NORTHERN NIGERIA INTERNAL SECURITY SITREP- Week Ending 02 August 2014

Situation Friendly Forces

27 July

A VBIED was discovered by members of the public by the gate of the Isiayaku Rabiu Mosque, GORON DUTSE QUARTERS, KANO City, KANO State. The device contained in a Peugeot 406 and set to be detonated during Eid el Fitr prayers was made safe by NPF EOD.

The NPF state that 5 persons have been arrested in connection with the recent IED attacks in KANO. 2 were alleged to be involved in the attacks on St Charles Church and 3 in the failed Isiyaku Rabiu Mosque attack.

The Director Army Public Relations Brigadier General Olajide LALEYE denied allegations by Sheikh EL ZAKZAKY that his sons were detained alive and murdered extra judiciously.

Nigerian Security Forces have banned the use of all motor vehicles for the duration of the Sallah holidays (28-30 July)

28 July

The leader of the Nigerian Shia group Islamic Movement of NIGERIA, Sheikh El ZAKZAKY states that he would be taking legal action against the Federal Government for the death of his 3 sons and 32 of his group’s members

2 suspected Boko Haram members were detained in DAMATURU, YOBE State with IEDs

29 July

Security forces detained 3 suspected militants along ZARIA Road, TUNDUN WADA Ward, FUNTUA, KATSINA State; a male Iliya DAHIRU, an 18 year old female Zainab MUSA and a 10 year old female Hadiza MUSA who reportedly had an explosive belt on. They were driving in a Honda CRV when they were stopped at a checkpoint.

Media reports state that 600 specialist troops are to be deployed to resolve the situation in DAMBOA.

Media reports query the whereabouts of Mohammed ZAKARI a key Boko Haram leader detained in in BALMO Forest, BAUCHI State on July 15. The military state he is not in their custody and they are unaware of his whereabouts. Whilst the NPF have not yet commented

30 July

The NPF discovered an IED and small arms cache buried in a building in the Vehicle Inspection Officers Quarters, AZARE Town, KATAGUM LGA, BAUCHI State.

NEMA reports that 5 people have died from cholera at an IDP camp in Government Girls Secondary School, BIU, BORNO State, with over a 100 hospitalised as well

Situation Enemy Forces

26 July

Gunmen stole a number of vehicles in SHAFFA Town, HAWUL LGA, BORNO State and took them to MANJAKWA.

27 July

An IED detonated at St Charles Catholic Church, ZUNGERU Road, SABON GARI, KANO City, KANO State killing 5 people and injuring 8. The device was thrown into the crowd exiting the service from a Primary School across the road.

An IED was suicide detonated by a female attacker outside the Trade Fair Complex, KOFAR NASARAWA Bypass, GIDAN MURTALA, KANO, City, KANO State killing herself and injuring 5 others, she activated the device hidden under a long black hijab after being stopped by police or a search prior to entry

Gunmen mounted on pick up trucks and motorcycles attacked ZANI Village HONG LGA, ADAMAWA State with small arms around 10.00am killing 17 people and injuring an unspecified number. Local hunters engaged them forcing them to withdraw an abandon 7 motorcycles

Gunmen attacked GARKIDA Town, GOMBI LGA, ADAMAWA State at 5.00pm, killing 4 soldiers and 40 civilians and burning 2 churches, a police station and several houses. The insurgents reportedly concentrated in ZHUR Forest before launching the attack

Gunmen attacked LUBE, MUBENG and ZAR Villages, HONG LGA, ADAMAWA State with small arms and IEDs killing 30 people. The ZAR District Head Wing Commander (Retired) Dauda DANIEL was also abducted.

Gunmen attacked communities in MADAGALI LGA, ADAMAWA State stealing foodstuff and livestock.

28 July

Gunmen attacked the military outpost in KATARKO Town, GUJBA LGA, YOBE State with small arms and IEDs around 7.30pm and then moved onto the residential part of the town killing 8 people and destroying the KATARKO Bridge which links DAMATURU with BUNI YADI.

