Nigeria’s military on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 placed a ban on the use of horses in Borno State. This development was disclosed to AFP by a regional military spokesman who stated that the decision was paramount to put the activities of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents to check.. The Boko Haram loyalists have recently attacked remote communities in the troubled communities on horseback, despite President Muhammadu Buhar’is promise to ‘crush’ them as soon as he assumed office.
“Military authorities have banned the use of horses in the entire Borno state to stave off Boko Haram terrorist attacks,” said the military spokesman for Borno, Colonel Tukur Gusau.
“Horses are often used as a form of transport in Nigeria’s Muslim-majority north but are also a sign of social status, including royalty.”
“The ban was imposed after talks with the state government and council of traditional chiefs,” Gusau added.
Gusau said the military surge in the region had thrown the Islamic State group-allied rebels into “disarray”, cutting off their supply lines, including for fuel.
“This has forced the terrorists to abandon their vehicles due to lack of fuel and resort to the use of horses in carrying out attacks in remote villages,” he added.
Accordng to the spokesperson, the ban on horse-riding in the state will allow soldiers to “distinguish locals from terrorists”.
He said: “We know that only the terrorists will flaunt this ban and our troops will take the appropriate action when they come across such terrorists in accordance with the rules of engagement.”
Malam Ba’Kura, a local chief in the recently liberated Dikwa district of northern Borno, confirmed the ban and said it had been endorsed by the state’s most influential chief and religious figure.
He said: “The Shehu (of Borno) summoned and briefed all traditional chiefs under the Kanem Borno emirate on the ban on horses, which was decided to stop Boko Haram attacks on villages in northern Borno.
“We welcome this ban and we have spread the news to all our subjects who are also happy with it because it is aimed at ending the new wave of attacks by Boko Haram gunmen riding horses.”