Situation North East (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States)

04 March

A Camerounian military vehicle detonated an IED in the vicinity of KUMSHE, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State losing 1 soldier killed

05 March

Elements of 151 TF Bn, 21 Bde with BIR cleared SIYARAM KOTE, SIGAWA, BULABUNDIBE, ADELEKE, TCHATIKE and LAMUKURA Villages, GWOZA(?) LGA, BORNO State killing several enemy, capturing 2 and 2 x unserviceable Toyota Canter Trucks, 7 x dane guns, 5 x enemy flags, 4 x tyres, 2 x motorcycles, vehicle spare parts

06 March

Elements of 7 Div Garrison detained Alhaji Mustapha BULAMA at his home in MUSARI, BAGA Road, MAIDUGURI, BORNO State on suspicion of being a Boko Haram member

07 March

Elements of 158 TF Bn intercepted a truck going to DAMASAK carrying 4 parcels of cannabis. The conductor was arrested

Troops advanced to contact, engaging the enemy in the vicinity of SA’ADA Village, MARTE LGA, BORNO State, destroying enemy camps at GWARI and GANYE before withdrawing to a FOB at KERENOA. 1 soldier was killed, 2 missing and 13 wounded

2 x Alphajets and 1 x F7Ni conducted air strikes on suspected enemy logistics dump in the SAMBISA Forest identified after ISR aircraft tracked 2 suspects to the location. Secondary explosions indicate it was either a fuel or ammunition dumps

08 March

Elements of 212 Bn and 233 Bn, 29 TF Bde, supported by CJTF Vigilantes conducted clearance operations in the vicinity of LAWANTI, MUSARI, BORI and GONIZALARI, MAGUMERI LGA, BORNO State gathering intelligence that motorcycle mounted enemy rid the villages for money and food

Elements of 22 Bde Garrison conducted clearance operations in the vicinity of GAMA and MUYILE Villages, DIKWA LGA, BORNO State along DIKWA-GULUMBA Road, engaging and killing 2 enemy suspects fleeing towards MUYILE, enemy weapons and IDP foodstuffs were captured from the village

Elements of 112 TF Bn conducted clearance operations towards FARTA, MAAZA and CHANA Villages, MAFA LGA, BORNO State, 2 males, 8 females and 5 children were rescued

22 Bde intercepted 20 males, 177 females, 127 boys and 150 girls along DIKWA-GULUMBA Road coming to DIKWA from MULIYE and MASA Villages, DIKWA LGA, BORNO State. 5 were identified as Boko Haram suspects during screening and detained. The rest were sent to DIKWA IDP Camp.

Elements of 82 Bn handed 8 women and 8 children over to PULKA IDP Camp

Elements of 145 Bn, 8 TF Div recovered a Toyota pickup stolen in the vicinity of BALANGA and KINDALKURA Village, ABADAM LGA, BORNO State and another stolen vehicle

Elements of 27 TF Bde acting on intelligence detained a suspected Boko Haram member Alhassan GARBA in AZARE Village, GUJBA LGA, YOBE State, whose daughter is allegedly married to Boko Haram suspect Musa IDAH who was arrested in KANO

Suspected enemy positions in TULA UDAH Forest, YOBE(?) State were bombarded by Artillery attached to 159 Bn

Elements of 232 Bn patrolled towards MUCHALLA and LADE Villages, MUBI NORTH LGA and BODENO, GUYYAK LGA, ADAMAWA State to prevent enemy infiltration. Whilst troops in blocking positions at GARKIDA patrolled towards DZANGWALLA

09 March

Elements of 156 TF Bn, 29 TF Bde patrolled along NGULA-JAYIWA and KUKURAM-ABALAM Axis to block enemy fighters

NEMA, BOSEMA and the NIS have registered 22,463 returned refugees from NIGER Republic via DAMASAK, MOBBAR LGA, BORNO State

Elements of 233 Bn, 212 Bn and 29 TF Bde conducted clearance patrols, clearing LIWANTI Village, DAMBOA LGA, BORNO State

Elements of 23 Bde Support Bn patrolled towards KOLKOL Village in order to dominate the area and block enemy infiltration from CAMEROUN. Troops from a FOB at HONG adopted blocking positions in MARARRABAR PELLA, KALAA and SHANGUI, HONG LGA, ADAMAWA State in order to dominate the area and fix any enemy forces

Elements of 154 TF Bn, 29 TF Bde conducted fighting patrols along MAULI-ALAGARNO Road, KAGA LGA, BORNO State and to SANSAN Village and BULABULIN

29 TF Bde Defence Company and QRF, elements of 27 TF Bde and 212 BN conducted clearance patrols

Elements of 231 and 331 Bn have been conducting raids in Southern BORNO State

11 March

Elements of 22 Bde Garrison supported by CJTF Vigilantes acting upon reports of enemy’s scavenging conducted a fighting patrol to CINGAL, MURYE, MALA MAJA Village, killing 1 enemy capturing 11 x bicycles and rescuing 211 civilians in MURYE and MALA MAJA

Elements of 159 Bn, 27 TF Bde conducted intelligence led operations against enemy positions in MANLUMUDORI, ARIDI, FILARI, KINGIMARI, DINAMARI, ITARI and MIRIMARI Villages, BORNO State they then conducted artillery strikes on suspected enemy positions west of SUBDU Village, in BULABULIN and ALAGARNO Forest, troops then conducted a cordon and search of DEGELTURA, GISUM and POPAMARI Villages

2 x female PBIEDs attempted to infiltrate MAIDUGURI VIA UMARARI, MOLAI, JERE LGA, they were spotted by Vigilantes at checkpoint along DAMBOA Road around 8.45pm and shot after refusing to surrender. NPF EOD made the devices safe. One Was found to be pregnant

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

08 March

223 Light Tank Bn, 1 Bde, 1 Div received 3 x AK47, 1,169 x dane guns, 323 locally made pistols, 54 x locally made revolvers, 102 x locally made multi barrel pistols and 22 x locally made double barrels from repentant bandits and vigilantes known as Yansakai in RUWAN TOFA, YAR GALADIMA and BABBAN DOKA, MARU LGA, DANWAREN DAJI, TSAFE LGA and MADA, GUSAU LGA, ZAMFARA State.

09 March

Up to 6 x suspected gunmen attacked a vehicle driving from KADUNA State to ABUJA on BWARI- JERE Road in the vicinity of BWARI, FCT, kidnapping 2 people and shooting and wounding one other. The kidnappers apparently demanded N10m

A fight between Igbo and Hausa traders in PANTEKA Market, along NNAMDI AZKIWE Bypass, KADUNA, KADUNA State was broken up by the NPF who closed the market. The fight was caused by an Hausa trader named Mohammed naming his dog ‘Ebere’ after an Igbo trader, the Igbo trader asked him to desist and when the trader refused, the Igbo trader bought a dog and named it Mohammed, causing the fight.


11 March

Gunmen have killed 2 Fulani grazing their cattle in UNGUWAN MAIYASHI Village, FANTUWAM Chiefdom, JEMA’A LGA and another in MADAKIYA Village, BAJJU Chiefdom, ZANGON KATAF LGA, KADUNA State around 4.00pm. Police said 9 people had been arrested in relation to the crime

The NPF and NAF have begun 24 hour air patrol along ABUJA-KADUNA Road

The Federal High Court in KADUNA, KADUNA State has ordered the NPF to pay N2m to 3 people detained for 19 months without trial on suspicion of being Boko Haram members

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

07 March

The NAF has set up 205 Combat Search and Rescue Group (CSARG) in KERANG, MANGU LGA, PLATEAU State, it is organised as 1 of 9 units under the Special Operations Command

08 March

Troops conducted a cordon and search operation of GOMBE International Hotel, GOMBE, GOMBE State in search of suspected Chadian and Nigerien terrorists. Nothing suspicious was found.

Suspected ritualists slit the throats of 5 schoolboys in an Islamic School in TUNGAN MAGAJIYA, RIJAU LGA, NIGER State, 4 died, 1 was hospitalised after blood was drained from their bodies

10 March

Suspected nomadic gunmen from TARABA State attacked a Tiv Village MKGOVUR, BURUKU LGA, BENUE State with small arms and bladed weapons around 8.00am killing up to 7 people

11 March

Tiv youths from TONGUR, KATSINA ALA LGA allegedly attacked Fulani herdsmen settlements in the vicinity of DOGO TOMBOH, BURUKU LGA, BENUE State stampeding cattle and wounding 3 people, 1 of whom died

Suspected nomadic gunmen attacked AKO Community, MBALAGH District, TOMBO, BURUKU LGA, BENUE State around 6.00am killing 9 people

Situation External (Rest of the World)

02 March

NIGER Republic has begun the secret trials of up to 1,000 Boko Haram suspects 

05 March

Elements of the MNJTF killed 2 x suspected PBIEDs attempting to cross from NIGERIA into BOUDOUA, LIMAI Arrondissement, MAYO SAVA Department, EXTREME NORD Region at night

The Sudanese rebel group SUDAN Peoples Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) has claimed it has 3 Boko haram fighters amongst captured Sudanese Government Forces after it released 125 POWs in a Ugandan mediated exchange.

The UN Security Council Delegation led by Matthew RYECROFT visited NIGER Republic visiting President Mahamadou ISSOUFOU

06 March

The UN Security Council concluded their tour of the Lake CHAD Basin visiting MAIDUGURI, BORNO State

07 March

A PBIED detonated in MAGDEME, MAYO SAVA Department, EXTREME NORD Region, killing only himself

09 March

Gunmen attacked GOULOUZIVINI, near WAZA National Park 7km from WAZA Town at night killing 1 and wounding several

The French Ambassador Denys GAUER stated no French national had been apprehended fighting with Boko Haram or provided any material support

French media reports that 15 Daesh specialists were sent to SAMBISA Forest in the vicinity of ADAMAWA at the end of 2015training Boko Haram in explosives and manufacturing rocket launchers

Posted in Counter insurgency, Defence, Nigeria Defence, Nigeria Strategy, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


Situation North East (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States)

28 February

Gunmen attacked KUMUYA, GUJBA LGA, YOBE State reportedly to steal food but friendly forces reacting to reports form locals, counter attacked defeating them in a firefight and killing 18 enemy.

