Nigeria’s secret white army credited with beating back Boko Harem
Nigeria is turning the tide against Boko Harem the old fashioned way. They are using white mercenaries, largely from South Africa. Since the 1960’s, African leaders have relied on white mercenary armies to bail them out of bad situations.
Boko Harem controls the state of Borno in northwest Nigeria. Now there are widespread eyewitness accounts of white soldiers moving through the area, fighting Boko Harem at night. Nigerian authorities admit to having South African military contractors in the area.
The mercenaries “are in the vanguard in the liberation of some of the communities,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
A senior Western diplomat confirmed that the South Africans were playing “a major operational role,” particularly at night. Equipped with night-vision goggles, the mercenaries “are whacking them in the evening hours,” the diplomat said.
“The next morning the Nigerian Army rolls in and claims success,” the diplomat added.
“They are on the ground; I have seen them,” he said. “They came in with much more sophisticated equipment than the military. Thanks to their involvement the tide is turning. I believe because of them we will witness a seismic shift.”
Photographs showing white soldiers atop armored vehicles on what appears to be a major road in Maiduguri have been posted in recent days on Nigerian Twitter feeds. A correspondent for The New York Times in Maiduguri identified the location as the Baga Road. The correspondent has seen the South African mercenaries jogging around Maiduguri’s airport, now closed, where they are encamped.
The mercenaries “came in with quite a handful of attack helicopters,” the senior government official in the north said. “They are being used to take out the Boko Haram in the Sambisa area,” the official said, referring to the Sambisa Forest, a 23,000-square-mile area where the Islamists have their principal encampments. After more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped a year ago in an episode that focused worldwide attention on Boko Haram, the girls were thought to have been brought there.
“It’s not the best of options for a nation to compromise her sovereignty by bringing in mercenaries,” the senior official said. “But if talking to the devil is necessary, it’s worth the price.”
Others said that the use of mercenaries by Nigeria raised questions about the weakness of the country’s major institutions, especially the army, hollowed out by years of top-level corruption.
“They are subcontracting the national polity,” said a leading Nigeria scholar, Paul Lubeck of Johns Hopkins University. “It’s the destitution of Nigerian nationalism.”
In Washington, Nigeria’s chief of defense intelligence, Rear Adm. Gabriel E. Okoi, said in an interview on Wednesday that South African contractors had been hired in recent months to help train Nigerian troops. But he said he was unaware of any current or former members of South Africa’s military or security services hired to engage in active fighting against Boko Haram.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo began hiring white mercenaries to suppress rebellions in 1960. The most famous group of white mercenaries was 5 Commando. They fought for Congolese president Moïse Tshombe against the cannibal Simba army in 1964. It consisted of about 300 combat veterans. The commander was an Irish born WWII Veteran. The majority were White South Africans. It included it’ own air support, two white Rhodesian pilots with there own planes.