Situation North East (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States)

09 April

The BORNO State government states it is to evacuate 78,000 refugees from CAMEROUN, housing them in 4 satellite camps in KUMSHE, GULUMBA, NGOSHE and KIRAWA

2 x female suspected PBIEDs were shot by a soldier as they attempted to enter the University of MAIDUGURI by the back gate, via the Works Department around 11.00pm

10 April

Theatre Commander Maj Gen Leo IRABOR oversaw the handover of 593 detainees cleared by the Joint Investigation Team of involvement with Boko Haram to the BORNO State Government in MAIDUGURI

2 x female suspected PBIED attempted were shot in the vicinity of the University of MAIDUGURI, around 4.00am

Theatre Commander Maj Gen Leo IRABOR oversaw the handover of 593 detainees cleared by the Joint Investigation Team of involvement with Boko Haram to the BORNO State Government in MAIDUGURI

The DSS suspected a Guinean Boko Haram suspect named JALO in DAMATURU, YOBE State

12 April

7 Div GOC Brig Gen Victor EZUGWU visited 121 TF Bn at PULKA and 26 TF Bde HQ at GWOZA and then visited 114 TF Bn, 26 TF Bde in TOKUMBERE, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State along with commander 26 TF Bde Brig Gen Adeyinka LAGUDA.

The BORNO State Government has purchased 27 x trucks for N405m to convey relief and construction items for IDPs

2 x male PBIEDs attacked a checkpoint in the vicinity of DALORI, JERE LGA, BORNO State on the outskirts of MAIDUGURI, as they detonated gunmen opened fire with small arms killing a soldier and wounding a policeman. The attackers burnt sheds around the checkpoint before being defeated by friendly reinforcements

The NAF Air Component Commander on OP Lafiya Dole Air Commodore Charles OWOH stated that the NAF had incorporated the UCAV CH-3A and L39ZA into operations against Boko Haram,

A clash between the military and police in DAMATURU, YOBE State left 4 dead. The clash was allegedly precipitated by the alleged abduction of the Squadron Commander of MOPOL 41

The DSS announced it arrested a suspected Boko Haram member Adamu DATTI in FIKA, YOBE State on 22 March

13 April

President BUHARI released a statement saying the Government was still in negotiations for the release of the GSS CHIBOK abductees

15 April

The Army supported by CJTF vigilantes completed a 3 day operation from KAWURI, KONDUGA LGA, BORNO State to MAIDUGURI via KAYAMLA capturing a suspected commander

Situation North West (Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara States)

10 April

KADUNA State Police Command arrested 19 people suspected of kidnapping, armed robbery and

12 April

1 Div increased the tempo of operations under OP Harbin Kunama 2 in Southern KADUNA, countering cattle rustling and armed banditry, with the operation from 17 April to 22 April

13 April

The SOKOTO State NSCDC detained 2 suspected armed robbers in the BADO Area on the outskirts of SOKOTO City, SOKOTO State, having stolen N50,000.00. two other accomplices armed with 2 x AK 47s escaped

15 April

Gunmen attacked ASO Village, JEMA’A LGA, KADUNA State around 7.30pm with small arms killing 12 people and wounding 4

Situation North Centre (Abuja FCT, Bauchi, Benue, Gombe, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Taraba States)

09 April

Suspected nomadic gunmen attacked 2 omen on their farms in ADAM Village, MBAKYOR Ward, KWANDE LGA, BENUE State, with bladed weapons murdering 1 and wounding the other

The BENUE State Police Command has paraded 20 suspects arrested in connection with cattle rustling and killings in ZAKI BIAM LGA around the State

10 April

BENUE State Police stated they had arrested 6 people including a member of the CJTF on suspicion of cattle rustling in ADOKA, OTURKPO LGA, BENUE State around 3.00am with 17 cattle in 2 x buses. The men stated they were taking the cattle to OTURKPO after they were seized for illegal grazing.

The COAS Lt Gen BURATAI commissioned an Army medical outpost in TIGI, RIYOM LGA, PLATEAU State on the KADUNA State border.

11 April

Gunmen attacked the home of the Tor ABAJI in ABAJI, KATSINA ALA LGA, BENUE State at night burning it down and murdering one person in what is thought to be a conflict between criminal gangs

Suspected nomadic gunmen attacked a village in the vicinity of JATO AKA, KWANDE LGA, BENUE State killing 2 people

ABUJA Federal High Court Judge Justice John TOSHO granted a prosecution request t hide the identity of witnesses in the trial of ANSARU leader and members; Mohammed USMAN (aka Khalid AL BARNAWI), Halima HALIRU (his wife), Mohammed SALEH, Umar BELLO (aka ABU AZZAN), Mohammed SALISU (aka DATTI), Yakubu NUHU (aka Bello MAISHAYI) and Usman ABUBAKAR (aka MUGIRATU) on an 11 count terrorism charge. The Judge adjourned the case till 25 April

12 April

The DSS stated it had made the following arrests:

23 March-The DSS arrested Daniel LORVE in BANGAJI, GBOKO LGA, BENUE State who is suspected of being a member of the Terwase AKWAZA (aka GANA) gang

25 and 26 March-The DSS stated it had arrested 5 suspected Daesh members were planning to attack the British High Commission, US Embassy and other Western missions in ABUJA FCT. The suspects Isa JIBRIL, Jibril JIBRIL, Abu Omale JIBRIL, Halidu SULE and Amhodu SALIFU were detained in BENUE State and the FCT on

27 March-The DSS arrested a suspected gunrunner KAREEM who allegedly supplied weapons to Ansaru’s Abu UWAIS in KOGI State

29 March-The DSS arrested suspected kidnappers Abdulmojid MOMOH and Ahmed Tijani DODO in ADAVI LGA, KOGI State

30 March-The DSS arrested suspected members of a kidnapping gang Salau Yakubu OTINWA (aka GENERAL) and Abdulmajeed MUSA in KOGI State

04 April-The DSS arrested 2 suspected Ansaru members Ahmed MOMOH and Al Amin Mohammed JAMIN inn IGARRA, AKOKO EDO LGA, EDO State who are allegedly associated with Abu UWAIS a suspected Ansaru member operating in KOGI and EDO States

13 April

Gunmen mounted in a Toyota Corolla, attacked ABAJI Market killing 4 and wounding an unspecified amount

NSCDC NIGER State Command arrested 18 infrastructure vandals, some of who dug under railway lines in search for precious metals

14 April

The NAF began Op Smoke Out in the forested areas of UGBOKOLO, AGATU, ZAKI BIAM, KATSINA ALA in BENUE State and WUKAIR in TARABA State conducted CAS and ISR in conjunction with the DSS and Army, targeting criminal gangs

15 April

Gunmen allegedly attacked the AIYETORO-GBEDE home of Dino MALEYE, Senator for KOGI WEST in IJUMU LGA, KOGI State around 12 midnight reportedly firing over 200 rounds in an hour long attack, setting 2 vehicles aflame. The Senator accused the LG Chairman Taofiq ISAH and the police of complicity

Situation External (Rest of the World)

09 April

The UN Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO) stated it needed $232m to address food shortages in the 4, Lake CHAD Basin countries of which $191m was for NIGERIA

The US Government is to sell NIGERIA 12 x Embraer A 29 Super Tucanos in a $600m deal. US media reports that formal notification will be forwarded to the US Congress

Gunmen mounted in cars and on motorcycles attacked GUESKEROU, DIFFA Region, NIGER Republic 30km northeast of DIFFA Town. Nigerien forces defeated them pushing them back to NIGERIA  killing 57 and capturing 3 x vehicles (including one captured from BOSSO last year), 1 x 60mmmortar, 2 x RPG 7 launchers, 5 x machine guns (type unspecified), 20 x AK 47 and an unspecified type and quantity of ammunition. 15 Nigerien soldiers and 2 civilians were wounded

12 April

Senegalese authorities announced they had arrested a suspected Boko Haram recruiter in a DAKAR suburb on 01 April.  The suspect (a Nigerian) is allegedly known to Nigerian authorities and had been in MAURITANIA for several months prior to going to SENEGAL. The Senegalese authorities also arrested 2 Moroccans they allege have links to Daesh who claimed to have come from a Syrian refugee camp in TURKEY

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Situation North East (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States)

02 April

A female PBIED attempted to infiltrate a wedding ceremony in BELBELO, JERE LGA, BORNO State around 7.33am but was prevented by a local dog which detained her, until she detonated killing herself and the dog

2 x male PBIEDs detonated near the Alhaji Bukar Gujari Filling Station, MUNA GARAGE, MAIDUGURI, BORNO State around 4.38am killing only themselves and destroying a fuel truck. A third male PBIED detonated in DUSUMA Village, JERE LGA as he was prevented from entering a mosque wounding a civilian

The COAS LT Gen TY BURATAI has requested the assistance of the UN, NGOs and development partners to assist in demining SAMBISA Forest. He also called for the police and MOPOL to take over liberated towns and villages

03 April

The COAS stated that the Nigerian Army Institute of Technology and Environmental Studies, BIU, BIU LGA, BORNO State is to be upgraded to the Nigerian Army University of Technology and Environmental Studies.

