“We expect every village to have brilliant actions in this direction,” said Midjiyawa Bakari, a governor in northern Cameroon who believes there’s a lot more to do notwithstanding the victory.
“We want to hear that this or that village has wiped out or limited the sect’s damage through witchcraft. Fight for your country,” Bakari encouraged his countrymen to continue with witchcraft and whatever means there is.
Last December, Nigeria announced its victory over Boko Haram in the Sambiza forest.
A report from AFP quotes Issa Tchiroma Bakary, a spokesman for the government of Cameroon, as saying on Tuesday that hundreds of kidnapped persons have been freed in a fierce battle within the week.
Boko Haram lost over 100 men in the onslaught, and 30 arrested jihadists have been sent back to Nigeria’s government.
“Hundreds of freed hostages have been sent back,” Tchiroma said.
The government spokesman bemoaned a deadly blast in December which killed a soldier, adding that another two brave officers died in active service.