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Victorious Nigerian "vigilantes" (courtesy

Ever since the Boko Haram hit the net – and before – TTAG recommended a simple solution to the terrorist threat against Nigerian non-believers: arm civilians. Give them guns and let them defend themselves. Needless to say, the mainstream media didn’t even so much as mention the possibility of armed self-defense. Equally, the Nigerian population afflicted by the Boko Haram scourge didn’t need our advice on the matter. According to the late-to-the-self-defense party, “On Tuesday morning, after learning about an impending attack by militants, locals ambushed two trucks with a gunmen. At least 10 militants were detained, and scores were killed, the official said.” What’s more . . .

Kalabalge trader Ajid Musa said that after residents organized the vigilante group, “it is impossible” for militants to successfully stage attacks there.

“That is why most attacks by the Boko Haram on our village continued (to) fail because they cannot come in here and start shooting and killing people,” he said. Earlier this year in other parts of Borno, some extremists launched more attacks in retaliation over the vigilante groups.

The rest of the Daily News post acts as if no armed self-defense happened; rabbiting on about the international hand-wringing and promises of help that followed Boko Haram’s recent kidnapping of Nigerian school girls. [Click here to read more about the battle.] To which I would add, if you’re not part of the solution (arming the locals), you’re part of the problem.

Oh, did I mention that the Nigerians don’t have a Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms? And yet citizens somehow scared up some guns to defend their lives and property, just like the Mexican “vigilantes.” Who’d a thunk it?

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  1. The Nigerian government has capitulated to Muslim extremists, thinking by inviting them to be part of the government that peace was possible. But ever since the Muslim extremists have been included in the government, the Christians who roughly make up about half of the population have been under increasing persecution and terrorism, such as the recent kidnapping and sale of young girls and women as slaves and those who remain in custody by the terrorists and their threats to do the same with them.

    Where is slavery still existent in the world today? Who is enslaving who? Just pay attention to the news.

  2. It is a fool’s errand to count on your government to protect you.

    There are plenty of reasons why government could fail in that respect. Government may not have local resources to respond effectively. Government may want to respond but external forces (such as bad weather or mechanical breakdowns) could prevent an effective response. And then honest mistakes could prevent government from responding. Finally, government may not have the political will to respond effectively. Oh, I shouldn’t overlook good old fashioned apathy of course.

    I wish the local people in Nigeria the best of luck securing themselves and their families.

  3. Every time I hear the name of that terrorist group, I think the radio is going to play “A whiter shade of pale”

    • Oh, God, it’s not just me! What a relief!

      I’ve got that song going through my head right now! I wonder if sales have spiked since they’ve hit the news.

    • Gary Brooker’s a nice guy. He enjoys a quiet pipe after dinner. I can tell you he’s no terrorist. But turning cartwheels ‘cross the floor? Sure. Well, thought about it anyway. The pipe.

      • But he DID lose that lawsuit for cheating Matthew Fisher out of his songwriting royalties on AWSOP.

        • Memory is so fragile. A difference in recollection. A different take on how the thing grew to be. A lawsuit. It’s just part of creative life. Fisher adapted a classical Bach line to the song. I enjoyed it. I can remember sitting in a coffee house in Beach Haven, NJ, age 16, identifying with it, with the way my thing with my then-GF had gone, was going. I should admit I’m biased in GB’s favor, because one of my friends has a long-standing commercial art relationship with him and occasionally with his neighbor. I note that the Lords did not grant back royalties, a lesser award even that was received on first appeal. They’re all interesting people.

          “Can’t we all just get along?”

  4. This what happens to a disarmed populace: They get tired of taking your shit and they start shooting back at you.

    It happened here in the 18th Century.

    It happened again in The Battle of Athens, a.k.a. The McMinn Country War.

    It’s happening in Mexico.

    It’s happening in Nigeria.

    It’s been going on around the world since forever, and it ain’t about to stop because of some silly, archaic, and draconian laws passed by a bunch of stuffed-shirts in funny wigs on their highchairs.

    • Yes. The Nigerian government has at its disposal well-qualified soldiers. They, however, cannot be let go from Lagos protection duties, because the upper class is very insecure. In other words, they don’t really care. To paraphrase, “there’s a club in Nigeria, and those girls weren’t in it.”