04 April

The COAS stated he had ordered a Military Police Battalion of Military Working Dogs to MAIDUGURI to counter the influx of PBIEDs

05 April

Gunmen mounted on motorcycles attacked ABBATI Village, near MAIDUGURI, BORNO State killing 2 men who they had forced to act as guides and 5 herdsmen who resisted them with bow and arrows and stole 360 livestock

06 April

Gunmen from Boko Haram ISWAP ambushed an army convoy heading to GULUMBA, BAMA LGA in the vicinity of GUBDORI VILLAGE, BAMA LGA, BORNO State killing 4, wounding 5 with 4 missing. Friendly troops from GULUMBA counter attacked but were defeated and forced to withdraw with casualties

Gunmen from ISWAPs, Mamman NURs faction mounted in pickup trucks attacked friendly positions in WAJIRKO Village, BORNO State, defeating friendly forces who withdrew. Enemy forces captured, looted and burnt the base

07 April

Gunmen attacked ZABARMARI Village, JERE LGA, BORNO State

Gunmen abducted 13 women in the vicinity of HAMBAGDA Village, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State, after a group of 25 went to pick acacia fruit and encountered 2 suspected Boko Haram females, who allegedly notified their members who abducted 13

Gunmen ambushed an army patrol in MAFA LGA, BORNO State killing 5

08 April

Gunmen ambushed a truck carrying 9 loggers along MAIDUGURI- DAMBOA Road in the vicinity of KAYAMLA, JERE LGA, BORNO State. 8 were murdered with bladed weapons and their bodies burnt, 1 escaped and raised the alarm

2 female PBIEDs attacked a mosque around 5.25am near the Federal High Court, JUDDUMURI Village, JIDDARI POLO Area, MAIDUGURI, BORNO State. They were dropped off by a VW Golf prevented from entering with one detonating outside killing herself and her companion and wounding 5 people. The second device was made safe by NPF EOD

Situation North West (Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara States)

Situation North Centre (Abuja FCT, Bauchi, Benue, Gombe, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Taraba States)

02 April

The National Task Force on Illegal Arms and Ammunition (NatForce) and the NPF engaged a gang of kidnappers in MARARABA UDEGE, NASARAWA LGA, NASARAWA State, killing one and capturing another and recovering 2,500 cattle. There were allegedly 25 people in the gang

The Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons stated they had received a 1m Euro grant for the retraining and resettlement of repentant militants in KATSINA, KEBBI, SOKOTO, ZAMFARA, KADUNA, CROSS RIVER and AKWA IBOM State. The militants would receive training in vocational skills

Suspected nomadic gunmen attacked 2 villages in KWANDE LGA, BENUE State killing 2 people

Suspected nomadic gunmen attacked IKYOAWEN, MOON District, KWANDE LGA, BENUE State killing 4 people

03 April

Gunmen attacked DIIV and ALABA Villages, NZAAV Ward, KWANDE LGA, BENUE State around 7.00am killing 11 people, looting houses and stealing foodstuffs

Suspected nomadic gunmen killed 2 farmers in ALABA and MANDA ORDUE Villages, YAAV Ward, KWANDE LGA, BENUE State

The CAS AM Saadiq Baba ABUBAKAR visited the BENUE State Governor Samuel ORTOM and stated the NAF is to begin aerial surveillance in BENUE State

NASARAWA State Police Command paraded over 50 suspected armed robbers, kidnappers, arsonists and cattle rustlers at the Police officers mess, LAFIA, stating they had recovered 500 stolen cattle, 1 x AK 47 and 24 x 7.62mm rounds, military style uniforms and 13 x motorcycles and arrested 40 suspects in the vicinity of UDEGE-MBEKI and MARARABA UDEGE Villages, NASARAWA LGA and ODU and AGWADA Villages, KOKONA LGA. 12 suspect were arrested after attacking a Chinese mining company Kenyang Limited in UDEGE MBEKI Village allegedly causing N400min damage on 18 March

A suspected kidnapper was murdered by a mob in AJAKA IGALAMELA/ ODOLU LGA, KOGI State

04 April

A Joint 72 SF Bn/ NPF operation uncovered an arms cache in a bunker in GBISHE, KATSINA ALA LGA, BENUE State recovering over 3,000 rounds of ammunition, 26 x assorted firearms including a GPMG, 3 x AK 47s, 1 x SMGand RPGs, allegedly belonging to a wanted former militant leader Terwase AGWAZA aka GANA following a tip off. Police state that there are more suspected bunkers in GBISHE

05 April

A clash over who would be the District Head of AMPANG, KANKE LGA, PLATEAU State led to the death of 1, with several others wounded

07 April

The BENUE State Police Command paraded 4 herdsmen suspected of attacks on villages in TARKA LGA as well as 14 suspected cattle rustlers and recovered cattle

Situation External (Rest of the World)

03 April

2 x female PBIEDs detonated at the entrance to MORA, MAYO SAVA Department, EXTREME NORD Region, in the morning killing only themselves

04 April

The Director of the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) Agnes MARCAILLOU stated a team had arrived in NIGERIA to assess the SAMBISA Forest in order to clear mines, IEDs and UXO

06 April

GERMANY deported a 22 year old German citizen to NIGERIA. The man was detained in February in GOTTINGEN during an investigation into a suspected planned Daesh attack with a 27 year old Algerian, they were detained following extended surveillance with 2 weapons including a firearm and a machete, ammunition and a Daesh flag

07 April

The Republic of IRELAND donated 1m Euros for agricultural development in the Lake CHAD Basin

08 April

Gunmen attacked SANDAWADJIRI, MAYO TSANAGA Department, EXTREME NORD Region killing 1 person

Gunmen attacked GANEI, MAYO TSANAGA Department killing 4 people

A PBIED detonated in KOLOFATA, MAYO SAVA Department killing 1 and wounding 5

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Boko Haram’s Rainy Season  Operations 2017: Shaping Operations in the vicinity of Lake Chad

Towards the end of April the rainy season begins, dry riverbeds and ponds fill up, streams and rivers flood, low lying land near water features become swampy. Farmers will begin planting, herdsmen will bring cattle to graze and water, fishermen will return to rivers and ponds.

Pond in Jere LGA

Warfare globally is seasonal and Nigeria is no exception, these changes make unprepared roads and tracks muddy and some impassable, rain clouds and storms affect air operations and radio communications.

From 2015 Boko Haram lost territory as well as the operational and strategic initiative, it also faced internal divisions in 2016 when Daesh recognised Abu Musab al Barnawi  as its Amir renaming his Boko Haram faction- Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). Abubakar Shekau left reverting his faction to Boko Haram’s original name of Jama’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid Dawah wa’l Jihad (JAS). Following the split each faction more or less stuck to a distinct Area of Operations, with ISWAP operating roughly in northern Borno and Yobe State/ southern Diffa Region, Niger Republic and around Lake Chad and the Camerounian border, whilst JAS operated to the south of Maiduguri in the Sambisa Forest.

The increased number and tempo of operations by Nigerian and allied forces since the middle of 2016 have disrupted and displaced both groups. Op Rescue Finale in the Sambisa Forest displaced Boko Haram JAS toward the forests of Kala Balge LGA near the Camerounian border, which had been mainly dominated by the Mamman Nur faction of Boko Haram ISWAP, likewise Op Thunder by the MNJTF around the Mandaras and Op Rawan Kada by the MNJTF around Lake Chad, defeated and displaced Boko Haram ISWAP forces leading to them operating in places as far south as Biu.

The Nigerian government has characterised the successes of these operations as indicating Boko Haram is in disarray, fleeing or starving.

However, a review of Boko Harams actions shows that far from being in disarray, they appear to be conducting a deliberate set of preparatory actions.

We will review some of these enemy actions and analyse what this indicates in terms of the enemy’s situation and intent.

Enemy Actions:

Deep Strikes/ Spoiling attacks:  Both factions have used different types of pre-emptive attacks to disrupt friendly operations and try to achieve local successes. ISWAP has launched attacks on military posts and ambushed troops, using fairly distinct TTPs (Training, Tactics and Procedures). Following a battle drill consisting of preparation, with a period of build up to mass forces, vehicles and supplies, approaching using cover deception and concealment such as forests or even rain storms, to the attack; using armoured VBIEDs as fire support and motorcycles, trucks and even horses and camels for mobility, fight through and regroup/ withdrawal. A clear example took place in mid March as Nigerian forces from Damasak were conducting clearance operations around Lake Chad. ISWAP massed forces in villages in a 20-40km radius from Magumeri for several days, and then concentrated about 10km away. Their advance whilst during daylight used deception as they used vehicles resembling military vehicles. When the attack was launched it came from several flanks overwhelming the defenders with small arms and support weapons.

To recapture the base, friendly troops from Damasak counterattacked and spent several days pursuing the enemy, who withdrew in relatively good order with captured weapons and vehicles.  Other attacks have followed a similar pattern of forcing friendly forces to divert assets to retaking captured bases and pursuing enemy forces disrupting friendly operations.

JAS on the other hand has used person borne IEDs (PBIEDs) to attack Maiduguri and its southern approaches. Whilst these attacks have shown an increase in number there has been very little innovation in TTPs and a marked decrease in lethality from their 2015 and 2016 IED campaigns.

