The statement by the Nigerian Army PR Officer, Brig gen Kukasheka Usman to newsmen relating to the most recent attack on troops solely mentioned that 4 troops paid the supreme price while 9 were wounded in action when a Boko Haram vehicle laden with improvised Explosive Devices rammed into an MRAP vehicle, that exploded “killing 3 soldiers, a civilian JTF and wounding the other soldiers.” There was no mention of the names of those that died therein attack until when Ahmad Salkida, a contract journalist that specializes in reporting the crisis in the Lake Chad, bust the news on his twitter feed, that the civilian that was killed in that attack on Jan 8, 2018, was actually a septuagenarian vigilante named, baba Mustapha.
SaharaReporters later pointed out in Maiduguri that baba Mustapha, who is lovingly known as “Baa Masaa” was a retired hunter and farmer who lived within the Sambisa forest together with his wife almost his entire life. He was then contacted by the military intelligence and was asked to relocate to Gwange in Maiduguri around 2012. Since then, Baa Masaa has served the Nigerian army as an informant, a human compass and a civilian ‘military commander’ who guided combatants into the disreputable Sambisa forest, Boko Haram’s epicentre of terror. A military source claimed that there were times when junior troopers can even protest moving into Sambisa to engage Boko Haram terrorists if Baa Masaa won’t join their convoy. “His knowledge of the forest and sources there, have made military operations a lot easier,” said a staff sergeant who concisely worked with the late septuagenarian.
According to Ahmad Salkida in one amongst his tweets, “those in the know about the ongoing war knew that Baa Masaa had contributed in most the operations into Sambisa and was physically concerned in leading troops.” However, SaharaReporters pointed out a distressing reality that in spite of the contributions of this seventy eight years old vigilante – who is survived by a first wife that remained in Boko Haram captivity and a second wife in urban center – no officials of the Borno state government attended his funeral, even the military did not eulogise him in any statement. high military brass in Maiduguri stayed away from the burial of someone SaharaReporters pointed out was a living compass of the Sambisa forest and one of the most valuable vigilantes in the life of the war against Boko Haram
According to sources near the family of the deceased “only an agent of the dia in Giwa barracks a Commander of the Civil Defence corpse attended Baba’s funeral,” this according to a vigilante was a confirmation that even once the vigilante was alive, he struggled together with his bills and other needs however he was unrelenting in his commitment to ending the war. Baa Masaa was said to possess been integrated into the Civilian Joint Task Force, however several of his fellow ex-hunters and vigilantes were sidelined once the CJTF was created. Baa Masaa usually complained of neglect and humiliation by the officials of the vigilantes SaharaReporters learnt. However, it was learned that Baa Masaa’s only motivation within the final days of his life was to be able to rescue his wife UN agency was kidnapped by the terror group besides the personal relationship he developed with some serving and retired military officers.
“I trust the federal government can make the rescue of his wife a top priority like the Chibok girls and recognise and support his family. He deserves a lot of,” said a member of the Civilian JTF in urban center. Another soldier stated that without training and military gears, he led troops to Sambisa and added further that “indeed, this old man sacrificed so much for peace to reign, but sadly he may end up as an unsung hero like many others,” said a military Sergeant in Maiduguri. Reactions in the social media since the news of his death broke out was such that a monument ought to be erected in his name. many differents urged the authorities to defend his family to encourage other vigilantes that are vital in winning the extended Boko Haram war.