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“Sweat is invisible in the rain”: Civilian Joint Task Force and counter-insurgency in Borno State, Nigeria


[ 1 ] Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, Federal University, Oye-Are Road, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria

Year of publication


Published in

Security and Defence Quarterly

Journal year: 2020 | Journal volume: vol. 31 | Journal number: no. 4

Article type

scientific article

Publication language


  • Kato da Gora or Durza Ka
  • Boko Haram
  • Insurgency
  • Counter-insurgency
  • Northeastern region
  • Nigeria

EN Political, ethnic and religious conflict has given rise to insurgency groups employing a variety of strategies worldwide. In Nigeria, civilians in strife-torn Borno State have formed a number of counter-insurgency (COIN) groups, among which the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) has emerged as a major player. The group began in 2009 as a simple call for volunteers, and now numbers over 26 000 men and women. While research has been conducted on other COIN groups, little is known of CJTF. Concerns have been raised about the CJTF metamorphosing into an ethnic militia, accused of human rights abuses, robbery, rape and hooliganism. Despite these reported atrocities, local people support them, regarding them as unsung heroes. The study investigates the group’s potential as a useful counter insurgency measure, using David Galula’s COIN theory to analyse the group’s actions and to contest the dualistic understanding of conventional vs unconventional, local peacebuilding approaches. The study adopts a qualitative, ethnographic methodology, locating the research in the context of global development and security discourse. The study aims to establish the value of the CJTF COIN group, to position unconventional local COIN as a viable complementary to conventional methods and to proffer clues as to how security initiatives may more successfully combat Islamic insurgency in Nigeria. The study employed both primary and secondary data. Field work for the study was carried out for six months between 2018 and 2019 in Maiduguri Metropolis and its environs in Borno State.

Date of online publication


Pages (from - to)

171 - 188



License type

CC BY-NC-ND (attribution - noncommercial - no derivatives)

Open Access Mode

open journal

Open Access Text Version

final published version

Release date


Date of Open Access to the publication

at the time of publication

Points of MNiSW / journal


Points of MNiSW / journal in years 2017-2021