Maiduguri Market

The attacks have been mainly in southern Jere and Mafa LGA and Konduga LGA both on the approaches to Maiduguri from the Sambisa Forest.

Other than demonstrating the ability of Boko Haram to conduct deep attacks into Maiduguri the IED attacks have very little operational or strategic utility, in that majority of the checkpoints in and around Maiduguri are manned by vigilantes and other Federal paramilitaries such as the NSCDC, thus troops are not being diverted from other tasks to defend Maiduguri or to seek out IED facilities.

The inability of the PBIEDs to penetrate deep into Maiduguri or attack military or strategic targets such as the military or government simply reduces these attacks to mass casualty ‘terror raids’ designed to have a psychological effect on the civilian population.

Sustainment: there have been extensive raids on village throughout the Dry Season, especially in Camerouns’ Extreme Nord and Adamaou Regions as well as in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa State. These have included theft of foodstuffs, livestock, fuel and medicines as well as illegal taxation of food, money and other materials from villagers with reports of some targeted killings certain individuals such as herdsmen, fishermen, village heads and farmers linked to punishment for non-compliance.

Each faction again uses different TTPs; ISWAP robs and taxes villagers but has been at pains to and inform civilians they mean no harm. Likewise although they have abducted young females, they have mostly avoided gratuitously murdering males.

JAS on the other hand has maintained much the same raiding pattern as before, robbing villages, killing locals and burning the villages down, displacing and terrorising the population.

The use of middlemen and sympathisers to purchase goods in markets continues but it is difficult to judge from open sources whether this is on the increase or decline.

Civilian relations: the 2 factions again show a differing approach to civilian interactions. ISWAP has taken pains to show discrimination in their operations, reassuring villagers of their safety during robberies and attempting to avoid causing civilian casualties and using a less harsh interpretation of Sharia Law in areas under their control. JAS on the other hand has not attempted to soften its image or try and develop positive links with the civilian population and still revels in publicising its harsh treatment of civilians for alleged ‘crimes’.

Propaganda: looking at 4 of the most recent Boko Haram videos, one shows the murder of 3 men described as spies, the next were 2 directed at Cameroun and the 4th is more conventional directed at the Nigerian government and Buhari.

The first of the Cameroun videos involved footage of an attack, complete with explosions and Shekau delivering a speech in front of a Boko Haram flag refuting claims made earlier by Camerounian forces that they had rescued 5,000 hostages and killed 60 Boko Haram fighters. He also claimed the IED attacks on Maiduguri and ended on a high note by insulting various world leaders. The video ends with footage of captured equipment including Galil rifles, magazines, solar chargers, boots, clothing, passports and loose ammunition.

The second Cameroun video showed footage of an attack (very similar to that in the previous one) followed by men fully kitted out in uniform again mocking Camerounian forces and standing over a pile of kit which is again remarkably similar to that in the previous video.

The terrain appears flat, as opposed to the rocky hills of the Mandaras, which could indicate this fighting took place in Kala Balge or around Lake Chad.

Defensive operations: the enemy have used similar TTPs to defend their bases, particularly ambushes with IEDs, small arms and support weapons on attacking forces, IEDs on roads and tracks to deny areas to friendly forces and attrite men and materiel. Small arms are used for ambushes as well as in defence

On average contacts during patrols and clearance operations cause relatively low enemy casualties and prisoners and captured weapons. Whilst modern weapons and vehicles are routinely captured, dane guns and even bows and arrows are also prevalent. Very few wounded enemy are captured.

Abductions: reports of females and children being abducted have increased recently particularly in the border areas. Adult males do not appear to be targeted for abduction.

Espionage/ Counter espionage: Boko Haram’s use of children, women, IDPs and others as spies remains unchanged. What appears to have changed is the number defecting, being arrested or simply trying to go home. Whilst not in epidemic proportions this factor is a good indicator of cooperation by local people, enemy morale and friendly counter intelligence efforts.

The military has been keen to highlight the number of operations it conducts based on local tips and intelligence. It would appear the enemy has taken note of this with increased reports of murders of suspected spies and the propaganda video devoted to the issue.

Both sides struggle with counter espionage, friendly forces more so due to Boko Haram having the advantage of a vast pool of local men, women and children to utilise, who only need to lurk near bases to provide information. The constant influx of IDPs to government controlled towns, gives Boko Haram perfect cover to infiltrate their spies, who even when caught can simply claim to have been coerced or trying to surrender or return home. Most suspects appear to be identified by denouncements from local civilians, more intelligent and humane handling of captives appears to have led to the unravelling of several Boko Haram networks.

From the friendly forces perspective very few people go into Boko Haram territory, making infiltrating or recruiting agents very difficult.

Environmental: the rains which will reduce the number of crossing points over rivers, make untarred and unmaintained roads impassable, help conceal the noise of vehicle movements and wash away tracks. It will be easier to mass forces near to bases as the foliage will be thicker giving greater cover from aerial surveillance. More source of water will be available, however the period between harvesting and planting are traditionally periods of food scarcity in the region.

Aerial view of Borno State

Situation Friendly Forces: Nigeria, Chad, Cameroun and Niger Republic are engaged in active combat operations (Benin Republic turns up for meetings). Active support in terms of ISR, training, equipment, advice and mentoring comes from France (the only foreign country with a complete battlegroup in the region), the US (with UAVs, contractors and Special Forces), UK (with training, equipment and ISR). Others such as Germany, Canada also assist with equipment and training.

Of the combatant nations, Nigeria despite having a sickly President is unusually politically stable but struggling with low oil prices and a recession, as well as the normal issues of corruption and inefficiency. The Army is still overstretched and under resourced.

Cameroun is facing a simmering civil unrest in Anglophone Cameroun and has a Presidential election next year. The armed forces are still overstretched.

Chad is politically stable, with President Deby having secured himself another 5 year term in 2016 and is comfortable under the protection of French Op Barkhane troops.

President Issoufou of Niger Republic won 92% of the vote in the 2016 election and announced this year he would not seek another term in office, (2021 is still a long time away for him to change his mind) other than the spill over insurgencies and the general poverty, Niger Republic is relatively stable.

Of the external allies, it is unlikely either of the winner of the French election will interfere with anti jihadi operations in the Sahel.

The US operations are sufficiently low profile to avoid being caught up in US domestic bickering and former US President Obama’s opaque and vast expansion of US military operations in Africa would be fairly difficult to unravel. They also fit in with the current US Presidents, narrative of fighting ‘radical Islamic terrorism’.

The UK whilst going through Brexit will be anxious to retain this foothold in Africa for its forces not only to demonstrate its capabilities and commitments but also to forestall being overshadowed by its erstwhile EU rivals France and Germany who both have significant combat forces in West Africa.


Boko Harams ostensible long term objective is the creation of a Caliphate in their own image in the Lake Chad Basin area. In the medium term in order to achieve this, they need to defeat Nigerian and allied forces and remove existing government and traditional structures.

Post 2014/ 15 they no longer have the strength to confront Nigerian and allied forces on equal terms, thus must use asymmetric warfare in the short term to prolong the conflict, making it as costly as possible for friendly forces whilst building up their strength and burnishing their ideological credentials for the future conflict.

If viewed in this context, we can try to understand the enemies’ intent for the rainy season based on their actions.

JAS’s use of PBIEDs to conduct deep strikes on Maiduguri can best be compared to the World War 2 British Bomber campaign and German blitz. Whilst both had an overt military rationale of depopulating cities, destroying transport and industry, in fact the bomber campaign was the only way for Britain to strike at Nazi Germany after a series of land defeats. The Germans explicitly characterised their campaign as revenge for the British bomber raids expending huge resources attacking cities in competition with purely military targets in order to break the will of the British populace. Whilst neither succeeded psychologically, militarily the Germans had to devote huge resources to defending their capital and the Ruhr depriving the battlefronts of fighters, artillery and manpower.

JAS’s PBIED campaign has not had the same effect; despite its sustained tempo it hasn’t overwhelmed the network of vigilante and paramilitary checkpoints and patrols around Maiduguri nor will much new equipment be needed to be diverted or brought in as the most effective counter IED tool so far has been the human eye and local knowledge, (although dogs now appear to be popular).

But from a strategic viewpoint their ability to resuscitate their IED networks and launch an IED campaign against Maiduguri indicates that JAS structures are sufficiently robust to regenerate after being displaced and absorbing losses. In other words, whilst they might be displaced they are not near destroyed or defeated.

Whilst this might seem a gloomy assessment the corollary is that this campaign is much less effective than previous ones, devices have not increased in sophistication, instead they are less lethal and reliable possibly indicating that more skilled makers have been killed, displaced or captured and/ or components are harder to source. A higher number of attackers surrender or abandon their devices potentially indicating that their ability to indoctrinate or intimidate captives is weakening.

Just as interesting is the complete lack of innovation in their tactics. Beyond attempting to attack in the hours of darkness, there have been no attempts to utilise the multiple PBIEDs to attack in waves or staggers or use one as a lure or deception or another as a secondary. This could again be attributed to the reduced psychological preparation of the attackers who tend to stick together, thus killing each other with their detonation and survivors also tend to flee rather than press home their attack. The attackers have not been able to penetrate deep into Maiduguri focussing on the southern suburbs of Maiduguri particularly Muna Garage either due a personal vendetta, the IDP camp or simply its proximity to IED making facilities mean that most PBIEDs have to pass through the area and thus are detected at local checkpoints or else they seek to detonate as soon as possible. Directed against military patrols or convoys these PBIEDs could wreak havoc yet they are used strategically not operationally.