03 March

3 x PBIEDS (2 female and 1 male) attempted to attack an IDP camp in MAIDUGURI, BORNO State. The first PBIED detonated near petrol tankers parked near M Baba Filling station opposite CBN Quarters along DAMBOA Road, MAIDUGURI around 3.00am, other than the bombers and 3 petrol tankers there were no further losses

Elements of 8 TF Div supported by vigilantes conducted clearance operations in the vicinity of CHIKUN GUDU, BORNO State capturing 14 enemy and killing several others. Also captured were 2 x Toyota Hilux stolen from 153 TF Bn, 2 x Toyota trucks stolen from Nigerien forces, 1 x 25HP Yamaha outboard engine, 2 x solar panels, 1 x bipod, 12 x uniforms, 37 x 7.62mm (NATO) rounds, 84 x copies of the Koran and 270 x books on Islamic literature. They destroyed over 70 x motorcycles, 3 x shacks of medical supplies, 3 x shacks of foodstuff, 3 x wooden boats, 2 x Nigerien driving license, 2 x mobile phones and 2 x wooden slates. 4 soldiers were wounded

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

26 February

Suspected robbers killed a woman and her child in GUNDUMI Forest along SOKOTO-ISA Road, ISA LGA, SOKOTO State

27 February

Suspected nomadic gunmen attacked RAFIN DODI, KANIKON Chiefdom, JEMA’A LGA, KADUNA State around 6.00pm

01 March

The SOKOTO State Commissioner of Police Mohammad ABDULKADIR stated 27 repentant criminals had surrendered 40 small arms in ISA LGA as part of an amnesty programme

Gunmen shot a farmer on his land in the vicinity of BAKIN KOGI, (?) LGA, southern KADUNA State

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

26 February

Gunmen attacked the residence of the Assistant Registrar of the College of Education, KATSINA ALA, KATSINA ALA LGA, BENUE State, killing him and stealing his car, money and mobile phone as well as demanding some documents. Police pursued the attackers engaging them in a firefight along KATSINA ALA-TAKUM Road, where one robber was killed and the stolen vehicle abandoned

26 February

The body of the abductee Godwin Yanbee BOSUA was found in his Primary school orchards in KATSINA ALA LGA, BENUE State, he appeared to have been severely beaten

NIGER State Police Command intercepted 240 stolen cows in the vicinity of GARATU, BOSSO LGA

27 February

Troops and DSS operatives arrested 3 x suspected Chadian members of Boko Haram-ISWAP in ARAWA and MALLAM INNA Districts of GOMBE City, GOMBE State. named as Bilal Muhammed UMAR, Bashir MUHAMMED and Muhammed Maigari ABUBAKAR. Also recovered were IED components, UMAR was shot in the leg during the operation

NIGER State Police Command stated in February that they had arrested 104 suspects, recovered 3 x AK 47s, 334 x rounds of ammunition, 1 x SMG(?) with 6 x rounds f ammunition, 12 x single barrel weapons, 4 x locally made pistols and 1 x revolver as well as 672 cows of which 240 were

28 February

An escaped Boko Haram prisoner Muktar SULEIMAN who escaped custody in 2015 has been rearrested and remanded to KOTON KARFE Federal Prison at in LOKOJA Chief Magistrates Court, KOGI State to reappear on 16 March to answer charges of criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide and brigandage. The suspect allegedly killed a police officer and inmate whilst escaping and fled to YOBE and ZARIA before returning to OTURKPO, BENUE State and attempting to recruit in ANKPA, IDAH and ANYIGBA, KOGI State

Suspected nomadic gunmen attacked MBAHIMIN Village, GWER LGA, BENUE State killing 3 people and wounding 12 with bladed weapons

01 March

Suspected nomadic gunmen attacked GBEMACHA, GWER LGA, BENUE State from ABINSI at night killing 4 Tiv farmers apparently in retaliation for the killing of a Fulani herdsman

03 March

Local hoodlums attacked a wedding party harassing guests in the BARKIN SALE Area of MINNA, NIGER State, police responded and a Deputy Superintendent of Police was killed with an axe

Situation External (Rest of the World)

26 February

Gunmen killed a farmer near WAZA, LOGONE ET CHARI Department, EXTREME NORD Region

27 February

US AFRICOMs EX Flintlock 2017 began in N’DJAMENA, CHAD. The 3 week exercise will involve US, Camerounian, Nigerien, Moroccan, Mauritania, Tunisian, Chadian, British, Australian, Canadian, Belgian, German and other troops operating in DIFFA Region, NIGER Republic as well as BURKINA FASO, CAMEROUN, MOROCCO and TUNISIA

28 February

Gunmen attacked MADINA, FOTOKOL Arrondissement, LOGONE ET CHARI Department at night killing a civilian

01 March

Gunmen including heavily armed Tauregs were spotted entering WAZA National Park, LOGONE ET CHARI Department, EXTREME NORD Region from NIGERIA using a route between NDIGUINA and ZIGUAGUE, LOGONE ET CHARI Department.

02 March

NIGERIA, CAMEROUN and UNHCR have signed an agreement (The Tripartite Agreement for the voluntary repatriation of Nigerian Refugees living in CAMEROUN) in YAOUNDE, CAMEROUN on the voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refuges in CAMEROUN

03 March

Taureg gunmen hiding in WAZA National Park have abducted 3 people including the son of the chief of NDIGUINA

A delegation from the UN Security Council led by British UN Ambassador Matthew RYECROFT arrived in CAMEROUN for meeting with officials and to visit the MNJTF to examine the Boko Haram problem, they will go to CHAD, NIGER Republic and the NIGERIA

04 March

The UN Security Council Delegation visited MNJTF HQ in N’DJAMENA, CHAD

Posted in Counter insurgency, Defence, Nigeria Defence, Nigeria Strategy, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Create An Insurgency (2): Exercise Python Dance and 50 years of Biafra

Of the numerous issues facing Nigeria, it appears that the Nigerian government feels there are not enough.

Agitation in South East Nigeria for the restoration of the former secessionist Republic of Biafra has seen a resurgence particularly before and after the 2015 election. After President Jonathans shock defeat, neo Biafran agitation and Niger Delta militancy threatened to create another internal security situation for Nigeria.

Despite neo Biafran agitation being non violent and restricted to bloodthirsty rhetoric but peaceful demonstrations, the response of the Nigerian Government has been the disproportionate use of violence and repression, creating the classic conditions for an insurgency.

30th May 2017 will be the 50th Anniversary of Biafra’s Declaration of Independence a date of such significance that the actions of both the government and neo Biafrans could have far reaching effects, thus it is pertinent to review this situation in greater detail.

Eastern Nigeria- Physical Terrain

South East Nigeria is one of Nigeria’s 6 geopolitical zones, it consists of Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra and Abia States, which together with 4 States from the South South geopolitical zone- Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers and Bayelsa States constituted Nigeria’s former Eastern Region which became the Republic of Biafra between 30 May 1967 and 15 January 1970.

The River Niger forms the former Eastern Region’s western border separating it from Delta and Edo State, to the north are Kogi and Benue State, Cameroun to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the south.

The terrain from south to north is characterised by the mangrove swamps and islands of the Niger Delta in tidal streams and rivers that deposit into the Gulf of Guinea. These transition into freshwater swamps further inland. North of the swamps are rain forests which rise to rolling hills around the northern border. Along the eastern border with Cameroun, from the south the Cross River Delta rises to the Oban Hills (foothills of the Cameroun Mountain range) and Obudu Plateau.

Major rivers such as the Nun, Escarvos, New Calabar, Anambra, Imo, Orashi, Otamiri, Cross Rivers run north to south. Some flow east to west from lakes like the Njaba or from the Cameroun Highlands such as the Qua Iboe.

Major population centres generally feature along main transport routes such as rivers (Port Harcourt, Calabar, Onitsha), roads (Uyo, Owerri, Ikot Ekpene, Awka, Nsukka) or railway lines (Aba, Enugu).

Other population centers consist of small, towns, villages and hamlets along minor lines of communication such as creeks, streams, minor roads and bush paths.

Eastern Nigeria- Human Terrain

The largest tribe in the region are the Igbo’s one of Nigeria’s 3 main tribes. Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra and Abia States are almost exclusively Igbo, whilst Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta have large ethnic Igbo populations, Igbo diasporas as well as Igbo related sub tribes.

Tribes in Rivers State include Ikwerre, Ekpeye Ibani, Opobo, Eleme, Okrika, Kalabari, Etche, Ogba, Ogoni, Obolo, Andoni, Ijaw.

Bayelsa is majority Ijaw, with elements of Kolokuma, Ekpetiama, Igbriran, Atissa and Biseni peoples. Akwa Ibom consists of Ibibios, Annangs, Oran Eket and Obolo, whilst Cross River consists of Efik, Ejagham and Bekwarra.

The lingua franca is English and pidgin English, Igbo is the most widely spoken language by population, followed by Ijaw, Efik and Ibibio. Unlike other Regional majority languages like Yoruba and Hausa, Igbo is not the Regional lingua franca.

The main foreign religion is Christianity, with Catholicism dominating the Igbo states, Anglicanism in Rivers and Bayelsa and Scottish Presbyterian in Cross River and Akwa Ibom. Modern evangelical churches proliferate. Traditional religions are still observed in conjunction with imported ones. Islam is almost exclusively practised by non-natives from Western and Northern Nigeria and non Nigerians. Most tribes were traditionally polytheist. The Igbo’s for example believed in one supreme god Chukwu, with other gods such as Ala, Amadioha, Idemili etc, each village or clan would have shrines dedicated to these gods or a particular local spirit or deity. There is no particular concept of heaven or hell only an afterworld where ones Chi or personal god (in essence their soul) goes afterwards to reside with their ancestors.

Eastern Nigeria- History

Eastern Nigeria originated from the activities of British traders like George Goldie who traded along the River Niger from the coast to Lokoja (in present day Kogi State). Goldie to counter French and German competition amalgamated British trading companies into the West African Company (which became the United Africa Company in 1879 and National African Company in 1882)

The Company controlled trade in the Niger Delta (then known as the Oil Rivers) via treaties with local chiefs who brought goods from the interior (mainly palm oil) which they traded with the British who also sold manufactured goods such as soap, guns, cannons, gunpowder and alcoholic spirits. These monopolies with locals were regulated by Royal Navy gunboats and armed troops. European competitors such as the French and Germans were run off or bought out until the 1885 Berlin Conference gave Britain exclusivity. In 1886 a Royal Charter transformed the National African Company to the Royal Niger Company which established the Oil Rivers Protectorate with its capital at Calabar in 1889. It was renamed Niger Coast Protectorate and sold to the British government in 1899, becoming the Southern Nigeria Protectorate in 1900. Lagos was added in 1906 and Southern Nigeria was amalgamated with Northern Nigeria in 1914 by Lord Frederick Lugard to become the Colony of Nigeria.

Missionaries followed traders, officials and military forces into the interior setting up schools and churches. Despite resistance to both colonial rule and Christianity, both eventually took hold, with the Igbo’s in particular rapidly assimilating western education. Ancient Igbo culture emphasised hard work, egalitarianism and social advancement. This was likely influenced by the necessity of sustaining a subsistence agriculture economy based in thick jungle terrain, where hard working people working communally was the only way to survive.

Thus most Igbo communities were ruled by quasi democratic loose councils of elders and titled men. All were farmers, with varying degrees of side trades such as hunter, artisan, palm wine tapper, blacksmith etc., there were generally no standing armies meaning that warfare prior to the slave trade was usually limited and consisted mainly of raids and were generally resolved by negotiation.

Despite the kings or an aristocracy, the society was still a masculine, hierarchical society, however the hierarchy was based on age and a system of titles, making power and position attainable to anyone who worked hard enough to afford the expensive title ceremonies.