      There is an ongoing problem in sub-Saharan Africa with girls boarding schools (and short-term boarding) involving non-existent security: When it’s not terrorist kidnappings, its mass rapes by young men. And still, no security to speak of because..guns..guns in the hands of plain folks. Can’t have that. I’m not going to Google a recent example, though there have been more than a few. The one which came up first in my ten-second Gooogle-foo is The reaction of the gov in Lagos is simply normal. At first “oh, just some girls? Nevermind.” Then, “holy Swiss Account, you mean the West takes this seriously? Call for aid! We (well, they) are poor!”

  5. Nigeria, is made up of tribal societies all of which have strong warrior traditions. Modernity has so weakened tribal social institutions in some parts of Africa that the individual tribes people are more easily oppressed and intimidated by armed government. But, where tribal institutions are still strong, warriors are recognized as integral part of everyday tribal life. It is both legitimate and expected than in villages with strong tribal social institutions, local warriors would not only rise to the occasion and defend their homes and people, but would also possess the military skills to successfully ambush the Boko Haram. It would probably be best to not get into a fight with the guys in that photo.

    Years ago, there was another similar case reported out of the Congo. A remote village was being threatened by marauding bandits. There was neither police or military protection available. As the bandit group began approaching the village, it quickly became clear that they were being stalked in the bush. Like the Boko Haram, this was a new experience because most viligers and small farmers ran away or cowered in fear when they came. But, whoever it was following them had obvious military skills as over the next few days first one then another bandit was shot and killed by someone who then disappeared into the bush only to strike again with a few hours or a day. The lesson being taught was clear: stay away from our village. Finally, having lost several of their members, the bandits took the hint and left the area. There was only this single, brief account, from which to draw conclusions. What was clear was that somebody in that village knew how to fight, and was well enough skilled in escape and evasion tactics to harass a sizable band of armed men and not get caught. I’ll bet they were not unlike the guys in that photo. Good on ’em.

  6. If they’re smart, they’ll offer no quarter. Show no mercy to Boko Haram. We are at the latest phase of a very old war, and it would be best if they went on the offensive. Find Boko Haram, and wipe them out, leave none living.

    Jihad has been waged against the Kafir since the hijrah in 622 AD. Out of 140 decades of islam (Roughly 1400 years), there has been twelve (12) decades that are Jihad attack-free. (12/140) islam is 91.5% violent, and 8.5% peaceful.

    It took them some time, but North Africa, which was predominately Christian, fell to islam, the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire) fell to islam, Pakistan used to be predominately Hindu, Syria used to be Christian, Spain spent the better part of 8 centuries trying to kick the muslims out.

    Currently, Buddhist Thailand and the Catholic Philipines are being hammered by jihadists, and sooner or later, if we don’t inject some steel into our spines, what happened to those school girls in Nigeria, or what happened to the school in Beslan, will happen to school girls in Massachusetts, or in Michigan, or some other town in the USA. It’s only a matter of time.

    • Yep. Finish the BH off. Only, wait, and you will hear politicians whispering in the smoky backrooms about votes, Muslim votes. Those voters think no crime has been committed, because the kidnapped were unclean dhimmis. So, conclude the billionaires in Lagos, “don’t over-react, Goodluck!”

      So now you have the Nigerians using US in a proxy war. Cute, eh?

      • You really think that Boko Haram is representative of the entire muslim population? Or any muslim population at all?

        You do know that they are known for attacking both churches and mosques also Christians and Muslims?

        • What is your point? Shia have been attacking Sunnis for a millenia, and vice versa. This is an actual problem throughout north Africa, the middle east, and south-central asia. Obviously. The fact has no bearing on the nature of Muslim response to non-Muslims in any one locality or region.

          I didn’t originate the “eliminate the BH” comment, but was responding to the comment above my reply. As for the situation in Nigeria, yes, the votes are more important to Lagos than the lives lost in the northeast of the country. They’ve proved that year after year.

    • Would it be fair to say it is your position there is a risk that this could happen in Everytown?