ISWAP on the contrary has used spoiling attacks to achieve localised operational objectives of diverting, disrupting and distracting friendly forces, resupplying from captured arms and equipment and inflicting defeats and casualties. Whilst these have not been able to prevent friendly forces from imposing their will, it has helped shape the battle space in that friendly forces must devote more resources to force protection as well as divert forces to either hunt enemy concentrations or pursue attackers.

The relatively low number of enemy casualties and weapons captured suggests the enemy prioritizes withdrawing to conserve their strength rather than determined resistance in the face of superior friendly forces. It could also indicate that patrols general engage screening forces armed with obsolete weapons allowing main forces to withdraw.

ISWAP’s medium to long term agenda can be discerned from their interactions with the civilian population whom they rob, tax and abduct with impunity but in a structured manner, guaranteeing their lives as long as they remain obey ISWAPs rules. This is an intelligent tactic as it encourages locals to remain in their villages, producing food (which they can steal and tax), going to markets (which they can rob and tax) and remain in the operational area making it more difficult for friendly forces to target them due to the presence of civilians. In contrasts with JASs’ scorched earth tactics terrorises villagers, leaves them with nothing to sustain themselves and displaces them and reportedly uses arbitrary and draconian punishments.

It should not be thought however that ISWAP is less brutal than JAS, as reports of the murder of a herdsman from Baga area who fled rather than pay tax with his family abducted and flock stolen after his death indicates. However their use of violence appears to be selective and rule bound.

Both factions co-opt legitimate trade and use middlemen to buy fuel and other supplies at the same time there are hints that the huge increase in criminality around Kaduna/ Abuja/ Kogi area, with kidnap for ransom, armed robbery and cattle rustling could be either directly supporting Boko Haram or else former Boko Haram fighters plying their trade elsewhere. Cattle rustling and armed banditry in Adamaoua Region, Cameroun also appears to be on the increase. Whilst there is no evidence of Boko Haram links, there have been numerous arrests in the Kogi area by the DSS of alleged Boko Haram operatives.

The abduction of females and children would be curious for a defeated, starving and fleeing foe  as they would need to divert resources to feeding and guarding them. However a force preparing for an offensive might need additional people to act as camp slaves, spies, bearers and PBIEDs as well as sex slaves for their fighters to boost morale.

Enemy propaganda has been the strongest indicator of potential tends for the rainy season campaign, videos have been in French, Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri languages, with messaging not only covering the standard topics of berating Nigeria but specifically Cameroun and Camerounian forces.

Boko Haram has traditionally used Cameroun for strategic depth, abstaining from attacks until Camerounian forces began to attack them in 2014. They have exploited the gaps in Camerounian forces as well as the lack of coordination with Nigeria to their advantage however, several joint operations such as Op Alpha, Op Thunder 1 & 2, Op Rawan Kada etc by Nigerian and Camerounian units have not only inflicted tactical defeats on Boko Haram forces but undermined their aura of cross border impunity as evinced by Shekaus almost instantaneous and irritable response to the claim of Camerounian forces to have killed 60 of his men and liberated 5,000 hostages.

This focus on Cameroun could be indicate they are struggling with the joint operations and/ or a warning to Cameroun that they will be the new focus of operations. They could be hoping that Biya facing challenges in Anglophone Cameroun in the run up to the 2018 elections might opt for a quiet life with an informal truce in Extreme Nord Region, allowing Boko Haram the safe areas they need to rebuild and resupply their forces.

Herdsmen in Borno


From these factors, it can be assessed that contrary to the Nigerian Governments narrative of Boko Haram being defeated and fleeing or there being violent tensions between the ISWAP and JAS, in fact both factions appear to be able to operate in each other’s territory with relative freedom.

JAS having been defeated in the Sambisa Area, appears to have withdrawn in fairly good order to Kala Balge and Cameroun. Despite losses in hostages, fighters, vehicles, food, fuel and weapons they responded almost immediately with a strategic propaganda campaign, an IED campaign against Maiduguri and have reinfiltrated back into Jere, Mafa and Konduga LGA, the areas immediately surrounding Maiduguri such as with a speed that indicates these were planned and prepared for actions.

Whilst Maiduguri has always been an obsession for Shekau, vital ground to them are the Mandara Mountains and the strategic depth afforded by Cameroun up to and beyond Waza Forest Reserve.

Thus it is likely that key battles in the rainy season will seek to isolate friendly forces and deny them freedom of movement in and around Gwoza, Bama and Kale Balge LGAs in Nigeria and Logone et Chari, Mayo Sava and Mayo Tsanaga Department in Cameroun, so as to maintain or regain control of the approaches to the Mandara Mountains.

It is likely that IEDs attacks on Maiduguri as well as towns and cities in Cameroun will continue in order to maintain pressure on military and civil authorities, as well as raids and ambushes in Jere, Konduga, Damboa and Askira Uba LGAs as Boko Haram forces settle back into Sambisa Forest.

To the north however Boko Haram ISWAP could be subject to different pressures. External factors such as the impending defeat of Daesh in the Middle East and Libya, the amalgamation of Ansar Dine, Katiba Macina, al Mourabitoun and AQIM into Jama’ah Nusrah al-Islam wal Muslimin- Group for the support of Islam and Muslims– (JNIM) under Ansar Dine leader Iyad Ag Ghaly in the Sahel. These Al Qaeda affiliated groups felt pressured by the actions of Daesh affiliated groups in Libya, the Sahel and northern Nigeria.

The Al Qaeda groups are under pressure from Algerian, French and French allied forces whilst Daesh in Iraq, Syria and Somalia are struggling, with only Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) holding on which like ISWAP operates in a tri border area the Liptako -Gourma bordering Mali/ Burkina Faso/ Niger Republic.

Boko Harams links to the wider Sahelian jihad were mainly through MUJAO, the remnants of which became Al Murabitoun. The Leader of ISGS Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui is also ex MUJAO.

These external factors are important as ISWAP not only needs to defend itself from Nigerian and allied forces but maintain its contacts with the wider Daesh collective, as well as avoid conflict with JNIM, particularly over the trans Sahelian people, narcotics and contraband smuggling routes.

Cut off from supply routes by al Qaeda and friendly operations in and around Lake Chad, ISWAP must live off what remains of the population, and maintain good relationships with local civilians in order to maintain the civilian ‘fish’ in which they swim as per Maoist doctrine.

Curiously of the two Boko Haram factions, it is Daesh affiliated ISWAP that adheres most closely to al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri’ General Guidelines on Jihad, such as not creating problems for civilians, attacking Muslims, mosques and avoiding attacks on Christians unless provoked. JAS on the other hand adheres much more closely to Daeshs view that anyone not in total agreement with them is an infidel and worthy of death or enslavement.

It is likely that with the return of the rainy season Boko Haram ISWAP will seek to regain control of the Niger/ Nigeria border particularly the crossing points of the Komadougou River and its approaches as well as the Lake Chad islands and force friendly forces to withdraw by attempting to isolate their bases with IEDs and ambushes along lines of communications and then massing forces and destroying them one by one until the cost of retaking, rebuilding and sustaining those bases becomes too great. This will give ISWAP control of a portion of the smuggling routes and an avenue to tax fish, cattle and other agricultural produce.


In summary it is unlikely that either Boko Haram faction would attempt a general offensive. The most likely course of action is to try and secure their rear areas in order to create a strategic depth and an operational stalemate with which they can prepare for the next round of fighting.  If all goes according to plan it is likely this could be 2018/19 in which Cameroun and then Nigeria go to the polls, Europe will be dealing with Brexit and the US with its mid term elections.

Although both factions are still combat effective they are weakened and subject to internal and external pressures, whilst friendly forces now field much better trained and led troops, have better equipment and are better coordinated especially between Nigeria, Niger Republic and Cameroun, however it is likely that Nigerian troops particularly at the borders and around Sambisa Forest are in for another year of hard, miserable patrols, IEDs and frustrating fighting with a brutal and slippery foe.

Posted in Counter insurgency, Defence, Geopolitics, Nigeria Defence, Nigeria Strategy, Rest of the world, Terrorism, West Africa Defence, West Africa Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Interesting Times (1): Syria, Russia, China and North Korea

The US President just ordered a cruise missile air strike on a Syrian air base after a Syrian military air raid on a rebel held town led to accusations of a chemical weapons attack.

Whilst there are many theories and allegations about the attack itself it is more interesting to review these incidents in a wider global geopolitical frame.

Whilst the Syrian Air Force was accused of the attack, no evidence had been produced to support this beyond reports from rebel held or rebel aligned sources, the video of the innocent victims and the fact that the Syrian air force undeniably carried out an air strike at that time and location.

Contrary to normal protocol the US did not establish the facts, make a case or seek international consensus instead conducted a unilateral air strike which inflicted limited damage to the base.

The strikes took place during a summit with the Chinese leader, subsequently a US carrier group moved to the Western Pacific and the US Secretary of State stated the Chinese had agreed that ‘action should be taken’ in regards North Korea.