The lack of kings was an impediment to the normal British colonial practice of indirect rule through existing power structures thus the British had to create warrant chiefs in order to staff a local administration. In the coastal areas where there were established Kingdoms, the British left them in place as long as the rulers were compliant (removing or exiling rebellious ones like Jaja of Opobo).

The Southern Protectorate was divided into Eastern and Western Provinces in 1939 with all Regions becoming self governing following the 1954 Ibadan General Conference. Upon Independence in 1960 fear of Igbo domination in the Eastern Region by coastal minorities led to a short lived rebellion by an Ijaw man Isaac Boro.

In 1966 a coup by led by Major Nzeogwu (an Anioma Igbo from then Mid West Region- present day Delta State), motivated by a continuing political crisis in the Western Region (after rigged elections in 1965) led to the other throw of the First Republic and ushering in military rule.

The counter coup in June 1966 by Northern officers led to the death of many Eastern officers and soldiers, these were followed in quick succession by two pogroms of innocent Easterners (mainly Igbos) in the North and the rest of the country.

This led to a mass displacement of Easterners back to the Eastern Region, following a breakdown of negotiations, between the Federal Military Government and the Eastern Region, the Eastern Military Governor Lt Col. Ojukwu declared the region independent as the Republic of Biafra on 30th May 1967.

The Nigerian Federal Military Government invaded 4 weeks later on 6th July 1967. After relatively rapid advances around the hills in the north of Biafra and the creeks south of Port Harcourt and Calabar, it became a slow grinding war of attrition along the roads leading into the rain forest of Igboland, until Biafra surrendered on 15th January 1970, with Ojukwu fleeing into exile in Cote d’Ivoire.

Whilst Easterners of all tribes fought fanatically for Biafra, the fear of Igbo domination and the creation by the Federal Military Government of 3 states out of the Eastern Region (Rivers, East Central and Cross River) served to separate Igbos from the coastal minority tribes. Post war Bayelsa State was carved out of Rivers State and Akwa Ibom out of Cross Rivers.

Post war there was an effort to reintegrate the Igbos and the East into the country, under the slogan ‘No Victor, No Vanquished’ and a comprehensive relief programme, which worked relatively well considering the brutality of the pogroms and bitterness of the war. However, the memory of the war, the blockade and starvation remained sore point as did the post war policy of exchanging Biafran currency for 20 Nigerian pounds irrespective of the quantity, thus wiping out the savings of many Easterners. Other sore points included the difficulties some returnees had reclaiming their properties and assets in other parts of Nigeria.

However, there was little agitation by the survivors of Biafra and the bitter defeat was generally accepted. Ojukwu was pardoned and returned to Nigeria in 1982, unsuccessfully contesting for a Senate seat in the Second Republic.

Military rule continued until 1999 (except for the Second Republic, from 1979 to 1983, when current President Buhari overthrew the civilian government of Shehu Shagari), with muli party elections won by Olusegun Obasanjo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who ruled for 16 years until defeated in 2015 by Muhammadu Buhari representing a coalition of political parties known as the All Peoples Congress (APC).

Neo Biafran Separatism

MASSOB: In 1999 as military rule ended and multiparty democracy began, an Igbo lawyer Chief Ralph Uwazuruike formed the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB). The group called for a peaceful separation of the former Eastern Region from Nigeria as a new Republic of Biafra and engaged in a generally non violent secessionist campaign using publicity stunts such as hoisting Biafran flags, issuing Biafran currency and passports, forming a ‘Government in Exile’ and a ‘Shadow Government’ in order to raise funds, generate popular support and pressurise the Federal Government and international community.

MASSOB attracted the attention and some support of some of the key personalities from the defunct Republic of Biafra and had some popular support; particularly amongst lower socio economic groups. Despite their determination to follow Ghandis path of non violent resistance they attracted a fairly typical Nigerian government response of over reaction, violence and repression.

Processions were met with force, activists were beaten, shot, detained and charged with everything from breaches of the peace to treason for demonstrations or acts as innocuous as playing football matches at MASSOB organised events.

This approach was relatively consistent throughout all the administrations of the 4th Republic, whilst President Obasanjo (a former military ruler) reacted with typical brute force, some of the most egregious attacks on MASSOB took place during the administrations of the allegedly much milder Presidents Yar Adua (Fulani, Katsina State) and Jonathan (Ijaw, Bayelsa State) the latter describing the group as one of the three key threats to Nigeria’s security despite the fact that unlike Boko Haram they had not engaged in a single armed attack, unlike the Niger Delta  militants affected the regions or country’s economy or mobilised a critical mass of the populace in their target area, influencing elections, public policy or discourse, unlike other regional groups such as the Oduduwa People’s Congress (OPC) or Arewa People’s Congress (APC).

MASSOB split into factions in 2015 with one led by Uchenna Madu, with Chief Uwazuruike renaming his faction the Biafra Independence Movement (MASSOB/ BIM). During the 2015 election, which was remarkable for how much money the government diverted from the treasury to various personalities and groups for partisan electoral purposes, Uwazuruike publicly supported President Jonathan’s re-election despite the extra judicial killings and continued detention of MASSOB activists under his administration, the endorsement did not gain any corresponding easing of repression on MASSOB, release of prisoners, guarantees for a referendum or increased in development in the South East, nor did it change the electoral outcome which was rigged in Jonathans favour in the South East and South South anyway. MASSOB remains riven by factionalism and has had no further public effect.

IPOB: the Director of MASSOB’s Radio Biafra their online radio station, Nnamdi Kanu, formed the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in 2012 from his council house in Peckham, UK, as a more radical neo Biafran group, combining secessionism, conspiracy theories, Jewish lost tribe theories, Igbo supremacy and tribalism into a quasi-religious cult.

Like MASSOB their objective is to create a new Biafra but with different methods and tactics.

IPOBs method appears to be threefold;

  • An aggressive propaganda campaign using internet radio and social media in order to dominate the media space, disseminate their narrative and generate international support and sympathy;
  • Publicity stunts in the diaspora consisting of demonstrations outside Nigerian embassies, public spaces and at public events
  • Demonstrations amongst communities in Igboland

Their narrative (which is fairly IPOB specific) asserts that the Igbo peoples descended from the Jews of the Middle East and are the chosen people of their god (described by IPOB as Chukwu Okike Abiam) and that Biafra rather than being created in 1967 by Col. Ojukwu on the advice of the Eastern Consultative Council out of the old Eastern Region in response to the pogroms and massacres of the Easterners in Nigeria, was in fact an ancient African kingdom, pre existing colonialism, which was suppressed by the perfidious British in order to give Hausa Fulanis control of the future Nigeria.

The exact area claimed as Biafra (or Biafraland as IPOB describe it) varies with some of their maps including Eastern Nigeria and Delta State, others parts of Kogi and Benue States and some just the core Igbo states.

The lack of any historical or traditional reference to the Kingdom of Biafra does not affect this narrative (like all good conspiracy theories, a lack of evidence is in fact evidence of a cover up) and it is used to dominate the media space, wear down opponents and aggravate real and perceived enemies. The latter include other tribes (especially the Hausa Fulani and Yoruba), other religions, countries, personalities and Igbo’s who do not agree with them.

IPOB’s messaging for Nigerian audiences is anti Nigeria (described as the Zoo), anti Muslim, anti Yoruba, anti Hausa Fulani, anti President Buhari.

Internationally it identifies with Brexit, anti Islam, ultra right wing Israeli, ultra right wing American, anti US President Obama, anti homosexuality, anti British and happily propagates the most virulent  conspiracy theories emanating from these arenas, which have now coalesced as being fanatically pro Donald Trump with such an enthusiasm that even pro Trump social media sites have taken to banning IPOB supporters for their tendency to spam these sites with pro Biafra messages and gory photos.

It has scored some international successes, such as getting a British Labour MP to publicly support their cause and two Ulster Unionists to table an early day motion in the UK Houses of Commons calling for a referendum on Biafra (the only other signatory was a female Muslim Labour MP of Pakistani origin), as well as getting a few mentions on the US right wing conspiracy theory fringe, the first being that Obama supported Buhari in order for the latter to impose Sharia Law on Nigeria and legalise gay marriage in Nigeria.

Despite this IPOBs appeal has remained solid with its base but at the fringes of Igbo society, neither attracting the state or local level political support or patronage that other groups such as the Niger Delta militants or pre-2009 Boko Haram obtained. Its message resonated mainly with a core of disenfranchised youth until the 2015 election which pitted President Jonathan; an unpopular incumbent from the Bayelsa State against Gen. Buhari; a Northern Muslim Fulani former military dictator (who was also a participant in the July 1966 coup that led to the murder of the first and only Igbo Head of State and the subsequent pogroms).

In the hands of politicians who excel at manipulating tribal, religious and regional differences, the campaign became a contest between extremes. For groups such as IPOB this was their break out moment, which in a precursor of the Brexit vote and the 2016 US election the most extreme conspiracies about the upcoming election entered the mainstream via social media, regurgitated by a plethora of pop up blogs and the ubiquitous Radio Biafra.

The partisan weaponization of the separatist movement was completed with MASSOBs endorsement of President Jonathan, whilst IPOB contented itself with anti Buhari and anti North propaganda.

President Jonathan’s unexpected loss deprived mainstream PDP politicians of patronage and exposed them to potential corruption investigations.

For Northern PDP politicians this meant biding their time until they could negotiate a way to join the winning party, for South Eastern and South South politicians especially the newer ones who did not have access to the established political and patronage networks, yet had become very wealthy and powerful during the Jonathan administration as well as those Northern politicians who had personal grudges with the incoming administration new tools were needed, thus tribal extremists like IPOB found a willing echo chamber amongst angry, frightened and shocked regional activists as well as the alleged support of newly disenfranchised politicians.

Within this feverish atmosphere Kanu was filmed at an Igbo Conference in the US in September 2015 requesting assistance to buy arms and ammunition for an unspecified purpose from the shocked attendees. In one of his characteristically quaint but confident speeches, Kanu alleged the presence of a ‘blood moon’ made the time particularly portentous for his unspecified activities.

Kanu returned to Nigeria in October 2015 where he was promptly arrested in a Lagos hotel and has been in detention ever since.

His detention set off a series of demonstrations in various Eastern cities and towns as well as in major cities abroad.

IPOBs demonstrations had previously been peaceful and well controlled, with authorities given advanced warning and IPOB stewards controlling the crowds and maintaining order however after August 2015, the security force response became deadly with 2 killed and 22 wounded in Onitsha, 1 killed in Bayelsa in November 2015, another in Port Harcourt and several wounded and detained. December 2015, saw 6 dead and 12 wounded in Onitsha, January 2016 had 8 killed, 5 wounded in 2 demonstrations in Aba, in February 17 killed and 30 wounded in Aba and up to 60 killed and 70 injured in Asaba and Onitsha on 30 May 2016

There have been no reported incidents of security force casualties indicating that there was no violence or reason to use deadly force, likewise video from some of the incidents shows the security forces making no attempt to peacefully disperse the crowd before adopting fire positions and engaging the crowd with teargas and gunfire. These incidents include demonstrations or meeting in churches schools or other places where the IPOB members are not conceivably constituting a public threat much less nuisance.

