The Nigerian Army has organised youths in Gubio Local Government Area of Borno State into 16 teams for a football competition in the Sambisa Forest area.
It was gathered that the 8 Task Force Division put the competition together to prevent the radicalisation and recruitment of youths in the area by Boko Haram insurgents.
The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Timothy Antigha, who confirmed the football competition in Gubio, northern Borno, said the step was to enhance civil-military relations.
He said, “It is part of our operations to meaningfully engage the youths in our area of responsibility. The division initiated a football competition tagged, Tukur Buratai Football Tournament. The tournament is aimed at fostering civil-military cooperation, as well as winning the hearts of youths who constitute a significant segment of the local population.
“Most importantly, the tournament seeks to make vulnerable youths in the communities unavailable for Boko Haram radicalisation and recruitment. The tournament kicked off on September 16, with 16 teams drawn from northern Borno.
“The preliminaries have been concluded. However, the competition is currently at the quarter-final stage. The final is expected to hold in December.”
The Sambisa Forest is a forest in Borno State, northeast Nigeria. It is in the southwestern part of Chad Basin National Park, about 60 kilometres (37 mi) southeast of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.
The Sambisa forest, especially the mountainous region of Gwoza near the Cameroon border, is used as shelter by the jihadist Boko Haram group and is believed to be where they keep the hostages from the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping in April 2014