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Insecurity: How Dane guns defeat AK47s in Nigeria’s terrorized central region

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Insecurity: How Dane guns defeat AK47s in Nigeria’s terrorized central region

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Truth Nigeria

(Jos) On a foggy, windy afternoon with temperatures hovering at 52 degrees Fahrenheit on January 17, Danjuma Kuchai stood strong, holding his homemade single-shot dane gun that can be best described as pipe gun behind a dwarf tree. Along with 10 other civilian volunteers, Kuchai was on a mission to defend his village of Chikam against an invading force of 100 terrorists armed with assault rifles.

Across Nigerian, these untrained, ragtag volunteers locally known as “vigilantes” have become the last resort for communities suffering terror attacks amid allegations the military is failing. TruthNigeria calls these men “civilian guards.”

It had been three hours of intense fighting on the outskirts of the village located 42 miles south of Jos, the capital of Plateau state in central Nigeria. Soldiers at a forward operating base just 1mile away were not responding to distress calls.

Kuchai understood the gravity of the situation but stood firm, realizing the lives of the 200 residents rested on his determination. A similar raid occurring simultaneously in a town just two miles away, had resulted in the death of at least seven people, including two civilian volunteers.

Initially part of a 5-man force securing the town’s approach, Kuchai had moved 600 meters forward at 3 o’clock local time to support a team pushing back the invasion after two members were injured.

The battle was at its fiercest, said Daniel Mamwan, one of the injured guards. The terrorists had regrouped and reinforced in the third attempt to take the town that day, Mamwan told TruthNigeria.

“They were shooting nonstop,” said Mamwan in a telephone interview. “They had snipers among them,” Mamwan said.

“They came the first time around 10-11am and we chased them away. They came back around 1pm we chased them back. It was the third time around 2pm that they started to overpower us,” he said.

“By this time we were already low on ammunition,” he recalled.

“I and one other colleague were injured and rushed to the hospital before [Kuchai] moved to the frontline,” he said.

Just when Kuchai fired his first few shots aiming to take out the unrelenting enemy, a stray bullet from the side hit him in the chest and he fell to his death, witnesses said. Three other men fighting close to him fell to similar shots as enemy fire intensified within the following minutes.

Soldiers arrive several hours late
At about the same hour, terrorists pounding another town two miles away killed two other civilian guards according to locals. Matthew Damla, leader of 15-man self-defense team fighting the invasion told TruthNigeria the two were killed as they attempted to rescue a baby trapped in the woods close to the scene of an ambush that killed her mother and four others three hours earlier.

TruthNigeria on January 17 reported how five people were killed in an ongoing raid on Butura Kampani, a Christian village located 42 miles south of Jos.

The town, besieged by 200 to 300 terrorists armed with assault rifles, witnessed a 10-hour attack, beginning at 10 am local time, residents say. The first victims were five people returning from their farms, 2 miles north of the town, said Damla to TruthNigeria. The victims included a breastfeeding mother who threw her baby in the woods before she fell to the terrorists’ fire, Damla said. The terrorists hiding behind tall trees targeted unsuspecting victims, he said.

“We struggled for hours to rescue the baby alive,” he said. The baby is now in the care of relatives.

“Soldiers arrived later in the evening and helped to chase the attackers away,” he said.

Butura Kampani had been under lockdown since Christmas Eve when terrorists began attacks that displaced at least 19,000 people and killed 295 between the start of the attacks on Dec. 23 and the end on December 30.

Bishop Ayuba Matawal, overseeing 13 camps in Bokkos, told TruthNigeria that 10,000 people are sheltering in the camps. Despite the risks, some starving residents returning to the town attempt to visit their farms for food, facing threats from terrorists laying siege to the area.

On January 17, a van loaded with arms, reportedly belonging to members of the Fulani ethnicity, was intercepted and burned by a mob in a bypass encircling Butura Kampani. Soldiers responded quickly to rescue the occupants.

The Fulani, with over 10 million members in Nigeria, have been implicated in numerous genocidal massacres, including over 3,500 last year, with Plateau State accounting for more than 1,200 deaths according to monitoring groups and local officials.

The latest attacks on Bokkos claimed the lives of over 295 people on Christmas Eve, with five victims from Butura Kampani.

Terrorists, speaking the Fulani dialect, began amassing in surrounding areas after the mob action, launching an attack at 10 am locally.

Damla and his group of 15 volunteers, armed with homemade rifles, successfully held the invaders on the outskirts of the town for several hours, enabling women and children to escape.

Terrorists suffer casualties
At least 11 people including six vigilantes were killed in the attacks in Butura and the surrounding area on January 17 according to a community development leader, Philip Julson. But the terrorists suffered casualties as well, said Julson, the President of Butura Community Development Association.

“They had the best equipment and a larger manpower but our boys did their best and they too suffered casualties,” said Julson to TruthNigeria by phone.

A secret Fulani contact has confirmed the claims to TruthNigeria.

“Among them (Fulani terrorists) are seven hired mercenaries that I know,” said the source to TruthNigeria. “Two of them were from a village called Gindi Akwati, one from Mazat and one from Marit [all located in the Barkin Ladi county],” said the source. “Another one was from Fass [in Riyom county] and two from Josho [in the Bokkos county].

‘Formidable resistance’
A U.K.-based reporter identified on X as Citizens Observer has described the Butura civilian resistance as ‘formidable’.

“Early this morning, while the world’s attention was on the #bomb explosion in #Ibadan, the #Fulani terrorists went for an attack on Butura, a village in Bokkos, the place where they killed over 200 #Christians on Christmas eve, but met a formidable resistance from the locals,” wrote the commentator in a post on X.

“That is what we want from the people of Middle Belt — arm yourselves and defend your land,” the commentator wrote.

“Continue to organize yourselves in defense of your land; track every terrorist hideout in your locality and dislodge all of them. Those cowards are protected by the government; in actual fact, they can not fight without government covering up for them,” wrote the commentator.

Police and army officials in Jos are not responding to queries from TruthNigeria. During the Christmas Eve attacks in the area, the army authorities claimed they were taken unawares and overwhelmed.

“As you are running here, they will tell you there are people here,” said Major General Abdulsalam Abubakar, the Commander for the Special Task Force in Jos.

“Even up to 4am [on Christmas day], there were 36 different calls [from different communities],” Abubakar said at a mass funeral for 20 victims of the attacks in a village called Maiyanga.

But on January 17, only two villages were invaded in broad daylight. Yet, the military arrived more than five hours later.

Senator Simon Lalong representing a district in Plateau state has criticized the military’s poor response to attacks in the state.

“Where was the Air Force? Where were the helicopters?,” said Lalong, a former Governor in Plateau State.

“This attack was not the first. Yet it took a long time to respond,” Lalong said.

Vigilantes proving effective
Vigilantes fighting with primitive tools have proved effective in repelling attacks where the military has failed, said a criminal intelligence and security consultant in Abuja, Yahuza Getso.

“The vigilantes have been posing threats to terrorists attacking communities,” said Getso to TruthNigeria.

“At least we have seen how well they have performed,” said Getso the Managing Director of a private security firm, Eagle Integrated Security and Logistics Company Ltd Abuja.

“Even though there is no good coordination between them. And their arms are not as strong as those of the bandits. But they have their tactics and have proved effective in repelling attacks or at least slowing them before the military arrives,” said Getso in a voice note shared in WhatsApp.

Truth Nigeria