Situation Friendly Forces:
- Patrolling Nigerian forces ambushed a group of insurgents in the vicinity of GONIRI, GUJBA LGA, YOBE State killing 8 and injuring an unknown number. 1 soldier was killed and an officer wounded.
- Troops operating in the vicinity of GAMBORU NGALA and DIKWA LGA are conducting cordon and search operations to recover weapons hidden by insurgents in farms and cemeteries in the area
- The BORNO State Emergency Relief Committee has distributed food, clothes, cooking utensils, N1m and other relief materials to victims of the attack on GIWA BARRACKS
- The National Security Adviser Sambo DASUKI has stated a new counter insurgency strategy will be adopted during a presentation entitled ‘Roll Out of Nigeria’s Soft Approach to Countering Terrorism’. There would be various streams to the plan including de radicalisation, mobilising family, cultural and religious values, inter party collaboration, building a strategic communication capacity and economic revitalisation
- BORNO State Government has announced the closure of all public schools in the state ‘until the security situation improves’. 85 schools and 100,000 students are affected.
19 March: a night time airstrike on KAYAMLA Village, KONDUGA LGA, killed at least 17 and injured several others. Insurgents in the area were reported to have concentrated at the local primary school in preparation for an advance on MAIDUGURI. Local residents state that 5 civilians were killed and several injured
- Nigerian forces attacked enemy positions with armoured and dismounted infantry supported by armoured vehicles in the GWOZA HILLS, BITA LGA and BAMA LGA, BORNO State reportedly killing 70 insurgents and capturing a key Boko Haram leader as he tried to escape the next day in a convoy of black Toyota Land Cruisers
- The KADUNA State Emergency Management Agency (KASEMA) provided relief materials to internally displaced people of UNGWAR SAKWAI, TEKUM and UNGWAR KWURA, KAURA LGA who are placed at an IDP camp at BONDON, KAURA LGA.
- Nigerian forces ambushed insurgent forces mounted in 15 trucks in the vicinity of BAMA, killing 40 as they moved to assault the town
- A Camerounian citizen who sold weapons to Boko Haram has been detained and led Nigerian forces to an arms cache in a burnt out church in KALABALGE LGA, BORNO State. Weapons discovered included 7.62mm and 12.7mm machine guns, RPGs, rifles, several thousand rounds of ammunition and explosives
22 March: Nigerian forces have secured the MANDARA Mountains, BORNO State, killing an unspecified number of insurgents and capturing 60. Operations to search and secure the various caves in the locality are ongoing.
Situation Enemy Forces
- Insurgents attacked PELA BIRNI Village, HAWUL LGA, BORNO State with rifles, IEDs and petrol bombs around 10.00pm killing 2 people and burning 2 churches
- 70 suspected nomadic mercenaries attacked 10 villages IKYO, AGWAZA, KOKONBO, AZER, LIJAM, AKESA, TYOW DOSHIMA, TSE SAKA and KWAGHLANDO, TAKUM LGA, TARABA State around 2.00am killing 35 people.
20 March: an IED was detonated in a market in NGURO-SOYE, BORNO State killed 29 people, 3 others died from their injuries it is unclear whether IEDs or RPGs were used.
- 7 cattle raiders and a local man were killed in the vicinity of WASE Town, WASE LGA, PLATEAU State. The cattle thieves had attempted to rob a group of herders but had been repulsed. The herders sought refuge in WASE where local people joined forces with them to resist the attackers
- An explosion in a market in BAMA, BORNO State killed 20 people
Situation External Forces
18 March: Defence and military leaders from the 6 LAKE CHAD Basin Commission (LCBC) have stated they will be creating a multinational military force to tackle growing threats and security challenges after a meeting in CAMEROUN, with its HQ in BAGA, BORNO State. The initial mandate will be patrolling the LAKE CHAD area, and acting against arms dealers, suspected terrorists and to ensure freedom of movement. CAMEROUN has pledged 700 troops to the exercise. NIGER and CHAD are already troop contributors. LIBYA and the CENTRAL AFRCAN REPUBLIC face significant internal problems
19 March: A Turkish whistle blowing Twitter account alleges that Turkish Airlines transports weapons to NIGERIA, via an alleged recording of a conversation between an aide of the Turkish PM and an airline official. Turkish Airlines has denied the allegations.
Table 1 Casualties
Table 4 Insurgent incidents
|IED||Vehicle IED||Suicide IED||Small Arms||Small arms+IED||Other wpns||Theft||Kidnapping|
Burning grass: as the Harmattan recedes and a bloody few months ends we will review in detail in another instalments the events of the past few months. However this week shows the vagaries of counter insurgency with the initiative passing back to friendly forces.
Reacting aggressively to the attack on Maiduguri was apparently not a fluke but a result of the reinforcement and reposturing that has gradually taken place with more and more troops deploying to the North East and air ground cooperation improving with coordinated offensives in Sambisa Forest, Lake Chad area, Gwoza Hills and Mandara Mountains(although one must note that celebrating the fact that own forces were able to repel an attack on what should be a heavily defended impenetrable target is a negative indicator in itself).
The enemy has reportedly suffered significant casualties in these strikes, lost ground, vehicles and materiel, however one must not however become complacent or congratulatory.
The enemy still retains a potent ability, reports of Boko Haram fighters withdrawing towards Cameroun indicate that the battlespace has not been completely sealed nor have they been destroyed or scattered.
The enemy has rapidly readjusted to the new reality by detonating IEDs in crowded markets. This barbaric tactic however is a positive indicator in that where the enemy would previously launch mass attacks on these places at will they are reduced to IEDs.
We can look forward to an increase in IED attacks against public spaces such as markets, festivals, viewing centres and against transport networks. It is a cheap risk free method of maintaining presence in the battlespace while the enemy readjusts itself for a decisive struggle in the latter part of the year
Unfortunately in all these phases civilians will bear the brunt of casualties.
It is vitally important that any space cleared of the enemy is held, with the police, military or vigilantes stepping into the breach
The enemy is not defeated and they will attack again in force and inflict devastating casualties however friendly forces currently appear to have the initiative, it is key that they retain it.