Nigerian authorities are warning that terrorists are trying new methods in their quest to inflict the most casualties possible with lone attackers: bring the good Samaritans to them.
Much like serial killer Ted Bundy used elaborate ruses such as a cast and needing assistance to lure victims, Boko Haram’s strategy involves drawing kindhearted would-be victims toward a suicide bomber, according to Nigeria’s Ministry of Defense.
It’s a strategy that could be employed by terrorists other than the West African terror outlet that pledged solidarity with ISIS this past spring.
“It has come to the knowledge of the Defence Headquarters that Boko Haram terrorists have now devised other means of inflicting harm on innocent citizens to further their terrorist cause,” Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakr, acting director of Defence Information, said in a statement today.
“Some of such tactics they now use include crying and feigning pains and shouting to attract sympathy from unsuspecting public,” Abubakr said. “When a lot of people of goodwill gather to render help in the process, the suicide bomber detonates bombs which they conceal under their clothes. The recent suicide bombing in Damaturu is instructive.”
Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state, has been hit by multiple attacks over recent months, including deadly attacks using an elderly suicide bomber as well as a 10-year-old girl.
“Similarly, suicide bombers used monetary incentives and other inducements especially in crowded places to lure innocent citizens in order to cause colossal damage to both lives and property,” Abubakr continued. “Yola suicide incident is fresh in our memory.”
Dozens of people were killed in that November market attack in Adamawa state.
“The Defence Headquarters therefore advises citizens to be wary of such antics of the terrorists who are losing out in their former enclaves and are now desperate to remain relevant by using any means to perpetuate fear in the minds of the populace,” the general said.
“The Defence Headquarters also warns citizens to be extra vigilant and weary of terrorist malevolence in such places as parks, worship centres and recreation spots particularly in this festive period. Citizens are advised to report suspicious persons or objects to security agencies for prompt action.”
Boko Haram formally pledged allegiance to ISIS in an audio recording released in March, saying their vow represents “the completeness of the religion with the book that guides and the sword that favors.”
The Nigerian government has set various deadlines for the decimation of Boko Haram, tied to political promises, that have come and gone. The U.S. has been reluctant to offer assistance to fight the terror group because of concerns that the Nigerian government’s tactics are too heavy-handed.
Boko Haram leader Abubakr Shekau pledged Boko Haram’s loyalty “in hardship and ease, and to endure being discriminated against, and not to dispute about rule with those in power, except in case of evident infidelity.”
“We call on Muslims everywhere to pledge allegiance to the Caliph and support him,” he said, adding that they “pledged allegiance to the Caliph because of the interest of the Ummah [community] in their religion.”
Boko Haram also made the move, Shekau said, to “enrage the enemy of Allah” by “our gathering under one banner,” with more “enemy mortality.”
Boko Haram is similarly complimentary of al-Qaeda and has noted that they’re united in cause.