The Niger Delta Avengers whilst blowing up pipelines in Ijawland included the release of Nnamdi Kanu and Col Sambo Dasuki, President Jonathans National Security Adviser (who was arrested on corruption charges in 2 December 2015) as part of their demands as did a group who abducted some sailors in February 2016, however there is little evidence of coordination by IPOB, with their spokesman arguing that these acts were actually deliberate provocations by the government to claim IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

On 27th November 2016, the Army’s 82 Division began Exercise Python Dance, a month long Command Post and Field Exercise encompassing CIMIC, medical outreach, patrols, show of force exercises, cordon and search operations, anti kidnapping drills, check points and road blocks in conjunction with other agencies such as the Police, DSS, Civil Defence etc. It was met with mixed feelings, with some asserting it was a crack down on potential neo Biafrans in particular and Igbo’s in general and others hoping it would relieve kidnaping, armed robbery and other crimes. The exercise was completed peacefully, with the Army reeling off positive statistics about reduced road traffic accidents and crime

As Kanu’s detention continued indefinitely in defiance of several court orders for his release on bail, the demonstrations petered out until IPOB supporters decided to commemorate Donald Trumps inauguration with a demonstration in Port Harcourt on 21 January 2017.

The Trump solidarity rally was clearly aimed at generating media buzz in order to get Donald Trump’s attention, which the Nigerian security forces happily assisted with by allegedly opening fire on the rally killing 11 (or 57 according to IPOB), wounding up to 27 and detaining 57, 35 of whom were released.

Despite the international media attention this garnered neither Donald Trump nor his supporters have shown interest in neo-Biafra, who are yet to benefit from either a tweet or retweet, much less any particularly pro neo-Biafra or even anti President Buhari policy, a disappointment further cemented by news that Donald Trump had a cordial phone conversation with President Buhari.

Thus far the crisis (such as it is) remains frozen with Kanu still in detention, scores of IPOB and MASSOB activists killed, wounded, detained or disappeared.


It is unclear if Kanu returned to Nigeria to organise an insurgency or was just visiting, likewise it is unclear if he deliberately engineered his arrest in order to provide a catalyst for a popular uprising, was betrayed or just unlucky.

However IPOBs’ campaign of virulent propaganda appears to seek to radicalise the population of the former Eastern Region and goad other tribes and religions into retaliation, in order to recreate the conditions of 1966-67 in which the persecuted Igbo’s return to the South East and unify under a single, sovereign political entity, with IPOB in a position to claim leadership of the nascent state.

Alternatively, IPOB could genuinely believe that tribalistic and sectarian propaganda would lead to a referendum and a genial parting of ways.

We will look at the strength and weaknesses of the neo Biafran movement, opportunities for the Nigerian government and potential threats.


  • The neo Biafran movement is sustained by a hard core of fanatical believers
  • Their narratives are supported by several genuine grievances that constitute a unifying narrative

o   Nigeria is a fairly unjust and under developed country, poorly run by greedy and venal elite.

o   Igbos were persecuted and massacred in 1966/67

o   There have been subsequent pogroms of Igbo’s in the north since the civil war

o   The war was devastating for Igbos and Igboland

  • Modern technology allows media content to be easily produced and disseminated from any location on the globe to any location on the globe.
  • The evolution of the interconnected information age and advent of social media has not increased knowledge rather locked most people into hermetically sealed information bubbles making counter radicalisation difficult.
  • Biafra as a concept resonates very strongly with Igbo’s and is a fundamental part of Igbo history, forcing even non IPOB supporters to have to defend their tribe and history from the backlash of IPOBs activities, creating a classic ‘them and us’ situation.
  • A continued convergence of interest between out of favour powerful and wealthy politicians seeking to put pressure on the government presents an opportunity for IPOB to attract support or patronage
  • The use of disproportionate violence against IPOB by the security forces elicits sympathy for them if not their cause
  • There is a general dislike for Igbo’s amongst certain sections of Nigerian society, envy of their ambition and suspicion of their motives. This animosity reinforces IPOBs narrative.


  • Whilst IPOB and MASSOB might have global networks and the ability to generate street protests, their ability to translate this into useful positive effects such as national or international support has been limited.
  • Despite MASSOBs conciliatory, non violent approach it failed to form partnerships with other mainstream tribal, regional or sectional groups. IPOB’s tribalistic and sectarian rhetoric and penchant for hyperbolic claims and insults has done little to improve on this.
  • The concept of Biafra has a strong emotional pull on Igbo’s, IPOBs revisionism and tribalistic rhetoric in essence desecrates this memory further weakening their support amongst the people they purport to represent
  • IPOB’s advocacy for Biafra generally ends at its creation, with no mention of what happens after secession, further reducing their appeal to potential local and foreign allies
  • The factional nature of the separatist movement dilutes their message and dissipates their energy
  • IPOB has escalation inferiority, even if it uses violence in response to repression, the effects will be felt disproportionately by innocent civilians.
  • The economies of the Igbo states are mostly based on trade and manufacture, industries that need the free movement of goods, capital and people, which requires stability


  • At the core of IPOBs message are the genuine political grievances of perceived marginalisation, under development, poor governance and lack of accountability for past injustices, if IPOB capitalises on these common grievances it could achieve popular support. Conversely acts of reconciliation and good governance from the Nigerian government can neutralise this
  • IPOBs divisive rhetoric is easy to counter if one wished to, with a well planned and targeted media and psyop campaign to suppress their messaging with counter narratives and cyber warfare to shut down their online media outlets.
  • Absorbing the lessons learned from the north east concerning adherence to human rights, using local auxiliaries, collecting human and technical intelligence and preparing the battlespace can prevent potential insurgents from using violence.
  • IPOB rallies can be properly policed, not only preserving the lives and rights of Nigerian citizens but removing the main plank of their propaganda
  • Observing the rule of law by trying detained IPOB members fairly counters the IPOB ‘zoo’ narrative


  • Radicals could attack northerners or Muslims and provoke a response in the North leading to another set of pogroms.
  • A guerrilla campaign against the security forces based in the rainforest or cities of Eastern Nigeria would overwhelm the single 2 understrength and already deployed Divisions in the area. History shows that in these situations troops resort to a massive and indiscriminate use of firepower and abusive practices to counter an insurgency
  • IPOB uses the 40th anniversary of Biafran Independence to conduct a series of protests, provoking a violent security force response, radicalising more youths and hardening the resolve of current activists
  • Nnamdi Kanu dies in detention splintering the group under more radical unknown and unpredictable leaders
  • In the run up to the next elections, politicians seek to co-opt IPOB, using their networks and activists to rig the election, giving IPOB access to weapons and political protection.
  • The use of deadly force against peaceful protestors reinforces the narrative of Igbo marginalisation and repression and creates a revenge motive for a violent secessionist movement
  • Constant repression and the denial of fair trial to detained IPOB leaders much less any form of trial to ordinary IPOB members, removes any incentive for IPOB members to remain non-violent


In the panoply of Nigerian security threats, IPOB and neo Biafran agitation currently ranks far behind Boko Haram, Middle Belt Herdsmen/ Farmer conflict, Niger Delta militancy, other Islamic militant groups and even crimes such as kidnap for ransom, piracy, cattle rustling and armed robbery.

However, in the context of Nigeria, its internal politics and international relations and the situation is fraught with dangers.

The Igbo’s as a tribe occupy a unique place in Nigeria (and West Africa) as an avowedly assimilationist and commercial peoples, there are Igbo communities in every part of Nigeria and Africa (the author met unveiled, fully made up Igbo girls trading in Maiduguri market at the height of the Boko Haram insurgency), this aggressive entrepreneurialism as well as the Igbo’s egalitarian traditions that do not recognise traditional hierarchical boundaries cause resentment amongst some peoples however as the anecdote above shows, Igbo’s are also welcomed into the diverse communities they move to.

As the only group to actively and (for a period) successfully rebel against the state, Igbo ‘exceptionalism’ from the Nigerian norm is a complicating factor

Based on this and the 10s of anti Igbo religious/ tribal riots across Northern Nigeria it is likely that a renewed conflict in Igboland would be bloody, non discriminating and protracted.

The security forces use of violence unfortunately mirrors methods used in other theatres such as the North East and the Niger Delta, in neither of which were they effective. The Niger Delta insurgency was paused by paying off the militants whilst Boko Haram continues their war.

Despite the successful radicalisation of certain sections of Igbo and Eastern society both in Nigeria and abroad by the  ‘alternative’ narrative of a ‘chosen people’ of an ancient kingdom of ‘Biafraland’, the fundamental flaws in their method and narrative that not only challenge the meritocratic hierarchy of Igboland, the memory of Biafra, as well as the egalitarian history and culture of Igboland but also materially threatens the livelihood of the Igbo political elite, business class and educated middle class as well as the multiple Igbo communities all over Nigeria particularly in the north. Thus  IPOB remains a small, noisy fringe movement with limited popular support.

The only thing that can substantively change that would be a radical change in their narrative and methodology or the violent repression by the Government and security forces.

Unfortunately it would appear Nigerian Government and security forces would decided violence and repression are the best solution. Exercise Python Dance was completed successfully and more peacefully than other Divisional exercises such as Ex Shirin Harbi in 3 Divisions AOR focussing on cattle rustling and banditry, Ex Harbin Kunama in 1 Division AOR in July 2016 focusing on cattle rustling COIN and banditry, Ex Crocodile Smile in 2 and 82 Divisions AOR in September 2016 focussed on oil bunkering, oil theft and piracy, all of which transitioned seamlessly from exercises to kinetic operations, some of which are still ongoing.

However the exercise can be seen as a as a dress rehearsal for COIN operations in the South East featuring as it did urban surges such as that conducted by 144 Battalion in Aba from a FOB set up in a school, check points at the River Niger bridge head in Onitsha and on major routes.

The pacific outcome however gives lie to the narrative that neo Biafran separatism is a violent existential threat to Nigeria as claimed by President Jonathan, President Buharis statements on the issue have been no less disappointing, dismissing all concerns out of hand and addressing the agitation purely through the prism of an existential security threat.

This narrative is reinforced by the curious name given to 82 Divisions exercise, Ex Python Dance

In most parts of Igboland the python is a sacred creature, left to their own devices free to move around and enter homes at will (which can be considered an omen) without molestation. If a python is killed it is given the same burial rites as a human being (in a country as ophidiophobic as Nigeria this is remarkable).

The python is the messenger of the goddess Ala, the goddess of the earth, fertility, harvest, morality and the underworld, an offence against whom (such as murder) is an offence against the earth and one of the highest taboos in Igboland.

A Python does not dance and would not be made to dance.

It is thus curious that the Army would chose the one revered creature in the Igbo tradition as the name of its exercise.

As the 50th anniversary of the declaration of Biafran Independence approaches, opportunities to defuse the crisis exist. It is hoped they are taken.

