Aisha Bakari Gombi, Queen Hunter and nemesis of Boko Haram fighters.
The North-Eastern region of Nigeria, which for about 11 years has been the scene of war between the forces of evil (the terrorists of Boko Haram) and good (the security agencies and the poor masses) has no doubt seen heroes who stood to challenge insurgents.
A queen by all standards, called Sarauniya (Queen) Amina Bakari Gombi, a wife, mother, hunter, fighter, and tailor, lives in the Adamawa state ravaged by Boko Haram, considered the third most dangerous terrorist group on earth after Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of West Africa Provinces.
She joined the folklore of the locals because of her exploits as a warrior, much like the legendary Queen Amina of Zazzau, the Hausa warrior queen who ruled in the mid-16th century.
Perhaps one can honestly say that Queen Amina, Queen Hunter and the nemesis of the Boko Haram warriors, came alive in Aisha Gombi.
Aisha stood to be counted at a time when many, including men, fled away from terrorists who raided towns, maimed, killed, raped, and abducted men, women, and children, and razed villages.
She decided to use her hunting skills, the gift God gave her, to protect her people, to rescue the captured, particularly women and children, from the enclaves of Boko Haram. Aisha is among the many Nigerian Army hunters enlisted to track and catch Boko Haram fighters.
The stunning, courageous, bold, and dauntless Aisha speaks in an interaction session with Nigerian Newspaper, Vanguard revealed issues on several topics, including why she joined
the war against Boko Haram and amnesty for the insurgents, noting that
her driving force is liberation for her citizens and for Nigerians in
Read through the Excerpts from the interview:
Venturing into a male-dominated profession
According to the soft-spoken Queen Hunter, a sobriquet she got from appreciative hunters and locals whose lives and livelihoods she has helped to save, becoming a hunter, a profession seen as an exclusive preserve of men, was a calling. She was born into a family of hunters and she inherited the profession from her father who inherited it from his own father.
As a young girl growing up in her village in Adamawa State near the Sambisa forest, the Boko Haram enclave, she would go hunting for guinea fowls, antelopes and baboons with her grandfather. In the course of time, she became proficient as it is said that practice makes perfect.
Joining the fight against insurgency
Speaking on why she joined the fight against the insurgents, Aisha said she saw the way the
terrorists were killing innocent and defenseless people, destroying property, abducting people, and razing whole villages. The tigress in
her couldnâ€™t keep calm when her village came under attack; so when
others were running away, she decided to stay back and fight. There was
no way she could watch the terrorists take over her beloved hometown
without a fight. She was determined to give the terrorists a run for
their money. Perhaps, she, like Queen Esther in the Bible, Aisha was
prepared by her creator for a time like this. People couldnâ€™t believe
They felt she was out of her mind, trying to attempt the
impossible. They must have given her the popular Hausa adage: Karambani
akwiya, gai da kura which means (it was pure meddlesomeness on the part
of the goat to think she could greet the hyena without disaster. i.e.
Donâ€™t attempt the impossible.) But Aisha was ready to face the
Preparedness meets opportunity
Then the opportunity came for her to officially join the fight. She did not hesitate to grab it with both hands. In her case, it was an opportunity meeting with preparedness. The Nigerian military engaged in this unconventional war with Boko Haram knew that to win the war,
intelligence-gathering was non-negotiable and who can better give the needed information than the locals especially hunters and vigilantes who know the nooks and crannies of the area!
She volunteered to use her talent to help save her people and country from terrorists. Aisha was one of the few women recruited by the Nigerian military as volunteers to fight Boko Haram on an ad hoc basis. Even youths were not left out as the military formed an arm of the Joint Task Force, JTF,
named Civilian JTF made up of civilians who went to war to protect their communities. Aisha said that the hunters know the terroristsâ€™ hideouts in the forest better than the soldiers. Today, Aisha finds fulfilment in battling the terrorists and freeing their captives, mostly women and children.
Passion, women, and terrorists
Just as Boko
Haram terrorists are said to be driven by ideology and not motivated by
money or material gains, Aisha is not motivated by money but love for
her people and country. She didnâ€™t bat an eyelid when she had to sell
her sewing machine just to raise money to purchase a more powerful
A report by ABC in 2016 had said that ISIS terrorists
feared the female members of the Zeravani unit, a branch of the Kurdish
Peshmerga (Black Tigers) so much that they are referred to as ISISâ€™
nightmare. It is said that ISIS fighters fear them because it is a taboo for them to be killed by women so they steer clear of the female fighters. Aisha boldly says that Boko Haram terrorists know her and fear her. She is in fact, a terror to the terrorists.
Many women becoming hunters
attitude and her love for hunting endeared her to many women who were
influenced to become hunters so today, Adamawa State boasts of almost
100 female hunters. She said she enjoys the support, encouragement and
cooperation of the locals, particularly the women.
Security, everyoneâ€™s business
believes that the security of lives and property should not be left in
the hands of government and security agencies alone but should involve
everyone. She noted that women have a big role to play to ensure the
safety of lives and property of Nigerians, adding that Nigeria will not
develop as long as there is no peace in the land.
said the major challenge the hunters face is convincing the military to allow them to go on rescue missions. Perhaps, the military is afraid
for their lives. Another challenge is funds as hunters sometimes have to
raise the money for ammunition and to hire and fuel vehicles. Despite
all these, Aisha said that any time she goes to the bush, she feels very
Juggling work with home
On how she combines her
duties as a wife, mother, commander, tailor, hunter, and warrior, Aisha
said she has no problem juggling her responsibilities at home and
outside the home. She said she handles her domestic affairs in the way
an any good wife would handle her domestic affairs and also handles her
work as a warrior very well. Above all, her husband has been very
supportive and is in fact, very proud of her. He believes that her
success is his success.
On whether she has ever regretted joining this war which entails leading the hunters under her
command deep into the forest in search of the terrorists and their
captives, she said never! She enjoys fighting for her people and
bringing smiles to their faces. She, however, appeals to the Federal
Government to equip the military and the volunteers with more
She said she and her team sometimes spend
so many days in the forest searching for terrorist hideouts and when
they capture the terrorists, they force them to lead them to where the
victims are kept, then the terrorists are handed over to the military
while they rescue the victims.
Her team has rescued a huge number
of captives and captured many Boko Haram fighters. Multi-talented Aisha
does not only hunt for animals and terrorists, she is also a tailor.
She said tailoring has helped her to meet some of her financial needs.
She advised women to ensure they donâ€™t just sit at home and wait for the
man to provide all their needs.
On amnesty to
repentant Boko Haram fighters by the Federal Government, Aisha said if
they are truly repentant, then itâ€™s good but if the repentance is not
genuine, then itâ€™s bad. She said that when they repent, they are kept in
a place where they are closely monitored and their habits reviewed
before they are released into society so itâ€™s between the terrorists and