The air strikes took place whilst the US President was at his first summit with the Chinese leader, whom he had previously urged to put pressure on North Korea, which has conducted several missile tests this year as well as a suspected solid fuel ballistic missile just before the summit. Suspected North Korean agents also allegedly murdered the brother of the North Korean leader this year.

North Korea traditionally tests new US Presidents to either extract concessions or obtain breathing space to continue its activities, however their actions have been consistent with their stated aim of acquiring nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

It could thus be argued that the US National Security team has undertaken a wide ranging grand strategic action (although without any indication of the underlying policy) which utilises all of the US’s strengths, such as its universal military reach, its ability to conduct devastating strikes without risking its personnel or strike assets, its naval power as well as its diplomatic skills, as well as taking something generally considered to be a liability-the impulsive nature of the current US President- and made it a strength.

We should first look at the following factors in order to better analyse the situation;

US air strike: open source footage shows that although there is substantial damage to the air base, some aircraft remain intact, as do the ground based air defence systems, radar and runway. Syrian strike aircraft took off on a mission from the aircraft the same day as did Russian helicopters, in a pointed act of defiance. Russian media and government sources also stated most of the missiles missed but without showing the corresponding wreckage of these missiles.

The US had used its deconfliction channels to warn the Russians who also used the base, in essence warning the Syrians, thus reducing the damage and casualties (although the Syrians claimed 7 dead). The strike thus had virtually no operational utility. Even if the damage to the base infrastructure is substantial there are sufficient major and minor bases around Syria for Assad and his allies to use.

Syria: the strikes on Assad mark a U Turn for the current US administration which in the space of a few days changed its policy from accepting Assad’s government and prioritising the war against Daesh to endorsing regime change. Whether the US wishes to entangle itself in this quagmire and find itself fighting not just Daesh but the Assad government and the multiple rebel factions remains to be seen.

Syrian Rebels: if in fact the Syrian rebels did perpetrate this attack, it would be the first operational manipulation of the US Presidents use of television of an information source and impulsive nature. Whilst the Syrian government has used chemical weapons and has no compunction about killing its people, there is little logic short of pure arrogance to conduct such an attack when it had achieved a convergence of views between Russia and US on regime preservation, was winning on the battlefield and going in to peace talks with a strong hand. The rebels (of whom there are many) on the other hand were entering peace talks from a position of weakness, were facing Iranian, Russian and Assad forces as well as each other, the US’s prioritisation of support for the anti Daesh fight and were no closer to forming a united front or consensus than they were to beating Assad.

All sides of the Syrian conflict are masters of propaganda and the rebels are extremely skilled at manipulating Western political and civil audiences as the siege of Aleppo, during the US Presidential election demonstrated. It is unclear who was responsible or why but any reasoned analysis must look at all actors and it is clear that the rebels had most to gain from this attack.

Russia: Russia as the protector of the Assad regime particularly from the air with the introduction of ground based air defence S 400 systems as well as air superiority fighters and launching attacks from their sole aircraft carrier, looks extremely impotent in the face of the unilateral air strikes, in which the US did not even bother to suppress the Russian air defences and actually warned them in advance. Their alleged influence operation targeting the US Presidential elections appears to have produced virtually no dividends thus far. Allegations of collusion with a foreign power would have destroyed any normal politician, however the personality of the current US President and the political atmosphere in the US is so unusual that accepted norms do not affect him. Facing an organic opposition movement at home in the run up to the next elections, economic morass and no hope of sanctions relief, the Russian response is likely to be patient, measured and asymmetric.

North Korea: whilst the US has moved assets around North Korea, the probability of an actual attack without some sort of North Korean military provocation remains low, as North Koreas key trump card has never been its potential nuclear weapons but its ability to use artillery to destroy Seoul and its suburbs. Unless North Korea attacks the US or its allies or mobilises for an attack the risks of any military action against them vastly outweigh the rewards.

China: for China North Korea is a buffer between the capitalist, US allied South Korea and a useful tool to pressure the US and its east Asian allies. What the Chinese cannot afford is a collapse of the North Korean regime flooding its borders with refugees and weapons. China’s key interests lie within the south China Sea, trade and its great power projections. Whilst China can shut off coal and other needed materials to North Korea it must also be ready to deal with the consequences of their bluff being called and the North Korean regime simply ignoring them or upping the ante with more missile tests or provocations.

Unilateral military action against them would be difficult operationally however a joint operation with the US and its allies would be too dramatic a strategic realignment. However, China might have other unknown levers they can use on North Korea. The key question is what price will they extract for acting in whatever guise.

Geopolitics: Great nations and empires act generally because they are forced to by circumstance. Reality generally trumps rhetoric. President Obama wished to withdraw from the Middle East but coul not due to the collapse of the US back Iraqi army and government and its need to try and moderate the Syrian Civil/ proxy war, likewise the pivot by President Obama to Asia was not due to brilliant strategic insight but a simple recognition that Asia will be the next centre for trade and manufacture and China will be the next superpower. The pivot and the Trans Pacific Partnership treaty were simply tools for the US to try and manage these emerging rivals. Conversely the US’s interest in the Middle East was never due to ideological or personal preference rather to ensure US access to one of the largest available sources of oil as well as its shipping lanes.

The strategic importance of the Middle East faded as the US began weaning itself of foreign oil and the Iraq and Afghan Wars ended. These had sapped US strength and created room for other powers such as Russia, Iran, Turkey and China to begin to assert themselves. The previous US President who ironically revelled in being considered a multilateralist understood this and sought to limit direct and overt US involvement as much as possible, using UAVs, special forces and contractors in the main and leaving Regional Powers to balance themselves out. This unfortunately led to the brutal proxy wars in Syria and Yemen, the renewed war in Iraq but from a US perspective, however bloody, they were not sapping US blood, treasure or diplomacy.


The attack on the Air base could have several effects. The first is that in Syria, Assad will continue prosecuting the war with Iranian and Russian assistance with the same vigour and brutality. If he was the perpetrator of the chemical weapons attack he is unlikely to repeat it and do be honest doesn’t (and didn’t) need to. It is likely that the war will become a stalemate with the recapture of Daesh held territories in Syria and Iraq. However the current administration’s rapid anti Assad U -Turn means that the strategic breathing space they had acquired by being able to chart a different path from their predecessor is lost and it will difficult to negotiate an end to the war, so it will continue in all its brutality.

Russia will need to respond in same way to maintain their credibility as defenders of Syria and domestic narrative of a great power. Direct confrontation is too risky, although proxies could  attack US troops in Syria increasing the cost of the operation. Russia could also take advantage of the US being focussed on Syria, Iraq and North Korea to launch an asymmetric operations in the Baltic States, Central or Eastern Europe or Western Europe. If any of these prove too difficult, Russia has the very easy option of escalating the Ukrainian conflict.

It is unlikely North Korea will back down from their perspective, their conventional weapons make invasion costly for South Korea and US forces, nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles will make it costly for Japan, China and the US, thus there is no logical reason for them to stop attempting to acquire these weapon systems. It is more likely that they will sustain the crisis until a last minute intervention from China, allows them to save face and appear as if descalation itself is a concession. Any other concessions they will most likely violate.

Backing down to US or Chinese pressure without being able to claim some sort of victory (like direct negotiations with the US, sanctions relief or some form of aid. would weaken the regimes hold on power amongst the various elite factions potentially threatening the regimes rule.

This brings us to China.

China has much to risk by joining a strong concerted US action against North Korea.

If their pressure fails they have lost credibility and a convenient pressure point with the US. If the US unilaterally acts then they are faced with either supporting a despicable, unsustainable regime or allowing a well trained and equipped western Army fight its way up to their borders, if the regime collapses they will be flooded with refugees, the remnants of the North Korean forces and the plethora of weapons in the country.

It will also show some of its own restive people that totalitarian states are not invulnerable.

China however does want concessions on several issues including trade, South China Sea and other issues. If they get these concessions in return for activating certain levers against North Korea, short of a total blockade or support for military action it is still a win for them. They maintain their North Korean pressure point with which to influence the US and its allies, could obtain concessions from the US and complete the realignment of global power that the US withdrawal from the TPP indicated by demonstrating they are the new, dominant Pacific power and begin to realign that region to their interests.

The use of the Syrian strike to open up the North Korean discussions can be seen as a good example of the comprehensive use of a nations tools, however it is unclear to see how short of an extremely bloody war, the US benefits from this strike.

It has dramatically reduced its room for manoeuvre in Syria by attacking Assad and advocating regime change and put itself at the mercy of China in order to try and achieve some sort of decision on North Korea.

At the same time Russia has cause to skirt around the periphery waiting for the US to once more commit itself to a theatre so it can assert itself elsewhere and give the US or one of its allies a bloody nose.

The US has conducted the opening moves, we await the counter moves with interest.