Posted in Counter insurgency, Defence, Geopolitics, Nigeria Defence, Nigeria Strategy, Stabilisation, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


Situation North East (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States)

19 February

Gunmen attacked YAZA KUMAZA Village, near LASSA, ASKIRA UBA LGA, BORNO State around 4.00pm killing 3 people and displacing the villagers into the bush. The attackers looted the town before leaving

The BORNO State Government has adopted additional security measures following a meeting with Army, NAF, NPF and DSS representatives in the state. The resolution called for new guard positions along likely avenues of approach

Troops supported by vigilante advanced to contact, clearing BULTAURI, BULABILI, AMBIYA TASHA, GOL, ZINDIYA, BURBUR, MANGUSUM, TALALA, AJIGIN, DOKSA and TORO Villages, DAMBOA LGA, BORNO State losing 1 killed and 3 wounded, capturing unspecified types and quantities of ammunition, 13x enemy flags, 3 x Korans, 1 x Motorola radio, 2 x grinding machines, 5 x dane guns, 1 x FN magazine, 1 x packet of Maggi seasoning 2 x jungle hats, 6 x Arabic books, 1 x military style trousers and 1 x bandolier

Troops cleared WAIYARAM Village, DAMBOA LGA BORNO State and then continued to advance, detonating an IED around10.00am in the vicinity of BULA JIMBAM, losing 2 killed and 13 wounded, with 1 x Nissan Truck and 1 x Canter truck damaged.

20 February

MESF stated it had opened the 50 bed MAIDUGURI FORI District Feeding Centre, a nourishment and therapeutic centre for IDPs

The NAF completed its medical outreach, treating 1,000 in WAKANI IDP Camp, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State

21 February

The CDS Gen OLONISAKIN opened a 3 day conference for Lake CHAD Basin Commission Members and BENIN Republic

Troops cleared MANDAKA, LEMU and GATHA Village, GWOZA (?) LGA, BORNO State killing 2 enemy in GATHA, losing 1 vigilante wounded. Thy captured a list of suspected Boko Haram members, 1 x IED vest, 2 x solar panels, 1 x enemy flag, 4 x Korans, 1 x ID card and 1 x Voters Registration card. 59 women and children were rescued

Troops arrested a suspected Boko Haram member Ari ARIMAYE from BULA UMARI Village, BAMA LGA,BORNO State attempting to infiltrate BANKI IDP Camp around 4.30pm disguised as an IDP. He was detained with N1.264m and 160,000 CFA Francs in a black sack

Troops ambushed enemy forces at a known crossing point in the vicinity of FIRGI, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State along PULKA-BANKI Road killing 3 enemy and capturing 1 x AK 47, 1 x AK 47 magazine, 7 x 7.62mm (AK), 3 x bicycles and food condiments. 1 x truck was slightly damaged

22 February

Suspected ISWAP gunmen attacked military positions in GAJIRAM, KUKAWA LGA, BORNO State killing 7 soldiers after a 2 hour firefight, 3 enemy were killed

Gunmen attacked returnees who had gone to harvest their abandoned maize farms in the vicinity of GAJIGANNA, MAGUMERI LGA, BORNO State killing some and abducting others

Troops conducted a clearance op along DAMASAK-GASHIGAR-GIRI 1- GIRI 2- JABULAM- ABADAM- MALLAM FATORI axis, engaging the enemy in GIRI 1 and JABULAM Villages killing 13 enemy and destroying all enemy camps, 1 x soldier was wounded

23 February

NAF Alphajets destroyed an enemy Toyota Hilux with mounted AAA gun after it was spotted by an NAF ISR aircraft in the vicinity of TALALA, (?) LGA, Northern BORNO State

Commander US AFRICOM Gen Thomas WALDHAUSER visited the CDS Gen Gabriel OLONISAKIN at Defence HQ, ABUJA, FCT stating that the US was committed to increasing assistance in terms of training, intelligence sharing, capacity building and equipment. He also visited the National Defence College

24 February

NAF Alphajets and F7 Ni conducted air strikes on enemy vehicles and positions in the vicinity of TAGOSHE, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State, approximately 10km southwest of GWOZA in the MANDARA Mountains following reports of enemy concentrations by friendly ground forces, which were confirmed by NAF ISR aircraft

AFP reports that an audio recording of a meeting allegedly held by Abubakar ‘SHEKAU’ to discuss complaint over the killing of a Boko Haram propaganda operative known as TASIU or ABU ZINNIRA

2 x female PBIEDs attempted to infiltrate BANKI IDP Camp, BAMA LGA, BORNO State, upon reaching the sentry position one of them detonated her device killing herself and her companion and slightly wounding a vigilante

Gunmen mounted on motorcycles and trucks attacked friendly forces in GAJIRAM around 11.59pm killing 11 soldiers and wounding others. The enemy recaptured 1 gun truck earlier captured from them, 11 x AK 47s and 1 x RPG tube. 2 x enemy were killed, 5 x motorcycles destroyed and 1 x AK 47 captured. Troops pursued the enemy, capturing one of their Toyota Landcruisers, 9 x 12.7mm rounds and link, assorted narcotics, a note with names and Arabic script and a microchip with audio messages in Kanuri and Hausa and Arabic preaching

25 February

A suspected PBIED was killed in BOLONGU, BAMA LGA, BORNO State

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

30 January

KANO State Police have arrested a couple suspected of kidnapping children for ransom around HOTORO, KAWO, TISHARMA and WALA LAMBE in KANO City, after tracking a N100,000.00 ransom paid for an 8 year old victim

19 February

Suspected nomadic gunmen attacked BAKIN KOGI, GOSKA Chiefdom, JEMA’A LGA, KADUNA State around 5.30pm but were repelled by the security forces, with 2 policemen killed.

20 February

Suspected nomadic gunmen attacked ASHIM, MIFI and ZILAN Villages in ATAKAD Chiefdom, KAURA LGA, KADUNA State around 6.00am killing up to 20 people and burning ZILAN completely and 54 houses in ASHIM before being repelled by the security forces.

The Garrison Commander 1 Div Brig Gen Ismaila ISA and the KADUNA State Commissioner of Police CP Agyole ABEH deployed to Southern KADUNA to take command of the task force of 2 Battalions and 10 MOPOL Squadrons in the area

Youths reportedly stopped a vehicle containing Hausa Fulani hunters from RANO, KIBIYA and WADA LGA, KANO State returning from a hunting expedition in NASARAWA State in KAGORO LGA, KADUNA State killing 8 before the police could rescue them

21 February

The KADUNA State Government imposed a 24 hour curfew on JEMA’A and KAURA LGA

22 February

Gunmen abducted 2 German archaeologists (Professor Peter BREUNIJ and Johannes BURINGER from Goethe University, FRANKFURT) from an archaeological dig in JENJELA, KAGARKO LGA, KADUNA State near the border with BWARI Council, ABUJA FCT, a local man and a hunter who attempted to track the kidnappers were shot and killed.2 German females at the dig were left unmolested. A ransom of N60mwas requested

The Inspector General of Police Ibrahim IDRIS has deployed NPF Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Technical Intelligence Unit (TIU), Anti Kidnapping Unit, Counter Terrorism Unit, MOPOL, Special Investigation Team and NPF Air Wing to southern KADUNA State under the command of the Deputy IGP (Ops)

23 February

The Hausa Fulani hunters ambushed on Monday 20th were ambushed again as they left KAFANCHAN, JEMA’A LGA for KANO State, with one killed

25 February

The Two abducted German archaeologists were released in KATARI Village, KACHIA LGA, KADUNA State along KADUNA-ABUJA Expressway. Police claim no ransom was paid

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

18 February

Gunmen abducted a traditional healer Dennis NAKOWA from his home in MORO Village, AKWANGA LGA, NASARAWA State after killing a security guard

20 February

Commander 301 Artillery Regiment Brig Gen Zakari ABUBAKAR stated it had arrested 39 suspected Boko Haram members, 40 foreigners and 42 Kalare boys in GOMBE State

The military detained 4 suspected Boko Haram members in KOGI State

21 February

The KOGI State Governor Yahaya BELLO stated that Boko Haram fighters had begun concentrating in the state

The body of abducted traditional healer Dennis NAKOWA was found in the forests around MORO Village, AKWANGA LGA

22 February

The Army paraded 17 suspects at Chari Magumeri Barracks, LOKOJA, KOGI State detained over the last 3 weeks in KOGI Central Senatorial District, 2 of whom were suspected Boko Haram members and 15 who were suspected of armed robbery and kidnapping in the vicinity o OKENE, ADAYI, OBAJANA and ADOGO, capturing  1 x pump action shotgun, 10 x AK 47, 1 x locally fabricated double barrel, pistols, IED materials, unspecified type and quantity of ammunition, fire extinguishers, 12 x masks and a Boko Haram inscribed T shirt

25 February

Gunmen abducted Godwin Yanbee BOSUA a former bursar of the College of Education, KATSINA ALA, from the primary school he owned

A Private with 145 Bn who had reportedly recently returned from operations in BORNO State killed himself and 3 others whilst playing with a hand grenade in the market in BERI, MARIGA LGA, NIGER State, 8 other people were wounded

Situation External (Rest of the World)

22 February

Gunmen attacked AMCHIDE, MAYO SAVA Department, EXTREME NORD Region, killing 2 and wounding 2

2x PBIEDs attacked WOURO DOLE, MAYO SAVA Department, EXTREME NORD Region, local vigilantes reportedly had non specific advance warning. 1 pre teen PBIED detonated killing 1 other person and the second fled

23 February

UNHCR stated that CAMEROUN forcibly repatriated 517 Nigerian refugees, including 313 who had requested asylum

24 February

The international community pledged $672m at the OSLO Humanitarian Conference on NIGERIA and Lake CHAD in OSLO, NORWAY. With NORRWAY pledging $192m

Posted in Counter insurgency, Defence, Geopolitics, Nigeria Defence, Nigeria Strategy, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


Situation North East (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States)

13 February

Up to 30 gunmen attacked MIFA Village, CHIBOK LGA, BORNO State from the SAMBISA Forest around 9.30pm killing an Islamic scholar and wounding a teenage boy, soldiers from CHIBOK counter attacked defeating them

14 February

Troops ambushed enemy forces at a known crossing point between KUKARETA, DAMATURU LGA, YOBE State and NGAMDU, KAGA LGA, BORNO State killing 3 enemy and capturing 1 x AK 47, 3 x magazines, 2 x  RPG rounds, 500 x 7.62mm, 1 x dane gun, several charms and 2 x knives

15 February

NPF in MAIDUGURI arrested 2 brothers suspected of kidnapping and murdering a 10 year old boy on 17 January, 3 days after he was allegedly abducted. The brothers allegedly confessed to killing him after his father couldn’t pay the N10m ransom and to being Boko Haram members

16 February

The NAF began a 2 day medical outreach for IDPS in GWOZA, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State

Gunmen fired on an NAF Mi 17 helicopter taking part in the NAFs medical outreach programme, in the vicinity of GWOZA, wounding a crewman, the NAF scrambled a fixed and rotary wing aircraft who engaged the gunmen between BAMA and GWOZA. The damaged helicopter successfully completed its tasking and retuned to MAIDUGURI

Up to 3 PBIEDs infiltrated a vehicle park for a convoy waiting to go to GAMBORU NGALA at MUNA Garage, in MAIDUGURI along MAFA -MAIDUGURI Road, detonating around 11.18pm destroying 13 vehicles and killing 2 and wounding 8

A suspected Boko Haram Ibrahim ADAMU from CHIKUN GUDU surrendered to troops in MONGUNO, MONGUNO LGA, BORNO State

Troops detained a suspect who locals gathering firewood claimed was trying to infiltrate MAFA, MAFA LGA, BORNO State, he allegedly was tired of fighting

17 February

2 x female PBIEDs were stopped by a CJTF patrol around 2.00am MUNA DALTI Village, JERE LGA, BORNO State detonating, killing only themselves and wounding 7 vigilantes. A Volkswagen Golf dropped off 7 x female PBIEDs and then attempted to ram a checkpoint near MUNA IDP Camp on MAFA-DIKWA Road. Gunmen mounted on motorcycles then attacked with small arms and IEDs. The attack was defeated with 6 enemy killed and no friendly casualties.

