Covered in tattoos of images of their leader, they are blamed for roaming the nation massacring children and women by slitting their throats or shooting them at point-blank range.

Wielding AK-47s and machetes, they are said to carry out the government’s dirty work so officials can claim the rampages are not being sponsored by the state. …

Their modus operandi sees them swarm in to towns after the army has stopped shelling. A source said: ‘Their mission is to terrorise the civilian population and conduct ethnic cleansing.’