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Situation North East (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States)

26 March

A vehicle carrying elements of DIKWA CJTF returning from an operation detonated an IED along DIKWA-MAIDUGURI Road in the killing 2 and wounding 3

27 March

The Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship (NASAC) 2017 and firepower demonstration opened in the SAMBISA Forest on a purpose built Range, on the BAMA axis in BAMA LGA, BORNO State. Security under 21 Bde consisted of 202 Bn on both flanks, 151 Bn to the rear, with Alphajet and F 7Ni as air support, with ISR as top cover. Teams came from 1 Div, 2 Div, 3 Div, 6 Div, 7 Div, 8 TF Div, 81 Div, 82 Div and Army HQ Garrison. Marksmanship with the FN FAL, AK 47, GPMG and pistol are part of the competition

28 March

The BORNO State NSCDC Commandant Ibrahim ABDULLAHI paraded a 17 year old suspected Boko Haram member Ali MUSTAPHA who reportedly confessed to allegedly being a member of Mamman NURs faction and killing 18 civilians in KALA BALGE LGA, BORNO State. He stated he was abducted from MONGUNO in 2014 and trained in the use of the AK 47, GPMG, RPG and AAA weapons. He was captured when he infiltrated MAIDUGURI to spy on troops and vigilantes, he entered an IDP Camp to look for his parents where he was recognised and arrested

A suspected Boko Haram commander Bulama Kailani Mohammed METELE in Abu MUSTAPHA’s group, Mamman NURs faction from TUMBUN BERA surrendered to elements of 145 TF Bn, 5 Bde in DAMASAK, MOBBAR LGA, BORNO State

The Minister of Defence Mansur DAN ALI stated that ‘SHEKAU’ was alive and on the run

29 March

Elements of 112 TF Bn, 22 Bde conducted a fighting patrol towards BOSKORO, DIKWA LGA, BORNO State to investigate a suspected Boko Haram sleeper cell and were ambushed along the AJIRI-DIKWA Road. The enemy were defeated, with 1 killed, 1 x AK 47, 1 x AK 47 magazine, 47 x 7.62mm (NATO) link and 1 x motorcycle were captured. 1 soldier was wounded

UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes Manuel FONTAINE stated that Boko Haram destroyed 75% of the water infrastructure in Northeast NIGERIA with 3.8m lacking access to safe water

30 March

Media reports state heavy ground and air operations by Nigerian forces near the south MANDARAs by the NIGERIA/ CAMEROUN border areas

Gunmen from Mamman NURs faction of Boko Haram ISWAP mounted in pick up trucks attacked PULKA, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State abducting 14 teenage girls, 4 more girls were snatched as the enemy withdrew. The attackers did not shoot the fleeing villagers

Gunmen murdered a herdsman and killed 50 of his cattle in DUMBA, KUKAWA LGA near BAGA, BORNO State for fleeing and refusing to pay jizya. They also abducted 4 female family members and stole the rest of his cattle

YOBE State Governor Ibrahim GEIDAM reopened KATARKO Bridge, GUJBA LGA, 4 years after it was blown up by Boko Haram

BORNO State Commissioner for Women’s Affairs Hajiya Fanta BABA-SHEHU stated that the state will build an orphanage for 7-8,000 unaccompanied children

Gunmen attacked WUMYEDUGA Village, DAMBOA LGA, BORNO State around 7.45pm with small arms, IEDs and a PBIED, with 12 killed and 23 wounded. Initial small arms attacks led to 4 killed and 11 wounded. The attackers then stole 25 x bags of beans and burnt the village and livestock. Whilst the villagers were burying the casualties a suspected female PBIED detonated amongst them killing 5 and wounding 12.

Gunmen ambushed trucks from the Dangote Group in the vicinity of KUBUWA Village, DAMBOA LGA along BIU-DAMBOA Road, around 10.00am killing 2 drivers and a vigilante and wounding 3 people

31 March

Gunmen mounted on bicycles attacked KAYE near GUMSIRI, DAMBOA LGA, BORNO State around 10.00pm killing 3 people, burning the village and abducting ‘scores’ of villagers

NASAC 2017 ended, with 7 Div winning the Chief of Army Staff Trophy, ending with a firepower demonstration with rocket and tube artillery, armoured vehicles and support weapons

01 April

The Army has denied reports that 22 women were abducted from PULKA

Situation North West (Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara States) 

26 March

Gunmen abducted 2 businessmen Labbo GIYAWA And Murtala DANTATA from GIYAWA Village, GORONYO LGA, SOKOTO State around 10.00pm and taken to GUNDUMI Forest

27 March

SOKOTO State Police state they have arrested 4 x gang leaders in KWANNI, GADA LGA (?)

28 March

HQ 1 Div, KADUNA denied social media reports that 17 herdsmen had been killed in southern KADUNA

Situation North Centre (Abuja FCT, Bauchi, Benue, Gombe, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Taraba States)

26 March

KOGI State Police Command paraded 20 suspects accused of kidnap, armed robbery, criminal conspiracy, unlawful possession of firearms and culpable homicide. Also displayed were 4 x AK 47, 4 x pump action shotguns 2 x pistols, 200 x rounds of unspecified types of ammunition, 1 x dane gun and 2 x double barrel shotguns

28 March

Armed robbers attacked a branch of UBA in ODO ERE, YAGBA WEST LGA, KOGI State killing 1 x MOPOL and wounding one other around 4.20pm

Elements of 158 TF Bn, 5 Bde detained 2 x suspected Boko Haram members around 10.00am who were allegedly conducting reconnaissance in KARETO and DANGALTI, MOBBAR LGA, BORNO State

30 March

Gunmen attacked MAIHULA Ward, BALI LGA, TARABA State around 10.30pm killing a 2 year old boy and wounding his parents

Situation External (Rest of the World)

31 March

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2349 (2017) condemning terrorist attacks by Boko Haram

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Situation North East (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States)

19 March

2 x female PBIEDs and 1 x male PBIED detonated in UMARARI Village, JERE LGA, BORNO State on the outskirts of MAIDUGURI, killing a CJTF vigilante and 3 villagers after alighting from a vehicle

21 March

The World Bank Board approved a $200m credit for rehabilitating health, education, transport, water and sanitation in BORNO, YOBE and ADAMAWA State

BORNO State Governor Kashim SHETTIMA hosted a stakeholders meeting to investigate allegations of collusion by MAGUMERI natives. The head of the NPF CIB in MAGUMERI Bello HARUNA stated that he had received intelligence about Boko Haram concentrations around the town, which he passed on to a local commander Captain WAZA. DSS operative in MAGUMERI Tim MODALLA also testified he had warned of the attack on 10 March following reports of enemy concentrating around BANA Village, moving to SULEIMANTI Village on 13 March, where they gathered 45 vehicles by 14 March. The DSS assessed the enemy would attack MOBBAR, MAGUMERI or GUBIO. CJTF Vigilantes also confirmed the town was about to be attacked around 5.30pm on 15 March. Brig Gen Jubril USMAN the Garrison Commander offered no statement beyond describing the situation as ‘unfortunate’

Media reports state that 7 x Toyota Hilux and 40 x motorcycles were seen rising from YAKKU to AFARI Village, BORNO State 30km form MAGUMERI at night. Other reports state enemy forces were sighted in the vicinity of KAWIYA KULO NGUDIYE, 8km from JAKANA, KAGA LGA

22 March

3 x adult male PBIEDs attacked an unofficial IDP Camps at MUNA KUMBORI near MUNA Garage around 4.30am killing themselves and 2 others. Another adult male PBIED attacked a group about to start dawn prayers in MUNA DAGALTI killing 1 and wounding 4. A third adult male PBIED attacked MUNA BULAYA killing only himself 3 and wounding 14. A few minutes later another attacked

23 March

Elements of 103 Bn, 7 Div supported by CJTF vigilantes conducted clearance operations in the vicinity of GOMBOLE, KONDUGA LGA, BORNO State, killing several enemy and capturing an IED making facility, 3 x motorcycles, 4 x PBIED vests and 4 x military style uniforms. 1 soldier was wounded and evacuated by the NAF. 4 x women and 6 x children were rescued

24 March

Gunmen attacked KALARI Village, KONDUGA LGA, BORNO State abducting 4 women and 6 youth they were also reportedly operating in the vicinity of DALLA FATIMIRI on 10 x motorcycles, also attacking MITITIRI, ALALI, KONDUGA LGA

A General Courts Martial presided over by Brig Gen Olusegun ADENIYI sitting in MAIDUGURI, BORNO State convicted Capt. Matthew AROYE of gross indiscipline demoting him to 2nd Lieutenant with 4 years seniority, for joining disgruntled soldiers of 118 TF Bn, in GUBIO in November 2015, when they refused to soldier after a military setback during combat operations against Boko Haram

Chief of Training and Operations Maj Gen DD AHMADU stated that the Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship (NASAC) would hold from 27 March to 31 March in SAMBISA Forest, BORNO State

Elements of 22 Bde cleared GUJARI Village, MAFA LGA, BORNO State killing 2 enemy, capturing 4 x rifles and 1 x grenade

Gunmen allegedly from Boko Haram ISWAP mounted on pick up trucks and motorcycles attacked SABON GARIN KIMBA, BIU LGA, BORNO State around 6.00pm and stole food and medical supplies

25 March

Gunmen attacked KALARI ABDIYE Village, KONDUGA LGA, BORNO State between 2.00am and 3.00am murdering 3 men with bladed weapons and wounding a 4th, all of whom they had accused of passing information to the military. The gunmen identified themselves as members of Boko Haram ISWAP and also robbed livestock from villagers in DEKETE, however assured them they were not going to harm them

Residents of MAGUMERI, state that enemy forces have begun concentrating in nearby villages

Situation North West (Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara States)

20 March

Gunmen attempted to rob the NNPC Mega Station, GUSAU Road, SOKOTO, SOKOTO State, killing 2 x MOPOL on guard duty around 3.30am

Chairman of the Fulani Cattle Breeders association MACBAN, in KADUNA State Haruna USMAN accused the Army of killing 17 herdsmen in DAILE ALKARIYO Village, JEMA’A LGA, KADUNA State and burning 47 houses, after a farmer was allegedly attacked the military was invited to intervene in the issue.

