NORTHERN NIGERIA INTERNAL SECURITY SITREP- Week Ending 3 May 2014

 

Date Situation Friendly Forces Situation Enemy Forces Situation External Forces
29 April  The Federal government has applied to provide additional evidence and witnesses against Senator Aliyu NDUME on the charge of supporting Boko Haram Gunmen attacked KUBLA Village, MADAGALI LGA, ADAMAWA State, with small arms and IEDs killing 8 people and burning 2 churches and other property. Local residents also alleged that some people were abducted by the gunmen.  
Senator ZANNA during a motion condemning the kidnap of the GGSS CHIBOK students stated that according to his informants the insurgents are currently based in CHIKUNGUDU, MATE LGA, BORNO State. He also alleged that some were in the MANDARA Mountains, KOLOFATA and MUNGONU    
30 April The NIGER State Governor Dr Mu’azu Babangida ALIYU has set up a 2 man committee to investigate the activities of an Islamic sect in BIDA suspected of ties to Boko Haram    
UK News station Channel 4 states that the Federal Government has engaged a negotiator to make contact with the GSS CHIBOK abductors. The kidnappers had allegedly promised to provide a list of their captives but have failed to do so thus far.    
4 more escapees from the GGSS CHIBOK abductees were recovered in the vicinity of MONGUNO, bringing the total escapees to 53    
01 May The BORNO State Police Command and DSS have released a revised figure for the number of abductees from GGSS CHIBOK stating 276 girls were missing at a joint press briefing in MAIDUGURI The GSS CHIBOK abductors have reportedly told an intermediary that 3 of the captives have died and 18 are unwell, the cause of death and illness are unknown US State Department spokesperson Marie HARF stated the US Government has offered to assist Nigeria in its search for the missing school girls
  A VBIED detonated in WAZOBIA Park, NYANYA, a suburb of ABUJA FCT near a police checkpoint near the bus station around 8.30pm killing at least 19 people and wounding 60. the alleged attacker, reportedly parked his vehicle and walked away prior to detonation. The incident was opposite where the April 12 blast tool place. 3 unexploded IEDs were also discovered at the scene. US Senators introduce a bi partisan resolution condemning the abduction of school girls in Nigeria
Gunmen attempted to attack Government Secondary School, VILLE, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State. They were discovered by students as they attempted to get in place and defeated by resident security forces. The attackers withdrew towards IZGE, 2 were captured by locals and unfortunately died in custody before the security forces could detain them. Former UK Prime Minister Gordon BROWN has called for international military assistance to assist in the search for the missing school girls
Gunmen reportedly from SAMBISA Forest killed 10 travellers in the vicinity of BENISHEIK on the MAIDUGURI-DAMATURU Road. Security forces reportedly engaged and defeated them
02 May Hando HOKU (Jukun Cultural Association), James NUNGWA (Tiv Cultural and Development Association) and Alhaji Mafindi DANBURAM (Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association) on behalf of the Jukun, Tiv and Fulani Communities in WUKARI LGA, TARABA State have signed a peace agreement presided over by the acting Governor Alhaji Garba UMAR to end ongoing clashes in the area. The government resolved to pay compensation for livestock and property destroyed. The curfew in WUKARI has been relaxed to run from 4.00pm to 6.00am. The US State Department has maintained its travel warnings to its citizens in or planning to visit NIGERIA and warned of attacks by ‘unspecified groups’ against Sheraton Hotel, LAGOS. It does not specify which or when.
Media reports that 4 battalions (names and types unknown) have been deployed to BORNO State to support operations to find the abducted schoolgirls. Elements of the all Army formations are reported to be amongst the units indicating a Battlegroup has been formed to conduct the operation. The unit is also reportedly supported by Police and Air Force aviation, specialist counter terror units and K9 dogs. Gunmen reportedly attacked the LONDON CIKI and MAIRI areas around the University of MAIDUGURI and University Teaching Hospital, MAIDUGURI, BORNO State with small arms and IEDs around 11.00pm before being defeated by the military. The attackers reportedly approached through KALERI Village before splitting into 2 groups for the attack, number of attackers and casualties unknown
The Leader of the CHIBOK Elders Forum Dr Pogu Bitrus CHIBOK alleges that most of the kidnapped GGSS CHIBOK schoolgirls had been transferred by truck and via DIKWA to MARTE and MONGUNO and then by canoe to CHAD and CAMEROUN and married off with a ‘bride price’ of N2,000.00 to Boko Haram members. Gunmen attempted to attack a military checkpoint in GWOZA with small arms and IEDs. They were repelled by a combined police/ Army team who inflicted 19 casualties on the enemy. The enemy abandoned their dead who appeared to be child soldiers
03 May The Federal Government states schools and government offices will be shut down across ABUJA whilst the World Economic Forum on Africa takes place, 5,000 police and soldiers will be deployed as part of security operations
Troops have been deployed to airports in ABUJA and LAGOS with additional security measures in place. A VBIED was intercepted in an attempt to attack A Division Police Command, DAMATURU, YOBE State. The device was contained in 6 fire extinguishers, with 20 litres of AGO, 10 litres of petrol, 5 gas cylinders, 5 batteries and a wall clock , disguised with 11 bags of bean chaff carried in a Chevrolet pickup truck. The driver described as Abubakar UMAR from GONIRI Village had attempted to escape after ramming the station but had been captured

 

Statistics

Table 4 Insurgent incidents

Insurgent Incidents  IED Vehicle IED Suicide IED Small Arms Small arms+IED Other wpns Theft Kidnapping
0 2 0 2 3 0 0 1

Analysis:

Look upon my works ye mighty

After 2 weeks of silence, pressure from the Chibok parents, social media campaigns, celebrity endorsements, protest marches and media interest have elicited high level responses from the Federal Government and finally given Boko Haram the global platform they have so desperately craved.