    • Well, the real hard-asses are in Mali and are called the Tuareg. They’re a pastoral nomadic tribe (actually several) who, although Muslim, are not jihadists. They respect women and are friendly to foreigners who are friendly to them. Historically, they’ve been wandering traders, warriors, raiders, mercenaries, and herdsmen. They’re a stiff necked bunch and don’t respect national boundaries at all, moving pretty much wherever they want in several different countries. Many of them hired on as mercs for Kadafi in Lybia and, when he got killed, they raided the armories and headed to Mali. The fought some pretty serious battles with both the Malian government (well they did try to take over . . .) and later were forced to retreat when outnumbered and outgunned by the Jihadists who ended up fighting the French foreign legion. Basically, they’re holding their own, something they’ve become rather adept at for centuries. Give those guys enough weaponry and Al Quaeda and Boko Haram are dog meat. If the SHTF ever happens and you can do so, go to Mali and join up with the Tuareg. I’m not kidding.

  7. Hmmmm, looks a lot like my gun cabinet, just kidding, my guns sparkle and are loaded to the brim.

  8. +1Just Another Guy. Succinct without offending the PC bunch. May I add it’s coming to a head very rapidly. Nigeria is a tiny tip of a rapidly melting iceberg. Wait ’till the Muslim lunatics attack Israel. Iran with (maybe) 1 atomic bomb. Israel with possibly 500. Arm up. Jihad coming to a neighborhood near you. Even so come LORD JESUS.

  9. Seems to me some Nigerians got there the fangs and talons back! Boko Haram might want to think twice about attacking people our the next time they will be the one’s on video being shot by a vigilante firing squad.

  10. For the times, they are a changing. Most people aren’t stupid. When you need to tool up you do it by whatever means necessary.

    • ‘Ya’ don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.’

      There’s going to be a lot of reflection in the villages on what the government’s non-response implies. If they could see the (last) president partying in southern Spain, they wouldn’t need to reflect long. There need to be realignments. They will come.

  11. This photo is screaming for an ear necklace. Good on them for taking care of their own.

  12. In much of Nigeria, the local governors have armed and trained the populace; most of the nastiness happens in regions with less “progressive” governance.

    Glad to see that those areas are giving the bird to the “take it and like it” policy of their local governors.

    An armed populace is a safer populace.

  13. Ever since the Boko Haram hit the net – and before – TTAG recommended a simple solution to the terrorist threat against Nigerian non-believers: arm civilians. Give them guns and let them defend themselves.

    That wouldn’t work. I lived in southern Nigeria (but visited the north) for a few years until the end of the Civil War, when weapons started spreading among the population from veterans and corrupt soldiers, and I saw how things worked out there.

    The thing is, with that social structure (tribal but decaying enough that tribal responsibilities don’t always control people and make them behave), if you give guns to civilians, civilians don’t get them, gangs or corrupt big men get them – the gangs by taking the guns from civilians who don’t just join or form a gang themselves, and the big men by diverting the guns before they even reach any civilians. Up there in the north, a lot of the guns would go fairly directly to Boko Haram and just about all the rest to the politically connected whose control would be strengthened; no civilians need apply.

    So you would have to set up a “good” gang first, to work as a militia, and release the guns to the civilians through that. You’d still be giving guns to civilians, but it wouldn’t be counter-productive like just giving guns to civilians.

    Those accounts of local efforts don’t refute any of this. Just track what happens to those locals who acted; very soon they will either be disarmed or wiped out or (more likely) they will form their own gang. That might or might not be an improvement over Boko Haram for anyone else but themselves; the older tribes at least counted all their own people under their protection, and everyone was under the protection of some tribe unless he (or she) was cast out or away from its area of control.

    • Useful and interesting comment. I do not now Nigeria. I do know that the game in any foreign situation with similar cultural (tribal, political, familial) conflicts is to create a favorite, a vehicle, and make sure it stays in line, at least with our limited goals.

      I wonder if the U.S. is capable of this these days. Certainly the troops/SAD who would act in the matter are up to it. I just wonder if the administration apparatus above them is up to it, can stick with such an operation. I actually doubt it today.