An IED was suicide detonated by a young female at the NNPC Mega Filling Station, MAIDUGURI Road, HOTORO Quarters, KANO City, KANO State around 10.00am killing herself and 3 others and injuring 10 people.

29 July

IEDs were thrown from vehicles at the Alkali Kalli (Shia) Mosque around 7.30pm killing 13 people and wounding 37 others. Simultaneously another IED was suicide detonated at the Sakafa Mosque, MARKET SQUARE, POTISKUM, YOBE State killing 12 and wounding 35 others. Another IED was suicide detonated at a Primary School in MAJALISA, POTISKUM where Shia were resting killing 55 and wounding 78 people.

Gunmen mounted in approximately 12 vehicles attacked KATARKO and GULANI Villages, GUJBA LGA, YOBE State at around 3.00pm with small arms and IEDs. The attackers once again blew up KATARKO Bridge. Villagers fled to DAMATURU.

30 July

A threatening letter purportedly from sent to residents of GARKIDA, GOMBI LGA, ADAMAWA State by Boko Haram has caused them to evacuate the village. Boko Haram members are reported to have taken over surrounding villages such as BIJI BIJI and MBEWA.

Gunmen attacked KWAJAFFA, TASHAN ALADE, KARBUTU and MANJAKWA Villages in HAWUL LGA, BORNO State with IEDS and petrol bombs, burning 5 churches.

An IED was suicide detonated by a female attacker at KANO State Polytechnic, BAYERO UNIVERSITY Road, KANO, KANO State around 3.30pm in a crowd of students checking their names on the NYSC deployment lists, 12 people were killed and 15 were wounded

Unknown gunmen attacked DUNGOESHING Community, SHENDAMLGA, PLATEAU State killing 1 person. The villagers fled to SHENDAM Town in fear of further attacks.

02 August

Media reports allege that the current campaign of suicide bombers consist of school girls tricked into carrying explosive devices which are remotely detonated. The reports allege that the explosives used are from the raid on the Chinese construction camp in Northern CAMEROUN

Gunmen ambushed an Army patrol in the vicinity of NGUROSOYE Village, BAMA LGA, BORNO State reportedly killing 11 soldiers.

Situation External Forces

27 July

Gunmen attacked KOLOFATA, EXTREME NORD Region, CAMEROUN at 5.00am and simultaneously abducted the wife of the Camerounian Deputy Prime Minister Amadou ALI and her maid after a 2 hour firefight and Seini Boukar LAMINE, the mayor and lamido (religious/ tribal leader) of the town, his wife, 2 daughters and several Gendarmes. Camerounian troops have engaged the kidnapers in the town. 3 people were killed in the attack

29 July

Camerounian President Paul BIYA dismissed Lt Col Tchanuo NGONGANG (Commander, 34 Motorised Infantry Battalion, KOUSSERI), Col Youssa GEDEON (National Gendarmerie in 3RMIA) and Lt Col Justin NGONGA who were involved in CAMEROUN’s campaign against Boko Haram. No official reason was given for the dismissal.

30 July

Camerounian forces state they have successfully rescued the Mrs ALI, the Deputy Prime Ministers Wife. The Deputy Commander of the 3rd Military Region (3RMIA) Col Felix Nji FORMEKONG states that Camerounian forces pinned the attackers in KOLFATA and 16 people were killed in the operation. The details of the rescue operation and the fate of the other hostages is unknown.

01 August

The French military’s Op Barkhane which will see 3,000 troops and 200 APCs for rapid deployment anywhere in Francophone West Africa to counter insurgents and transnational terrorists becomes operational. The HQ and Airbase will be in N’DJAMENA, CHAD with 6 ground attack aircraft, 10 heavy lift aircraft, 20 helicopters and 3 UAVs. A regional Ops base with 1,200 troops will be in GAO, MALI, a Special Forces base in OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO and an intelligence base in NIAMEY, NIGER.

