Nigeria: ‘If You Take Tramadol Away, You Make Boko Haram Weak.’

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Former fighters say taking the addictive opioid was essential for launching assaults. Could tackling its illicit trade cripple Boko Haram attacks?

Adamu Musa remembers clearly the first Boko Haram offensive in which he took part. It was about a week after he’d been abducted along with a dozen other boys in Gwoza when he was ordered to join a mission. He was to be part of a group of militants that would attack a nearby community and kidnap more fighters. Musa and the other young boys were tasked with chasing men who tried to escape.

Before the assault, and all the others that Musa would later take part in, each of the boys was forced to take several tablets of Tramadol.

“Everyone took it before leaving the camp. Even if there was nothing else in the camp, there was always Tramadol,” says Musa, who escaped from Boko Haram in the middle of the night over a year ago

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