    • Government corruption and local gang oppression, tends to weaken tribal social structures and the institutions that support self-defense. However, the basic elements for self-defense are probably there, unless the social institutions have been so damaged that they no longer have influence or relevance to the society. In that case, short of a revitalization movement, nothing much can happen and that means the whole country is vulnerable. The big men, however, must realize that Boko Haram is deadly to them too. The same goes for the gangs which exist as ways of maintaining local, admittedly corrupt, power. Boko Haram will have little use for them, unless they join Boko Haram. Boko Haram is like an alien invader in that it threatens every aspect of Nigerian society. It’s worth noting that the captured girls were from boarding schools which means they were from the Nigerian middle classes. The political fallout from this hasn’t yet fully been felt. Whether the Nigerian government has the integrity and organization to resist the Boko Haram remains to be seen. Time will tell.

      • The big men, however, must realize that Boko Haram is deadly to them too. The same goes for the gangs which exist as ways of maintaining local, admittedly corrupt, power.

        No to the first sentence, because those big men aren’t trapped. Yes but irrelevant to the first part of the second sentence, because Boko Haram is deadly to everyone anyway, and forming or joining a gang actually improves people’s ability to help themselves (often at others’ expense). But the second part of the second sentence, “… which exist as ways of maintaining local, admittedly corrupt, power”, is wrong. That is not what they are and how they do it. The corruption comes in as abuses by the big men of their official positions, and colluding in that by the little men, e.g. bribing someone to get a taxi licence as it is cheaper than doing the training and more reliable than a proper application since the big men are sitting on those until they get their bribes (“dash”, in the south – which covers several superficially different things, which don’t seem to fit together until you recognise the parallels with the Roman patron-client system; by that set of values, there isn’t anything corrupt about any of it anyway). The gangs are neither corrupt nor do they further corruption, in and of themselves; they are just violent and offer a protection for their own against others’ violence, and they would turn into tribes given enough time in the cask.

        It’s worth noting that the captured girls were from boarding schools which means they were from the Nigerian middle classes.

        No, it does not, at any rate not in a remote area like that; you’re projecting expectations based on your own, western experience. There aren’t any middle classes, outside special groups like Lebanese merchants. There are the inner groups of tribes which correspond to upper classes, and the outer groups which correspond to middle classes, but only in their own tribal areas (outsiders and outcasts form the analogue of a lower class; there are often age stratifications too, but not so much in West Africa as in other parts of Africa). So the inner groups might send their children to boarding school abroad, but the outer groups wouldn’t have anywhere that they would count as “middle class” if they weren’t living there anyway, or enough money to afford boarding school anyway.

        To the extent that outside forces disrupt tribal structures, that pattern does not hold; in many times and places, religions have done that, from Christianity to Islam to Sikhism and so on. Right now, in places like Nigeria, that pattern that we in the west have forgotten is playing out, both from Boko Haram and from Christianity. Those girls were at a Christian boarding school, and were undoubtedly getting non-cash support; it wasn’t a middle class, “let’s keep our children like us” thing, it was a “let’s gradually change each generation a little away from their old [tribal] ways, starting with children of parents who want their children to have a leg up” thing – so their parents could have been from any status, but most likely those with the least to lose and the most to gain.

        And it’s just precisely that competing for the new generation thing that is motivating Boko Haram and making them use methods like this, with Christianity as the competing disruptor of old ways. It’s a close analogue to the old, tribal rationale for slavery in Africa: kill all the men and old people in villages of other tribes as a bycatch and to stop them seeking revenge, then take the women and children into your own tribe to build its strength by adding to its outer group (which helps existing members too, not just from strength in numbers but because it makes them move further in, i.e. “up” – it allows more status from more wives and followers, plus from having been there earlier).

        The political fallout from this hasn’t yet fully been felt. Whether the Nigerian government has the integrity and organization to resist the Boko Haram remains to be seen. Time will tell.

        It doesn’t have the integrity and organisation to resist Boko Haram, because that is as futile as any form of direct opposition to guerilla warfare. It does, however, have the experience, lack of integrity, and organisation to obliterate Boko Haram in the traditional genocidal ways, by rounding up and then internally deporting or killing everybody in the general area. It remains to be seen if it has the willingness (it certainly has no objections), the freedom to act, and the resources needed to put all that into effect over the time needed (like weeding every year until all the previous years’ weed seeds have worked through, you can’t just stop when it looks like there aren’t any weeds).

  14. Politics and all are a part and parcel of governance, along with manipulation of gangs,
    the elitists, and the politically corrupt. America seems to have little in way of any intelligence
    network embedded in most of the nations that are having conflicts, and we really are ignorant in Nigeria!