Situation North Centre (Abuja FCT, Bauchi, Benue, Gombe, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Taraba States)

19 March

Suspected nomadic gunmen killed a farmer in YASKIRA Village, BARUTEN LGA, KWARA State. Local people retaliated by killing 3 Fulani men

20 March

Approximately 30 gunmen mounted in 4 x Toyota Corollas and 12 x Bajaj motorcycles reportedly led by a woman attacked the ZAKI BIAM International Yam Market, ZAKI BIAM, UKUM LGA, BENUE State from the direction of TOR TONDA- ZAKI BIAM Road around 2.00pm killing up to 52 people and burning several properties including a filling station

Gunmen attacked GIDAN KWANO Town, MARARBA UDEGE, NASARAWA LGA, NASRAWA State wounding 3 Fulani herdsmen and stealing 252 cattle

21 March

Suspected nomadic gunmen and villagers from AYILE murdered the Village Head of OSHUGU, NASARAWA LGA, NASARAWA State and a youth, reportedly over a disputed fish pond. The villagers allege that 2 Fulani men were arrested and 2 x AK 47 seized but they had been released.

The IGP Ibrahim IDRIS stated that a Task Force has been deployed to ZAKI BIAM consisting of MOPOL, CTU, NPF, SARS, SIB, EOD, K9 and NPF Air Wing units, commanded by the Commissioner of Police in commanded of MOPOL, Force HQ, ABUJA and supervised by Deputy IGP, Department of Operations

Residents of JATO AKA, KWANDE LGA, BENUE State accused a soldier from 707 Special Forces Bde of accidentally killing a student. The residents state that local vigilantes found weapons in a car carrying Fulani men and detained them. They allege the men called soldiers for assistance who released them and took them to their Base in KASHIMBILA. Whilst locals were demonstrating against the action a soldier allegedly fired his weapon to disperse them, with a stray round hitting the boy as he sat n his parents compound.

22 March

IMN members demonstrated in WUSE Market, ABUJA, FCT for the release of their leader Ibraheem EL ZAKZAKY

Police in BENUE State stated they had arrested 3 suspects in the attack on the International Yam Market ZAKI BIAM. The NPF stated actual casualties were 17 killed and 11 wounded

Gunmen attacked Fulani herdsmen in the vicinity of UDEGE, NASARAWA LGA, NASARAWA State killing 5, wounding 7 and stealing 500 cattle (actual date unclear)

23 March

The Neighbourhood Enlightenment and Safety Organisation Corps Commandant Sani ALIYU state they had detained 3 suspected Boko Haram members in GWARIMPA, ABUJA, FCT

Major Olabisi AYENI Deputy Director PR for 707 Bde disputes the account of the killing of the student in JATO AKA claiming that local youths had mounted an illegal roadblock and were harassing motorists entering BENUE State from TARABA State, they claimed the police intervened to rescue motorists at which locals attacked their camp, destroying vehicles and opening fire on their base

24 March

The Village of TSE CHIA near KASAR, ZAKI BIAM, UKUM LGA, BENUE State was attacked by youths allegedly from ZAKI BIAM around 1.00am, burning 4 houses and killing 3 people in an apparent reprisal for attacks on BIAM on Monday 20th

25 March

Suspected nomadic gunmen attacked JATO AKA Farm Centre, along KASHIMBILA Road, KWANDE LGA, BENUE State destroying property and killing an inmate. The rest of the prisoners were evacuated to GBOKO

Situation External (Rest of the World)

17 March

The Canadian Government is to provide $119.25m in response to humanitarian crisis in Northeast NIGERIA, SOUTH SUDAN, YEMEN and SOMALIA of which $2735m would go to NIGERIA

19 March

A PBIED was shot by a vigilante in KOLOFATA, MAYO SAVA Department, EXTREME NORD Region, another detonated killing only himself

22 March

The CDS Gen Abayomi OLONISAKIN led a delegation to the Global Coalition Working to Defeat ISIS Conference in WASHINGTON DC, USA, where he stated the cost of the humanitarian effort was $2.6bn

24 March

The Camerounian Military Court in YAOUNDE, CAMEROUN has adjourned the trial of RFI Hausa journalist Ahmed ABBA accused of complicity with Boko Haram and failing to denounce terrorism, after cross examination over the presence of photographs and warnings of attacks on his phone. Mr ABBA’s case was adjourned till 06 April 2017

25 March

Gunmen attacked Camerounian Army positions in SOUERAM, LOGONE ET CHARI Department, EXTREME NORD Region around 2.00am but were repelled losing 2 Camerounian soldiers killed and 7 enemy

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Situation North East (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States)

11 March

2 x female PBIEDs approached MAIDUGURI via UMARARI, JERE LGA along DAMBOA Road. One was shot and the other detonated. They were the only casualties

12 March

Elements of 251 Bn, 7 Div Garrison deployed in UMARARI, JERE LGA, discovered 2 x PBIED vests in the bush whilst on patrol. They were safely destroyed in a controlled detonation.

13 March

Gunmen attacked KUMSHE, BAMA LGA, BORNO State killing a Camerounian soldier

Elements of 232 Bn, 23 Bde patrolled towards GOMBI and GURIKI, GOMBI LGA and BOBINI, GUYUK LGA, ADAMAWA State to counter enemy infiltration, troops deployed in GARKIDA conducted standing patrols to occupying blocking positions in the vicinity of JAU

Elements of 23 Bde patrolled towards WUROLADE, ADAMAWA State to block enemy infiltration from CAMEROUN. Brigade sub units in HONG LGA continued patrolling in the vicinity of MARARRABA PELLA, KALLA and SHANGUI and along HONG-GARAHA Road

Elements of 120 and 159 TF Bn, 27 Bde conducted clearance operations in their areas of responsibility

Elements of 154 TF Bn, 29 TF Bde conducted fighting patrols towards MAULI, KAGA LGA, BORNO State

Elements of 156 TF Bn conducted route clearance along the ALAGARNO -MAULI axis, BORNO State

Elements of 301 Artillery Regt and 231 Bn have intensified patrols in southern BORNO State and GOMBE State to block enemy exfiltration from the AJIGIN and TALALA axis

Elements of 7 Div Gun Boat Coy, responded to a call from locals that Boko Haram were stealing cattle from ARAMARI Village near KONDUGA, KONDUGA LGA. Troops responded rescuing 1,000 cattle and 2 abductees

Elements of 145 TF Bn, 5 TF Bde detained a suspect claiming to be a herb seller crossing from NIGER Republic towards DAMASAK, MOBBAR LGA, BORNO State

Elements of 5 TF Bde whilst advancing to contact detonated a pressure plate IED at DUOMA near DAMASAK, BORNO State damaging the door of an APC

14 March

Boko Haram (JAS) released a 7 minute Hausa and Arabic video showing footage of attacks as well as the murder of 3 men accused of being government spies

Elements of 112 TF Bn, 22 TF Bde conducted a strike op clearing ARTANO, SADUGUMA, DUVE, BORDO, KALA, BOK, MAGAN, MISHERDE, AHISARI, GILGIL, MIKA, HIWA, KUTILA and SHIRAWA, KALA BALGE LGA, BORNO State. Troops came under fire in KUTILA, defeating them and capturing 1 x gun truck, 1 x Canter truck and 1 x pick up truck, with the enemy withdrawing into the forest. Troops also defeated enemy forces in SHIRAWA capturing 2 x PBIED vests and a maize grinding machine. 455 people were liberated and transferred to RANN IDP Camps

9 suspected Boko Haram members from TAMBASHE Village, DIKWA LGA, BORNO State surrendered to troops on DIKWA-GULUMBA GANA Road

15 March

Elements of 159 TF Bn arrested a suspected Boko Haram member Mallam Makinta IBRAHIM from YARO GREMATALTI, YUNUSARI LGA in BAYEMARI, on suspicion of being a fuel and logistics supplier to Boko Haram. Another suspect who claimed to be deaf and dumb was detained with 8 x mobile phones, bunches of keys, 2 x passport photographs, 2 x amulets and a transistor radio.

Elements of 151 TF Bn, 21 Bde ambushed the enemy at BORNO State College of Business Studies on BAMA-NGURUSOYE Road killing 4 enemies, capturing 1 x AK rifle, 60 x 7.62mm (AK) rounds, 3 x AK magazines, 5 x SIM cards, 5 x bicycles and 1 x Boko Haram flag

Gunmen mounted in 6 x pick up trucks and 10 x motorcycles attacked 8 Div positions in MAGUMERI, MAGUMERI LGA, BORNO State with small arms, RPGs, AAA guns and heavy weapons around 5.30pm, burning the military base, an APC, water tanker, bus, 2 x civilian vehicles, the police station and several houses, killing a police man and wounding a policeman, before friendly forces withdrew. The attackers reportedly stole fuel before friendly forces from DAMASAK counter attacked capturing 1 x vehicle mounted with an AAA gun. The attackers had allegedly told the locals they were going to attack and the military could not protect them.  A convoy heading from a shooting competition in MONGUNO to GUBIO was ambushed killing 1 x MOPOL and wounding another.