The Lake CHAD Basin Commission has donated 15 vehicles and 30 motorcycles to the MNJTF

Gunmen ambushed motorists along MAIDUGURI- BIU Road killing 1 and wounding 6

09 February

The NAF Chief of Training and Operations AVM Ahmed IYA visited 105 Composite Group in MAIDUGURI and stated the NAF is to upgrade and expand facilities at MONGUNO to accommodate helicopters in order to support MNJTF operations

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

14 February

NPF elements of Op Yaki in KADUNA State conducted an intelligence led raid on suspected rustlers in SABON GAYA, CHIKUN LGA recovering over 100 sheep and cattle.

18 February

The leader of the Islamic Movement of NIGERIA (IMN) SOKOTO State Chapter Malam Kasm UMAR held a press conference appealing for the immediate release of Sheikh Ibrahim EL ZAKAKY on health grounds

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

12 February

The Minister of Defence Mansur DAN ALI, stated the MoD would organise a National Conference on Defence Industrialisation to begin production of military equipment

13 February

Security consultant Mike EJIOFOR was released by his captors for an undisclosed ransom

14 February

The Member of the BENUE State House of Assembly for AGATU, Alhaji Sule AUDU apologised to the Army for the murder of the soldier in AGATU LGA on behalf of his constituency

15 February

Farmers from OBUDU LGA, CROSS RIVERS State allegedly destroyed a cassava farm in MBADUKU Village, VANDEIKYA LGA, BENUE State leading to 2 deaths

Elements of 72 Special Forces Bde conducted a cordon and search operation recovering the body of the soldier killed in OWETO, AGATU LGA as well as 2 x AK 47, 2 x SLR, 2 x G3, 4 x locally fabricated pistol, 2 x short barrelled local revolvers, 14 x dane guns, 14 x AK 47 magazines, 3 x SLR magazines, various ammunition types and police and military equipment such as 2 x helmets, 1 x bullet proof vest. Brigade Commander Brig Gen Clement APEERE stated that the Private was shot from behind by a gang of youths who stole his rifle and 2 x magazines of 30 rounds each. Media reports contradicted the Army’s account stating that soldiers have attacked OLEGADAKOLO, IKPELE, OTUGOLOGWU, IWALI, OKPANCHENYI and EGBA Villages in AGATU LGA, killing 6 people and detaining scores of others

The President General of the Ebira Peoples Association in KOGI State stated that there had been an increase in kidnappings, robbery, and other crime in KOGI Central Senatorial zone which he attributed to Islamist criminals

Situation External (Rest of the World)

13 February

US President TRUMP spoke to President BUHARI on the telephone, reportedly stating US readiness to sell military equipment

14 February

A Camerounian military vehicle detonated an IED in the vicinity of KUMSHE, BAMA LGA, BORNO State killing a soldier

16 February

A Camerounian military vehicle driving from GOUZDA VREKET, MAYO TSANAGA Department detonated an IED killing 3 soldiers

Posted in Counter insurgency, Defence, Nigeria Defence, Nigeria Strategy, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to Create an Insurgency: The Southern Camerouns Anglophone Crisis

There is a penchant for governments in general and African governments in particular, to convert relatively easily resolved political grievances into intractable insurgencies.
It would appear that the Camerounian Government has enjoyed the Boko Haram insurgency so much that it wishes to replicate the experience in Southern Cameroun.
In order to understand this issue we will look at the area, the history of this crisis and possible outcomes.
Southern Cameroun- Physical Terrain
Cameroun lies between West and Central Africa, sharing its longest border with Nigeria to the west. Chad and Niger are to the north, with all 3 countries sharing Lake Chad. Central African Republic lies to the east, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and DRC to the south east and the Atlantic Ocean to the south west. It is subdivided into Regions (equivalent of States), which are further sub divided into Departments (equivalent of LGAs) and arrondissements (equivalent of wards).
Southern Cameroun refers to the two English speaking Regions in the South West corner of Cameroun (Nord Ouest and Sud Ouest Regions). They are bordered to the south west by Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom State, to the west by Nigeria’s Cross River and Benue States, to the north west Nigeria’s Taraba State, to the east Cameroun’s Ouest and Littoral Regions and the Atlantic Ocean to the South. The terrain consists of a coastal plain characterised by Mangrove swamps to the west, rising through highlands known as the Cameroun Range (including Mt Cameroun) through densely forested hills of the South Cameroun Plateau to the grassy, rolling hills of the Adamawa Plateau along the Nigeria border. Rivers flow south from the highlands into the Gulf of Guinea.
Nord Ouest Region is divided into 7 Departments with its capital in Bamenda. Sud Ouest Region with its capital Buea at the foot of Mount Cameroun is divided into 6 Departments.

Southern Camerouns- Human Terrain
The Southern Camerouns are populated by Tikari, Widikum, Fulani, Moghamo, Wimbum, Yamba, Nguemba with the Bamileke spread across both Regions as well as Ouest Region.
Other than native languages, English and French, a Camerounian form of pidgin English is spoken mixing French and English. Most are Protestant Christians.
Nigerians form a significant minority with some having lived there for generations; they are mainly Igbo, Efik and Ibibio.
Anglophone refers to peoples from these Regions not necessarily people who speak English, likewise Francophone refers to the rest of Cameroun. Most Camerounians are multilingual.

Southern Camerouns- History
The German colony of Kamerun lasted from 1889 to 1919 when it became a League of Nations Mandate administered by the UK and France under the treaty of Versailles. Some of the heaviest fighting of the First World War in West Africa took place in Cameroun, with the Germans surrendering after a campaign by British, Belgian, French and Nigerian troops. In 1923 British Cameroun divided into Northern and Southern British Camerouns.
British Cameroun was administered from Nigeria with a British Resident in Buea, whilst unskilled and semi skilled migrant labour from Nigeria’s Eastern Region (mainly Igbo’s) led to ethnic frictions. In 1946 the League of Nations Mandate became a United Nations Trusteeship. The 1950 Ibadan General Conference in Nigeria devolved colonial administration to the Regions, with Southern Cameroun becoming two provinces (Bamenda and Buea) in Nigeria’s Eastern Region. 13 Southern Camerounian members were elected to the Eastern Nigerian House of Assembly but left in 1953, citing Nigerian high handedness and tribal disunity. Forming its own parliament in 1954 in Buea, the Southern Cameroons became a self governing autonomous Region with its own Parliament, Executive and Judiciary.
Meanwhile a Marxist Leninist pro independence party, the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC) was formed in April 1947 in Bassa (in present day Littoral Region) agitating for independence from France. Upon being banned in 1955, it developed into a Chinese supported insurgency, which was aggressively suppressed by French forces, whilst British/ Nigerian forces from the Queens Own Nigeria Regiment, blocked the insurgents through aggressive patrolling in the highlands of British Camerouns. The UPC insurgency did not end until 1970 when its leader was captured and shot (they resurrected in 1991 with the return of multi party democracy standing in parliamentary and Presidential elections).
French Cameroun became independent in January 1960 under Ahmadou Ahidjo (a Northern Fulani) and then Nigeria in October 1960. The UN organised a plebiscite to determine the status of British Camerouns presenting them with the option of joining either Nigeria or Cameroun in 1961. The North went to Nigeria becoming part of Nigeria’s Northern Region, whilst the South voted to join the Republic of Cameroun. Prior to unification both Southern and independent Cameroun drafted a new constitution at the Foumban Conference in July 1961, defining Cameroun as a Federal Republic with English and French as the official languages and a high level of autonomy for the Southern Camerouns which became West Cameroun upon unification on 1st October 1961, with its own Prime Minister who was also the Vice President of the Republic.
In September 1966 President Ahidjo created a coalition called the National Camerounian Union (CNU) as the only legal party. After a referendum in 1972, a new constitution was implemented abolishing the Federation and dividing West Cameroun into Nord Ouest and Sud Ouest Regions and East Cameroun into 5 Regions under a unitary system of government and changing the country’s name to the United Republic of Cameroun.
Ahidjo stepped down in 1982 in favour of his Prime Minister Paul Biya (a Beti from Sud Region), but remained head of the CNU. Following 2 coup attempts against Biya, Ahidjo was forced into (and died in) exile. Biya changed the country’s name back to the Republic of Cameroun in 1984, rebranded the CNU as Cameroun People’ Democratic Movement (RPDC/ CPDM) and reluctantly reintroduced multiparty politics in 1990, with the largest opposition party, the Social Democratic Front (SDF) emanating from Bamenda.
The RPDC/ CPDM won the 1992 election and is yet to lose a Presidential election or control of Parliament. Term limits for the President were abolished in 2008 effectively making Biya President for life.
In 1994 clashes between Nigerian and Camerounian troops in the Bakassi Peninsula on the Nigeria/ Cameroun border led to the occupation and militarisation of the area until both sides agreed to UN mediation in 1996, with the court ruling in Cameroun’s favour in 2002, with Nigerian troops finally withdrawing in 2006.
Southern Camerounian Agitation
Complaints of marginalisation grew after the 1972 Constitution removed Anglophone autonomy. In 1984, when Biya renamed the country the Republic of Cameroun, an Anglophone Barrister Gorji Dinka released a document named the ‘New Social Order’, stating that by changing the country’s name French Cameroun had seceded from the union, thus the Southern Camerouns had the right to become an independent country which he named ‘Ambazonia’ after Ambas Bay, where the Mungo River enters the Atlantic, forming a border between Southern Camerouns and the other Cameroun. The document suggested both entities be joined in a confederacy as equal participants. He has been arrested and tried for treason several times.
In April 1993 several Anglophone groups held the First All Anglophone Conference (AAC1) in Buea, resulting in the Buea Declaration which called for the restoration of the 1961 Federation.
The Second All Anglophone Conference (AAC2) in 1994 in Bamenda, issued the Bamenda Declaration; essentially an ultimatum that if the Federation was not restored the former Southern Camerouns would seek independence.
The All Anglophone Conference (AAC) became the Southern Cameroun’s Peoples Conference (SCPC) and then morphed into a coalition of Southern Camerounian movements coordinated by the Southern Camerouns National Conference (SCNC) led initially by Sam Ekontang Elad who was replaced by Henry Fossung in 1996. Several factions within the SCNC existed, with one fconsisting mainly of student groups in Buea the Southern Cameroun’s Youth League (SCYL) led by Ebenezer Akwanga separating in May 1995.
The SCNC petitioned the UN in 1995 on secession and held a series of demonstrations timed to coincide with Cameroun’s ultimately successful application to join the British Commonwealth.
In March 1997 200 SCNC activists were arrested and tried, after SYCL activists attempted to attack security forces in Bamenda, giving the security forces a justification for increased harassment and repression. Leadership squabbles and infighting in 1998, led to two factions forming – one more militant that advocated unilateral independence led by an SDF politician Esoka Ndoki Mukete and the more conservative faction by Henry Fossung, seeking autonomy through negotiation and agitation, whilst this was going on the Bamenda treason trials concluded in October 1999, with many members convicted (despite allegations of torture and coercion by local and international NGOs)
On 30 December 1999 armed members of Muteke’s faction took over Buea radio station, broadcasting a proclamation of independence leading to multiple arrests and renewed persecution.
The leadership tussle was resolved in 2000, when Frederick Alobwede Ebong was elected leader. The group was declared illegal by the government in 2001, greatly increasing persecution and repression with 3 people killed in demonstrations.
In 2003 the SCNC filed a complaint against Cameroun with the African commission of Human rights and boycotted parliamentary and Presidential elections.
The Ambazonian Liberation Party was formed in 2004 in the USA, in 2006 the Southern Camerouns Peoples Party unilaterally declared the Republic of Ambazonia independent including the Bakassi Peninsula. Fighting in the peninsula between Nigerian and Camerounian forces died down but was replaced by bandit attacks on both forces. In 2007 the Southern Camerouns Peoples Organisation (SCAPO), which claimed an attack on the Camerounian military in Bakassi in 2007.
The AU rejected the SCNC’s petition in 2009 and agitation reduced slightly to mainly diaspora groups.