As at time of writing Boko Haram has released a video claiming to have carried out the abductions, with Shekau once again stating he will ‘sell the girls on the market’. A proper analysis of the video and the kidnapping will follow but it is interesting that none of the girls are featured in the video.

Despite Boko Haram being by far one of the most brutal terror group in Africa particularly considering its size, area of operations and probability of success it has barely elicited a flicker on global media consciousness, be it conventional media, military or even in jihadi friendly circles. Even within Nigeria the average bloody Boko Haram attack arouses infinitely less interest in the rest of the country than a threatened split in P Square.

As discussed last week this abduction constitutes a strategic but pyrrhic victory for Boko Haram but a victory none the less.

Boko Haram’s spectacular attacks have all been a form of ‘Propaganda of the deed’, i.e. an outrageous attention grabbing act that serves as a platform for propagating your message. Well known examples include the September 11th 2001 attacks in the US and the murder of the British Soldier Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, London in which the murderers not only committed their crime in public but stood around actively encouraging passersby to take pictures thus ensuring that their crimes and rants would be broadcast globally without the filter of commercial or national media.

The Chibok kidnappings fit this mould and after a slow burning start have finally achieved their aim, Boko Haram is now front page news, leading news broadcasts and trending on social media in different regions, countries, languages and time zones. The actions of the self described ‘small boy Shekau’ have finally got the leader of the most powerful country on earth responding, the President’s wife threatening to go to Sambisa Forest herself (a prospect which must fill her security detail with joy) and senior world politicians burning jet fuel to Abuja and vying for the snappiest twitter comment.

Boko Haram has arrived.

The obvious question as raised in last week’s piece is exactly how will Boko Haram use this new found fame and notoriety? Will the publicity could bring in prized recruits from Western Europe or North America, who can be used to propagandize and fundraise in familiar accents and idioms in their home countries.

Or will the jihadi fundraising networks in the Middle East open their pockets finally now that western powers have finally taken the bait and gotten involved?

Will AQIM finally take them seriously and allow them to take Ansaru’s place as their allies in Nigeria and thus a share of the lucrative Sahelian drug, cigarette and oil smuggling proceeds?

In all these cases the answer is most likely no. There is not a strong Kanuri, Fulani diaspora in the West that can be used to set up the necessary networks from there to Northern Nigeria and book Harams propaganda and narrative is perplexing even to the most hard core of jihadis.

The Middle Eastern financiers already have their hands full with Syria and it is unclear what advantage they would get from sponsoring a group that kills more Muslims than Christians and has very little chance of establishing a Caliphate in Borno much less Nigeria.

AQIM is quite jealous of its links and generally only enters alliances that can ebenfit it. It is also well disciplined and highly professional and one might say scrupulously honest, with followers and leaders displaying remarkable accountability and financial probity, demanding and producing receipts for even the most miniscule of objectives. Coming down south might have a few uses but in the long term will expose them to more problems than solutions and more importantly is of no benefit to Algeria.

What Boko Haram will definitely get out of this is extremely strong leverage to negotiate a favourable deal. US/ UK assistance in Intelligence and surveillance, negotiation, and crisis management will not change the reality that there is no military solution (domestic or international) for this problem, and even if the Federal Government was silly enough to allow another foreign military operation on Nigerian soil the extremely low chances of success would make those Governments highly unlikely to be involved.

Irrespective Boko Haram has the initiative and will milk this situation for all its worth, with more and more videos (some featuring the hostages most likely with their ‘husbands/ owners’), pronouncements and threats, increasing the emotional pressure to the point where the government will either commit to an all out assault of whatever targets it can identify or accept whatever terms it can. The most likely outcome is that Boko Haram will seek (and get) money, prisoner releases and safe passage as the Federal Government does all it can to make the problem go away.

However the overall narrative is still not favourable to Boko Haram. Making war on children and publicly promising to sell them as slaves is a difficult pitch even for the notoriously unsqueamish Central Asian and Middle Eastern terror groups and sponsors.

The Kanuri and Fulani diaspora from which Boko Haram recruits, is mainly spread throughout West Africa. And these communities are already being tapped for funds and recruits. Although slave owning and trading still exists within some communities in the Sahel, active slave raiding such as this is not the norm in this part of West Africa and contrasts sharply with the glorious stories of jihad and riches recruits are currently sold on.

In the short term it would take alot of effort for Boko Haram to lose out in this situation. Long term their credibility in the communities just beyond Nigeria’s borders where they still command respect will be diminish, the international opprobrium whilst good for the crackpots will not bring the flow of cash they desire. Any ransom obtained will have to be shared with the mercenaries they have come to rely on.

But that does not take away from the overwhelming success of Boko Harams patient, ruthless and resilient tactic.

The attention they have desperately craved is theirs thus feeding the eternal dilemma of a counter insurgent who on one hand seeks to generate and control popular outrage against the enemy except when this outrage is exactly what the enemy desires.

Any effort to limit the spread of the popular outrage looks like an embarrassed face saving exercise, however letting the natural upset spread and fester simply gives the insurgency the air of publicity it desperately seeks.

The success of this tactic will spawn numerous similar attacks which for a while will generate sufficient publicity to make Boko Haram a household name.

The main effort thus is to resolve this situation as peaceably as possible but prepare for the next one, which will surely come.

The mighty need not despair, merely prepare for the next round

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About peccavi

A Nigerian with interests in defence, security, geopolitics, the military particularly small unit tactics, COIN, stabilisation and asymmetric warfare
This entry was posted in Counter insurgency, Defence, Nigeria Defence, Nigeria Strategy, Stabilisation, Terrorism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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