They aren’t afraid but the bravado is misplaced.
Traditional hunters armed with homemade guns, poisoned spears and amulets have gathered in their hundreds, eager to use their skills and what they believe to be supernatural powers to help find nearly 300 schoolgirls abducted by Islamic extremists.
With Nigeria’s military accused by many citizens of not doing enough to rescue the girls, the hunters demonstrated their skills to an Associated Press reporter on Sunday. Cow horn trumpets echoed eerie war cries from the screaming and chanting men as they twirled knives and swords with dexterity, occasionally stabbing and cutting themselves with no apparent harm. The hunters claimed their magic charms prevented any blood being drawn. They also trust amulets of herbs and other substances wrapped in leather pouches as well as cowrie shells, animal teeth and leather bracelets to protect them from bullets.
“We’re not saying we are better than the soldiers, but we know the bush better than the soldiers,” said Sarkin Baka. The hunters said they gathered here at the suggestion of a state legislator.
This very much reminds me of this story about the striking miners who participated in magic rituals they thought would protect them from bullets. It didn’t. Of course, if it doesn’t work, that means their faith is not strong enough.
The military has not said whether they would take advantage of the hunters’ local knowledge. If they do, they would do well to provide the men with ACTUAL protection, not magical stuff. While their courage and determination is commendable, this sort of magical thinking should not be endorsed.
Nigeria’s military insists that it is diligently searching for the girls.
Tip: Todd Stonewall