ABUJA, Nigeria, June 29 (UPI) -- Members of the Islamist group Boko Haram are changing tactics, disguising themselves as hunters in Nigeria and increasing attacks in neighboring countries.
A statement from Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar of the Nigerian army this week noted that after the depleted militant organization was driven from their hideaway headquarters in the Sambisa Forest, they "devised a new tactic of dressing like vigilantes or hunters to deceive unsuspecting members of the public of their true identity." He advised that any suspicious people or groups should be reported to authorities "in order not to ignorantly harbor [the] killer gang in their midst."
Since 2009, Boko Haram has terrorized Nigeria, killing thousands in an attempt to establish a Muslim caliphate. A concerted military attempt by Nigeria and a bloc of neighboring countries has reduced Boko Haram's troop strength, military equipment and finances, and forced many militants to leave the country.
Boko Haram members have increased attacks in Niger, Nigeria's northern neighbor, in an attempt to replenish their supplies. Attacks have been intermittent and typically target military units. A looting spree in villages near Lake Chad on June 21 killed more than 40 people.
Fishing and farming in the fertile region, home to 280,000 refugees largely from Nigeria, have been curtailed, and the United Nations said a crisis is imminent.
About 50,000 people fled the town of Bosso, Niger, and arrived in the Lake Chad region after Boko Haram attacks on June 3 killed 26 soldiers and left many homes burned.