Current Anglophone Crisis
The current crisis emanated from concerns by Anglophone lawyers that the Common Law inherited from Britain was being side lined by the use of French language and French legal codes in courts as well as concerns that most Magistrates mainly trained in French legal codes adjudicated cases in Anglophone areas where English Common Law is used. After having their concerns ignored for 2 years a meeting of Lawyers associations from Nord Ouest and Sud Ouest Regions decided to go on strike from court and form an umbrella body called the Camerounian Common Law Lawyers Association in Bamenda in November 2016. Protests in Buea and Limbe in Sud Ouest and Bamenda in Nord Ouest on the 8th of November were confronted by police, gendarmes and BIR and dispersed with force and tear gas.
Solidarity strikes by teachers and students on 21st November, nicknamed ‘Ghost Towns’ organised mainly through Facebook and WhatsApp social media platforms, led to shutdowns and demonstrations in whichover 100 were arrested and at least 1 killed.
Activists from the lawyers, teachers, driver unions and other civil society groups formed the Cameroun Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC) in Bamenda in December 2016 led by Barrister Nkongho Agbor Balla that same month another 4 people were killed during demonstrations in Bamenda. President Biya blamed the deaths on extremist rioters during his New Year’s Eve address to the nation.
On 9th January the CACSC along with commercial vehicle and motorcycle drivers resumed ‘Ghost Town operations’, shutting down not just courts but schools, markets and transport.
The Camerounian Government responded on the 16th January with the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications warning people about ‘spreading false information’ and text messages with the same warning were sent to some mobile phone subscribers warning of jail terms and fines.
The next day, 17th January the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation banned the CACSC and SCNC and the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications shut down the internet to the 2 Anglophone Regions and the secret police (SED) arrested several activist leaders including the Attorney General for Sud Ouest Region; Judge Sokem Ngale Mborh, the Chairman of the CACSC; Nkongho Agbor Balla, Deputy Attorney General and head of the Popular Action Party Judge Ayah Paul Abine, CACSC leader Dr Fontem Neba, a local radio host (from Abakwa FM) Mancho Bibixy and Mr Penn a member of the teachers union charging them with 8 offences under the 2014new anti-terrorism law (promulgated to deal with Boko Haram).
On 10th February 2 were killed and 10 wounded by the police in Ndop during a demonstration outside a police station, 3 days, on 13th February later the treason trial of detained began in Yaounde, in which the accused were represented by human rights lawyer Alice Nkom new head of Cameroun Anglophone Civil Society Consortium and was adjourned to 23rd March.
This situation has several elements which inform comment;
Identity: the complexity of the situation in Cameroun is that Anglophones in Cameroun identify not necessarily by tribe but by their colonial/ linguistic heritage, thus certain tribes such as the Bamileke are spread across both Anglophone and Francophone parts of Cameroun, others such as the Widikum are only in Anglophone areas. Religion the other common identifier does not necessarily come into play as Francophones include Christians and Muslims.
However identity and ethnic politics in Cameroun exists, with not just divisions of tribe, North/ South, Muslim/ Christian, Anglophone/ Francophone, much of which is exacerbated by political history.
Ahidjo (a northern Francophone Fulani) handed over to Biya (a southern Francophone Beti), thinking he would be a malleable figurehead although once Biya had settled in he rapidly disabused him of that notion by replacing many mainly Northern Ahidjo loyalists with Southerners.
It is surmised that the first coup preceding Ahidjo’s exile was engineered by Northern officers to return Ahidjo to power (or was engineered by Beti officers to provide an excuse to purge Northern officers). The second coup launched by the Republican Guard (commanded by a Northerner) after Biya fired the Prime Minister and Armed Forces Minister (both Northerners) and tried Ahidjo in absentia for the first coup. The failure of this coup allowed Biya to purge Northerners from key military and government roles disband the Republican Guard and form the Presidential Guard allegedly manned mainly with Biya’s Beti tribesmen. Despite (or because of) this history Biya has been careful to appoint Ministers and officials from the North including the current Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Communications etc.
However as is typical in these situations, many tribes and Regions complain of exclusion (particularly the Anglophones) and northern discontent especially over lack of development and Boko Haram has become a motivating factor for sectional politicians.
Bakassi: the border conflict in the Bakassi Peninsula saw this area become heavily militarised, with an attendant increase in bandits and pirates who were wont to collect protection money from local fishermen and oil companies. Once Nigerian forces withdrew these bandits and armed groups began Niger Delta style attacks on Camerounian forces and infrastructure under a plethora of different groups such as the Bakassi Freedom Fighters, Liberators of the South Camerouns People, Africa Marine Commando and Bakassi Strike Force.
Some of these groups (which might be the same or different) have gone quiet, others such as the Bakassi Strike Force have recently engaged in talks with the Nigerian government seeking an amnesty. However the increase in oil prices, remilitarisation of the Niger Delta and renewed attention to the region could act as a spur to the numerous jobless, armed youth to restart an armed campaign of abductions, piracy, hijackings and thefts in the name of Southern Camerounian autonomy or Bakassi freedom. With Camerouns most competent forces fully engaged in the north, whilst others in the East seeking to prevent spill over from the Central African Republic’s chaos and others engaged in containing demonstrations in Southern Cameroun, Camerounian forces would be overstretched, leading to a loss of control.

Elite/ Grassroots: the separatist movement has been very much elite driven, with lawyers driving much of the agitation. This is an interesting factor that could indicate agitation is as much a vehicle for inclusion in patronage networks as it is a genuine political grievance. The corollary is that the persistent lack of concession has made ‘Anglophone marginalisation’ part of the Southern Camerounian conventional wisdom. Allowing an elite agitation to be easily relatable to the masses. This has been greatly helped by the repression which has seen the elites and common men arrested, killed and wounded by the state, allowing the separatists leaders to easily craft an ‘us and them’ narrative. As the trajectory of the crisis has shown, whilst the older more established activists have maintained a gradualist approach of agitation and petitions, younger activists such as students have attempted armed action. It could be argued that as the movement grows from being argument based and elite driven to an emotional mass movement, there are risks of increased and uncontrolled violence from both sides.
Governance: the failure of the Camerounian Government to respond to the concerns of the Anglophone lawyers turned a complaint into an insurrection. Common complaints about lack of development such as roads, employment etc aggravate these issues.
Politics: Although Anglophone politicians dominate the main opposition parties, Biya does not seem in danger of losing control of the Presidency or Parliament. Despite wide scale irregularities in the first multiparty elections in 1992, Biya still only received 40% of the vote to the 36% of the SDFs John Fru Ndi. The margin improved spectacularly to 92.57% in 1997 when the main opposition parties SDF, UNDP (a Northern party) and UDC boycotted the vote, whilst CPDM/ RDPC took 109 Parliamentary seats and the opposition 54 (43 of which were the SDF).
In 2004 Biya received 70.9% of the Votes, with SDF’s Ndi receiving 17.45% after refusing to support an opposition coalition with the UDC who got 4.5% of the vote.
In 2007 Parliamentary elections CPDM/ RPDC won 153 seats, the SDF 16 and others 11. In the 2011 Presidential election Biya got 77.99%, Ndi 10.71%, with UNDP pushed into 4th place at 1.73% by the ADD.
The irony is that the first and closest election was held under the auspices of the Ministry of Territorial Administration (whose Minister is appointed by the President), whilst subsequent ones have been held under a nominally independent electoral body, indicating that Biya has mastered the art of ‘winning’ elections, taking full advantage of the power of incumbency, as well as using the resources of the state to manipulate the vote and the disorganised and factionalised opposition.
A year from the 2018 Presidential election it could either be a wise or foolish move to neutralise senior opposition politicians by jailing or co-opting them. While it could make the prospective CPDM/ RPDC election victory easier it could also clear the way for younger more dynamic politicians not bound by the baggage of past elections, who are willing to form the necessary coalition to defeat CPDM/ RPDC (as happened in Nigeria with the APC coalition against the PDP incumbent).
International relations: Cameroun occupies a niche in which it is neither strategically important nor ideologically polarising to anybody. Most international awareness revolves around its football team and makossa music.
Biya’s elongated tenure has not been characterised by overt Mobutu style ostentation (beyond his wife’s hair, his prolonged stays in Paris and Geneva and reported $200m fortune) or excessive brutality, thus there is very little regional or international opprobrium for his rule. In fact the good showing of Camerounian forces against Boko Haram has earned Biya a semblance of international regard and credibility, with a US UAV base in Garoua as well as France and the US gifting equipment and providing training and other support.
The involvement of BIR, Gendarmes and the military in containing the Anglophone crisis means they could fall foul of the US Leahy Act, which precludes assistance to specific units or personnel involved in human rights abuses (although the internet outage appears to be getting more international attention than the killings of demonstrators), which could shut off equipment, intelligence and training to BIR, the Gendarmes and other Camerounian forces if they are implicated in abuses.
Repression against a nonviolent, minority undoes would generate international outrage and condemnation by NGOs such as Amnesty International which could cause Biya to come under pressure not to contest the 2018 Presidential election opening Camerounian politics up to either a succession battle or a Mugabe style, ‘sit tight’ campaign.
Nigeria: whilst there are many similarities between Anglophone and neo Biafran agitation, there are also important caveats. Both countries have active separatist movements with a conservative element (SCNC in Cameroun and MASSOB in Nigeria) who and a radical element (IPOB in Nigeria and SYCL, SCAPO and Bakassi militants in Cameroun),the background to the crisis is different.
The bloody history of the Nigerian pogroms and civil war add not just an extra element of bitterness to neo Biafran agitation but also a powerful brake on a rush to violence. No such historical motivator or demotivator exists in Cameroun. Likewise tribal and religious differences in Nigeria act as crisis multipliers whilst in Cameroun, tribe and religion are not necessarily key factors.
A key similarity with Biafra would be the lack of support from its larger neighbour; the Anglophones are unlikely to see any form of support from Nigeria, which would not seek to encourage separatism or secession in a neighbour, particularly in a region adjacent to its own restive Niger Delta and old Eastern Region.
One radical scenario see’s Nigeria manipulating the crisis to recover the Bakassi Peninsula, either by supporting the separatists or the Camerounian government in return for a renegotiation of the status of the area would be an interesting move, however it appears there is little appetite for such an action, nor would the benefits outweigh the fears of Nigerian separatism.
Potential Effects
The incidents of the past few months have tended to strengthen rather than dampen Anglophone agitation, the clearly repressive actions of using police, gendarmes and troops to suppress demonstrations, deaths of protestors and the cutting of communications will increase the resolve of activists and radicalise many previously apathetic Anglophones.
This could have several effects
Political: opposition to Biya could form a coalition from all Regions coalescing around a unity candidate, with activists highly motivated to resist repression and election tampering in order to vote Biya out. Factions within his own party could also see an opportunity to increase their popularity and chances by joining the opposition. As was seen in Nigeria, an entrenched political system facing genuine electoral challenges uses either repression or patronage to ensure support, further draining the country’s economy and diverting strategic attention from the issues of the economy, development and security etc. If Biya wins (as is likely) there could be unrest as the opposition refuses to accept the results leading to further repression and instability, which could target Camerouns key export-oil.