Camerounian Media reports that Boko Haram has denied responsibility for the attack on the Deputy PM in KOLOFATA.

02 August

The Camerounian Army Commander Gen. Rene Claude MEKA has moved to the North of the country to take command of the campaign against Boko Haram.

Insurgent Incidents  IED Vehicle IED Suicide IED Small Arms Small arms+IED Other weapons Theft Kidnapping Foreign attacks
8 1/8 4/8 6 4 0 1 2 1

 

Analysis:

Zangalewa: Around 5.00am on 27th July approximately 200 gunmen attacked the Camerounian Deputy Prime Minister’s home in Kolofata, Mayo-Sava Department, Extreme Nord Region. The Deputy PM was in Maroua however his wife and family had just arrived from Garoua in an official convoy for Eid el Fitr. The attackers attacked the local BIR (Battalion d’Intervention Rapide) based pinning them down for the duration of the firefight which lasted for a least 2-4 hours. The Gendarmes defending the compound suffered at least 3 casualties. After overrunning the property the attackers (described as teenagers led by a youth in his 20’s or 30’s) asked for the Deputy PM, Amadou Ali by name, not finding him they took his wife Francoise Angel Ali, her sister and 2 family member’s hostage. At the same time they abducted the Lamido of Kolofata, Seini Boukar Lamine, his wife, 4 children and their servants. It is not clear if this was a simultaneous pre planned attack or a consecutive opportunistic attack. 3 male members of the Ali household survived the attack and were left behind. It is not clear if they hid away or if the attackers decided not to take them however 7 other family members were killed as were 5 villagers caught in the cross fire. Response from the Camerounian forces consisted solely of the Gendarmes on guard and the 4 BIR soldiers from based in the village. Ironically an armoured vehicle deployed in Kolofata had been redeployed to Kousseri, scene of an earlier deadly attack on Camerounian forces.

Amadou Ali is Kanuri and the most senior Northern politician in Cameroun. He has been part of President Biya’s inner circle since 1982, with a long history in security and defence matters. He began his career in local government as Deputy Prefect of Adamaoua Prefecture, moving to head a Directorate in the Ministry of Territorial Administration and then to the National Gendarmerie, first as Delegate General and then Secretary of State in 1985 (after a failed coup by Gendarmes). This Coup led to several security reforms in Cameroun led by M. Ali, such as the formation of the Garde Presidentiale (GP) and the formation of the GIPGN the anti terrorist branch of the National Gendarmerie modelled on the French GIGN and reorganisation of the intelligence services. He then served in 3 different cabinets as Secretary of State for Defence till 1997 and then he was appointed Minister Delegate at the Presidency in Charge of Defence. During his time in Defence he oversaw the formation of a variety of specialised airborne and amphibious units such as BTAP, BSA and arguably Cameroun’s best unit the Israeli trained BIR. This unit was formed primarily to deal with highway robbers, bandits and poachers who operated in Northern Cameroun, roaming between that country, Chad and CAR, a task they performed extremely well. It was these specialist units who backfilled regular Camerounian units during the Bakassi conflict with Nigeria leading the few successful defensive actions by the Camerounian forces.

From 2001 to 2004 he was Minister of Justice, neatly countering Cameroun’s military inabilities by overseeing the judicial victory that gifted Bakassi to Cameroun. In 2004 he became Deputy Prime Minister. Considered intelligent and well connected he has lasted for decades in key strategic posts in a regime that regularly side-lines or imprisons anyone who could present a threat to the Oga at the Top (as M. Ali can testify having overseen one such arrest and imprisonment of a regime member as Minister of Justice).