    Just look at the number of scams from there, preying on us!

    Now, Kenya might be another story, as we seem to have some up high in our government
    who are both Muslime and of Kenyan birth!

    Plus, Muslime Brotherhood, with the emphasis on ‘hood’!

  15. Hah, I can see Boku Haram sulking in their hideout like little kids: “It’s not supposed to be like this, they are not supposed to be armed! The are not following the Old Rules: we come in, start shooting,and they do nothing! Why is this happening?!”

    Arm all villages, and these little dress wearing Bin Laden wanna-bes will have nowhere to go.

  16. Sadly, when other villages have resisted Boko Haram has retaliated with overwhelming force and atrocities. Armed villagers will not be able to make significant progress until the Army and police
    a) Pause for just a moment from their core business of looting Nigeria’s mineral wealth to take meaningful action
    b) Stop the mass detainment and torture of anyone who makes contact with the police. International human rights workers and NGOs say Nigerians are afraid to come forward out of a very real fear the police will imprison, torture or kill them.Mass in-custody tortures and executions were a factor in Boko Haram’s radicalization.

  17. Looks like an advertisement for Harrington & Richardson. Though seriously, wonder how many recovered AKs those guys now have stashed in the bush in case of round two.

  18. We should be careful about the myth that an armed population can stop all oppression. Iraqis were armed, but the Al Qaeda terrorists were fanatical, suicidal butcherers. Just being armed didn’t stop AQ from marching into cities of about 30,000 with about a dozen men and controlling that city completely. Terror works. They would march to a public area, pull a family out of their home and butcher them in front of everyone. Everyone else would cower.

    In the American Revolution, militias were notoriously inept and were swept away by regular forces.

    Being armed is not the sole answer against tyranny or terrorism. But it’s a necessary start.

    • You are describing a culture that must have had decades, or even centuries of training to let someone else defend them and make their decisions for them. Reading your description, If I lived in a town of 30,000 and heard of that happening anywhere on my continent, I would keep my AR loaded by the door, ready at a moment’s notice. It just would not fly, here, because we still have a bunch of obnoxious assholes around who would rather KILL you than obey your every command. Same cultural factors cause us to seek arms most serendipitous, no?

  19. I’ve thought all along Goodluck Jonathan was hoping to get Western Foreign Troops to come to his aide so that Westerners get killed rooting out Boko Haram and rescuing all those Middle Class Families’ girls. Not that I think for a minute he cares about his own people, but it’s cheaper and creates less internal conflict in the aftermath. He saves money, doesn’t have to arm more Nigerians (who might use them against him and his puny military later), and if it goes badly it’s “those foreign Devil’s fault”.
    But that probably gives him too much credit. He’s probably just panicked that somehow this will cost him his Presidency and Life.
    Anyway I applaud those people for standing-up for themselves even though they probably know it will cost them dearly in the long run. Better to die as free men fighting than terrorized slaves cowering. (I’m not sure these villagers are “free men” by any means, but in resisting they are acting as such, so they get credit for that.)

  20. if a town of armed civilians can run off the Templars cartel from there cities in michoacan
    these nigerians need to do the same unleash holy hell on any islamist muslims.non stop ..
    you tube michoacan auto defence forces

  21. I’ll send them the money for a PKM as long as they promise to let me have it when they’re done.

  22. the thing about firepower is this:

    when you need it and dont have it, you sing a different tune…

    oh yeah, and i learned everything i need to know about islam on 9/11

    we all should have-

    to the extent that we didnt,

    we did so at our own peril…

  23. I’d like to see more information. 200 dead, what, 70% of the attacking force?, is an astonishing result, especially with just small arms.

    I’m curious how many defenders there were.

    To be honest, these sound more like executions after the fact than battle casualties. Maybe not executions, but “shooting fish in a barrel”.

    No, I’m not criticizing the righteousness of this, simply the mechanism and circumstances.

    Few forces that sustain that level of casualties persevere, especially on something an irrelevant as a “terror” raid. The defenders had far more too lose, and thus would hold out. But the attackers? No, they would have broken with far less casualties than this.

    So, somehow, the villagers were able to lure them in, lock them down, and dispatch them wholesale.

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