PBIEDs attempted to attack on ALKUMI Village near MUNA, MAFA LGA, BORNO State around 1.30am

4 x teenage female PBIED attacked several homes in USMANTI Village, near MUNA Garage, MAIDUGURI, BORNO State knocking on doors and detonating when answered around 1.15am killing themselves and 2 others and wounding 16 others

Gunmen attacked AUNO, KONDUGA LGA, BORNO State but were repelled by Nigerian forces

16 March

A fire at the College of Business and Management Studies, KONDUGA, KONDUGA LGA, BORNO State killing 3 and wounding 6

Elements of 22 Bde conducted an intelligence led fighting patrol towards GUJARI, MAFA LGA, BORNO State clearing the enemy from the area who were allegedly concentrating to attack nearby villages, killing enemy, destroying a tailors workshop, capturing 1 x RPG round, 3 x dane guns, 1 x double barrel pump action shotgun, 2 x bandoliers, 23 x empty 23mm rounds, 2 x water containers, 2 x 25l jerrycan of petrol, 1 x sewing machine, 12 x food flasks, assorted foodstuffs, soft drinks, women’s shoes and clothing items

17 March

A 27 minute video featuring Boko Haram (JAS) leader Abubakar ‘SHEKAU’ displayed captured Camerounian ID cards, weapons and ammunition. Speaking in Kanuri and Hausa he harangued CAMEROUN and other MNJTF countries denied that the MNJTF operation freed 5,000 people or killed 60 of his men. He also claimed recent PBIED attacks on MAIDUGURI and the armed attack on MAGUMERI

Troops conducting follow up operations from MAGUMERI pursued the enemy to DOHO, MINA MAIDENI, DONARI, SALARI and LAWARI, BORNO State killing several enemy and capturing 1 x weapons mounted pickup, 2 x AAA guns, 2 x AAA gun barrels, 2 x RPG rounds, 31 x 57mm bombs, 1 x roll of nitrate cable, 1x 60mm mortar bomb, 7.62mm (NATO) link Ammunition, 3 x spare tyre, 1 x vulcanising machine, 1 x motorcycle, foodstuffs and 3 x enemy style uniforms. 5 soldiers were killed with 3 missing

18 March

3 x PBIEDs attacked a house in UMARARI Village, JERE LGA, BORNO State killing a CJTF vigilante, a woman and her 2 children and wounding 8 others

Situation North West (Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara States)

13 March

Repentant suspected armed bandits and members of Yansakai Vigilantes surrendered 1 x G3 rifles, 434 x Dane guns, 69 x locally made pistols, 8 x locally made revolvers, 39 x local multi barrelled pistols and 36 x locally made double barrels to 223 Bn 1 Div in KANGO and DANSADAU Towns, MARU LGA, NASARAWAN GODEL, BIRNIN MAGAJI LGA and WUNAKA Town, GUSAU LGA, ZAMFARA State

The NAF Regiment Training Centre, KADUNA State graduated 62 students in VIP Protection and 19 in Helicopter Door Gunners

The NPF arrested 3 suspects in the killing of Fulani herdsmen in JEMA’A LGA on Saturday, 11 March, following a tip off from locals. The suspects claimed the crim was committed in self defence

15 March

The IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT) an the Technical Intelligence Unit (TIU) arrested 3 suspected armed robbers/ kidnappers (2 males and 1 female) in ZARIA, KADUNA State who are suspected of kidnappings and robberies along the ZARIA-KADUNA Expressway. Also captured were 1 x AK 47, 1 x AK 4 magazine wit 30 x 7.62mm (AK), 1 x locally made pistol, 1 x mobile phone and several charms

Situation North Centre (Abuja FCT, Bauchi, Benue, Gombe, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Taraba States)

12 March

Suspected nomadic gunmen attacked MBAGBAAN, TOMBO, in BURUKU LGA, BENUE State killing 30 people and dumping their bodies at ABUKU near a crossing point on the River BURUKU and burning the village

Approximately 10 suspected armed robbers ambushed and robbed travellers along AGBEDE-OSHOKOSO-KABBA Road, KABBA LGA, KOGI State. Local vigilantes engaged them in a firefight driving them off. Police and vigilantes found 3 bodies whilst combing the bush

13 March

Elements of 33 Bde conducted an intelligence driven fighting patrol to clear armed bandits and cattle rustlers in the vicinity of DUTSEN KELEMBU near DOGON RUWA, NINGI LGA, BAUCHI State, the camp was deserted and destroyed and 1 x AK 47 1 x locally fabricated firearm and 1 x empty magazine were found in a pile of cow dung

Elements of 33 Bde arrested a former ASP and one other at the Married Quarters in SHADAWANKA Barracks, BAUCHI, BAUCHI State in possession of 1 x single barrel gun, 4 x cartridges, 11 x empty cartridge cases, gunpowder, 1 x leg chain, 1 x motorcycle and 1 x cutting machine.

The DSS arrested 2 suspects (Ibrahim SULE and Bello SHEHU) in the 22 February 2017 abduction of 2 German Dr Peter BREUNING and Johannes BREHINGER from PAHKOGO, KAGARKO LGA, KADUNA State in NASARAWA Town, NASARAWA LGA, KADUNA State

The DSS arrested Adamu JIBRIN (aka DANTATA SULE) at Jeka Da Fari Market, GOMBE LGA, GOMBE State who allegedly acted as a contact between Boko Haram commanders (especially one known as KANUMBU) and their members

14 March

Several buildings used by alleged kidnappers and other criminal elements such as the Ahlul Sunnah Mosque in INIKE, OKENE LGA, KOGI State (allegedly taken over by Boko Haram elements in 2015) were demolished in OKENE, by the NPF on the orders of the KOGI State Governor Alhaji Yahaya BELLO. The other building demolished was owned by a suspected kidnapper Alhaji Tijani BAKARE in OYUNKOKO Ward, OKENE.

Mohammed USAMN (aka Khalid AL BARNAWI) and 6 others were charged to court on charges of terrorism, murder, kidnapping and illegal possession of firearms in the Federal High Court, ABUJA, FCT. The case related to the abduction and murder of several foreigners including Franco LAMOLINARA and Chris MCMANUS in 2012, the abduction of French engineer Francois COLLOMP, the abduction and murder of German Edgar RAUPACH and the kidnap and murder of 2 Lebanese, 2 Syrians, 1 x Italian and 1 x British construction workers in BAUCHI State in 2013. Also charged was Halima HALIRU, AL BARNAWI’s second wife. The case was adjourned until 11 April

15 March

The DSS arrested a suspected Boko Haram commander Nasiru SANI (aka OSAMA) on Ahmadu Bello Way, BAUCHI, BAUCHI State, he allegedly escaped from BAUCHI Central Prison in October 2010 to MAIDUGURI, BORNO State

Aminu GWUCHE, Adamu YUSUF, Anas ISAH, Yau SAIDU, Muhammadu ISHAQ ad Ahmed ABUBAKAR resumed trial at the Federal High Court, ABUJA on charges relating to the 2014 NYANYA bombings. The case was adjourned due to the lack of an interpreter for 4 of the defendants, whom also complained of poor conditions in DSS custody requesting that they be sent to prison instead.

Gunmen attacked several villages in MBAYONGO District, KATSINA ALA LGA, BENUE State killing 3 people in NAGU, 1 in TSE GYUDU and another in TSE WERYINA. The victims were apparently beaten to death

16 March

Gunmen mounted on 5 motorcycles attacked AYATI, UKUM LGA, BENUE State around 8.00pm and opened fire killing 5 people and wounded several others.

17 March

DSS arrested a suspected Boko Haram member Usman Ladan RAWA (aka Mr X) in LAFIA, NASARAWA State who is alleged to have rented accommodation for another suspect Abdullahi ISA in LAFIA in order to conduct terrorism, kidnap and robbery’s in the FCT and NIGER State

Situation External (Rest of the World)

15 March

A Camerounian military vehicle detonated an IED between ZAMGA and DJIBRILI, MAYO TSANAGA Department, EXTREME NORD Region in the morning wounding 4

NIGERIA, CAMEROUN and the UN have signed an agreement on the safe repatriation of 65,000 Nigerian refugees in CAMEROUN consisting of BAKASSI refugees and Boko Haram victims

CAMEROUN’s Minister of Communications Issa Tchiroma BAKARY stated that an MNJTF operation between 26 February and 07 March in the MANDARA Mountains, destroyed an enemy fuel depot, captured weapons, motorcycles, up to 50 x bicycles, killed up to 60 enemy, captured 21 suspects and freed up to 5,000 hostages

17 March

Gunmen attacked Camerounian Army positions in the vicinity of SOUERAM, LOGONE ET CHARI Department, EXTREME NORD Region losing 3 enemy killed

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