M. Ali has been deeply involved in the Camerounian response to the Boko Haram insurgency due to his extensive defence experience and local knowledge. He oversaw negotiations for the release of the French family, the Moulin-Fourniers kidnaped in Cameroun by Ansaru using local intermediaries. Their release reportedly saw 1.6bn CFA Francs (£2m) flow into Ansaru’s/ Boko Harams coffers.

M. Ali was also leading a local anti Boko Haram recruitment campaign, having been warned by local police that 450 young people had joined Boko Haram from Kolofata alone by April 2014 and were being trained in the Mandara Mountains.

The attackers were alleged to speak Kanuri, French, Arabic, English and Hausa and demonstrated an intimate knowledge of the town’s layout. At the same time Camerounian media reports an alleged denial by Boko Haram (who have never been coy about claiming high profile kidnappings or attacks) while others point the finger squarely at Ansaru. But why would Ansaru launch such an attack in Cameroun?

As we know Ansaru was founded in 2012 and included Boko Haram members who fought with MUJAO in Mali.

Ansarus attempts to bring AQIM/ MUJAO type jihad to Nigeria (with greater discrimination in targeting, avoiding attacking Muslim civilians, honest and transparent accounting of funds etc) came to a sticky end when they were allegedly betrayed by Boko Haram and most of their leadership liquidated.

However their business model of kidnapping westerners for ransom, sub contracting for criminals and obtaining protection money from wealthy locals appears to have been fully embraced by Boko Haram and the surviving elements of Ansaru have joined forces with Boko Haram to conduct kidnaps in Northern Cameroun, where one of Ansaru’s leaders, Mamman Nur a Kanuri comes from. Nur is allegedly active in operations around Damboa, near Kolofata which is one of the key towns in the insurgents Camerounian ‘vital ground’ for recruiting, training and supplies.

The other interesting Ansaru link is that MUJAO’s presence in Gao had a lot more to do with narco trafficking than jihad and they essentially hired themselves out to certain factions, as enforcers and guards. Likewise certain Malian politicians became well known as intermediaries between AQIM and western kidnap negotiators. These intermediaries also reportedly took a cut of the ransom as a fee/ dash or ‘biscuit money’. The line between intermediary, sponsor, co conspirator and concerned local leader are sufficiently ill defined to make any judgements.

The generally lawless nature of Gao does somewhat resembles the Borno/ Extreme Nord region with 4 nations in close proximity, differing tax, currencies and markets and porous unpoliced borders making it a smugglers paradise, in which local law enforcement and officials do what they need to do to survive (and prosper) in a difficult posting.

During the negotiations to release the Moulin Fourniers liaison and finances were allegedly handled by a business man from Amchidie. Further unverified allegations hint that local criminals contributed the seed money for the operation on the understanding it would be reimbursed from the ransom and there have been disputes about whether this investment was ‘equitably’ returned. The link from this to the attack is that the Camerounian government’s point of contact was M. Ali who allegedly utilised the Lamido of Kolofata as a go between.

In the last few months M. Ali has also spearheaded a reportedly successful campaign to reduce Boko Haram recruitment in the area as well as coordinating the Camerounian military response which has seen the BIR if not cutting off Boko Haram supply of men, money and arms at least disrupting them.

In the last few weeks over 22 Boko Haram members were also imprisoned without appeal (in addition to the alleged ransom, Boko Haram prisoners in Cameroun were also reportedly released).

Bearing all this in mind with M. Alis background, current role and activities and the complete change in attitudes in Cameroun towards Boko Haram, the key question is not ‘Why was Kolofata and M.Ali targeted?’ but how come it was not predicted and why did he actually bring himself (almost) and his family to Kolofata?

It could be hubris, a misplaced confidence in existing security arrangements or the false security of past relationships with the insurgents but they have once more demonstrated their ability to take and retain the initiative even at the strategic level at will in their target countries and regions.

And as their activities on both side of the border indicate their waka waka has not yet finished.

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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, Peace support, Peacekeeping, Stabilisation, Terrorism, West Africa Defence, West Africa Strategy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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