Insurgency: the militant wings of the Anglophones could begin a campaign of violence in the same vein as the Niger Delta militants. An increase in attacks in Bakassi and on Camerounian infrastructure would be an easy step. Cameroun’s only oil refinery is in Limbe, Sud Ouest Region in the Anglophone area as are various oil facilities in Bakassi that could be prey to the type of attacks perfected in the Niger Delta, from where there would be no shortage of experts willing to lend their expertise to Camerounian militants.
External and Internal Security: whilst Cameroun is generally stable, its location between Central and West Africa puts it between Nigeria, Chad and Central African Republic.
The spill over from Nigeria includes Boko Haram in the north and Bakassi militants in the south. Camerounians have just about held the line in the north with the help of Chadians and by effectively ignoring some Boko Haram activities. The main work force has been BIR who are also heavily deployed in the Bakassi area. Whilst this well trained and well equipped unit has fought well it is relatively small and cannot hope to sustain the tempo of operations indefinitely.
Also to be considered is an underreported armed presence on the Adamaoua Plateau, armed bandits have stolen cattle, raided villages and recently attacked a UN Border Demarcation Team. It is unclear if these are Boko Haram, coupers des routes, cattle rustlers, armed bandits or another unknown group but it is clear that this area is rapidly becoming an ungoverned space. To the north is Chad where cooperation over Boko Haram overshadows the problems that Deby’s regime has with its various rebel groups. Central African Republics breakdown of government has pushed refugees across the border, with armed attacks against Camerounian units and government facilities in the area. All these internal and external security issues mean that the Camerounian military, which for years was a sleepy profession, is heavily deployed and committed and taking up a larger proportion of the budget, a further breakdown in public order or an insurgency in the Southern Camerouns, could catastrophically overstretch Camerouns forces.
The complaints of the Anglophone Camerounians are fairly basic and can be ameliorated without threatening the basic existence of Cameroun.
A return to the Foumban structure is not even necessary, simple concessions such as English language and qualifications in Anglophone areas, unifying the French and British legacy legal codes to create a compatible Camerounian system and ensuring adequate representation of Anglophones in national appointments would take the sting out of the crisis and preserve not just Cameroun as an entity but Biya’s regime.
It is however unclear if these easy solutions would be palatable to an entrenched ruler like Biya for whom any indication of weakness could trigger a succession or replacement battle and threaten not just his rule but that of his tribe and wider patronage network.
The situation bears close scrutiny by Nigeria, ECOWAS and the AU as what started as a demonstration by lawyers could turn into a transnational conflict, with effects not just on the population and economy of Cameroun and Nigeria but the international oil market.

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Situation North East (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States)

05 February

Gunmen mounted in up to 5 pick up trucks and 8motorcycles attacked military positions in SASAWA, DAMATURU LGA, YOBE State 27km north of DAMATURU with small arms and IEDs around 6.00pm and then attacked the town burning houses. 3 vehicles were reported captured

6 gunmen on 3 x motorcycles entered LUMAMARI Village, YUNUSARI LGA, YOBE State 25km from KANAMA around 1.30pm but departed without harming anyone or damaging any property

06 February

The NSCDC BORNO State Command stated that 75 personnel had been killed and 15 in 2016, in attacks in GWOZA and GAMBORU NGALA and would deploy 500 additional personnel including 100 in DIKWA, 30 in MONGUNO, 20 in ASKIRA UBA

Troops patrolling the NGOSHE-BOKKOHIDE-PULKA Road detonated an IED around 8.25am destroying 1 x Nissan truck, killing 1 soldier and wounding 4 others. 3 x AK 47s were damaged

07 February

Troops cleared CHONGOLO GANA, BAMA LGA, BORNO State killing 13 and capturing unspecified type and quantity of arms and ammunition, 2 x vehicles, 5 x motorcycle and 9 bicycles were captured, troops then cleared NGAWUMARI, BULABURE, SIRAJA and ZAYE NGUSA Village 5 women and 15 children suspected to be Boko Haram families from MODUN AZAREM Village were intercepted en route to SIRAJA

2 x female PBIEDs were challenged by an Army/ CJTF patrol around 7.10am behind NNPC Mega Filling Station on MAIDUGURI-DAMBOA Road, MAIDUGURI, BORNO State. They fled towards a queue of vehicles waiting to buy fuel. One dropped her device and surrendered, which was later made safe by NPF EOD, the second fled further from the station and was shot and killed

09 February

Gunmen attacked KAUTIKERI Village, CHIBOK LGA, BORNO State killing 1 person and moving to a nearby village of KAUMUTAIYAHI, abducting a 7 year old boy and looting food stores and then burning the village

The ADAMAWA State Governor Mohammed JIBRILLA stated that the 3 formal IDP camps in MALKOHI, FUFORE and DAMARE would be shut in March 2017

Gunmen ambushed a convoy carrying troops of approximately company strength mounted in trucks and 6 x buses conducting a relief in place with troops in DIKWA along the MAIDUGURI-AJIRIN-DIKWA Road in the vicinity of AJIRIN, MAFA LGA, BORNO State around 7.30pm killing 8, wounding 18 with 3 missing including a female soldier. The troops who were reportedly fresh from the Army Depo in ZARIA fought through the ambush, until reinforced by air and ground forces who inflicted casualties and recovered 1 x AK 47. The enemy reportedly captured 1 x Canter truck, 7 x AK 47, a mine detector and other equipment.

10 February

Gunmen attacked DUNKWA DURI Village, ASKIRA UBA LGA, BORNO State around 9.00pm defeating local hunters killing at least one man and displacing villagers to WAMDEO Village near UBA Town. The attackers looted foodstuffs and burnt the town

Troops based in BARA, GULANI LGA, YOBE State conducted a fighting patrol to NJIBULWA Village, GULANI LGA found and destroyed 301 x motorcycles around 6.20am

11 February

Gunmen mounted in trucks and motorcycles attacked MUSSA Village, ASKIRA UBA LGA, BORNO State with small arms and IEDs killing 3, abducting 2 females and burning several buildings.

Kidnappers abducted a 15 year old theology student after he entered a commercial vehicle at BORNO Express Junction, MAIDUGURI, BORNO State, after drugging him, he was released in the vicinity of NJIMTILO, where he was found by the NSCDC, who assessed the kidnappers released him after failing to get through checkpoints.

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

10 February

Suspected nomadic gunmen ambushed a group of community leaders on a peace mission from the District Head in RUKUMAWA TSAFE LGA, ZAMFARA State killing 8

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

06 February

Up to 10 gunmen waylaid a bus travelling from ABUJA to ONITSHA, ANAMBRA State in the vicinity of OCHOZE Village, OKENE LGA, KOGI State along OKENE-AUCHI Road around 6.30am abducting 6 passengers

The NIGER State Police Command stated it had arrested 195 suspects in January 2017 including kidnappers and cattle rustlers and had captured 5 x AK 47 648 x rounds of ammunition (type unspecified), 21 x single barrel firearms, 248 x shotgun cartridges, 1 x improvised ‘revolver rifle’, 5 x improvised ‘revolver shotguns’, 6 x ‘Ghana made firearms’ , 1 x locally made improvised firearm, 9 x dane guns and an assortment of bladed weapons and bow and arrows and recovered 612 cattle

The OKENE LGA Administrator Abdulrazaq MUHAMMAD imposed a curfew on OKENE and its surroundings, with Okada riders restricted to operating between 6.00am to 6.00pm, people and goods between 6.00am and 8.00pm curfew and hotels and beer parlours between 6.00am and 6.00pm

08 February

The AIG of the NPF Force Animal Branch stated that general purpose and sniffer K9 dogs would be deployed to various locations around ABUJA, FCT such as the Airport, National Assembly, National Defence College, Federal Secretariat etc

Approximately 8 gunmen abducted a male and a female lecturer from the Staff Quarters at TARABA State Polytechnic, SUNTAI, BALI LGA. The kidnappers later contacted the family requesting N2m each

09 February

A search party consisting of vigilantes and TARABA State Polytechnic staff fund the body of the male lecturer Sani JADA in the bush

Suspected Fulani herdsmen reportedly shot a man on his cashew farm at EGBOLO, IGALAMELA-ODOLU LGA, KOGI State.

10 February

A man Hayatudeen AMOTO has been charged before the Chief Magistrates Court, LOKOJA, KOGI State with the bombing of a radio station Tao 109 FM in KUROKO, OKENE LGA, KOGIS State in April 2015 which led to the deaths of 4 people. The accused and one other Yusuf ABDULQUDUS were accused of plotting the attack and sending a threatening text message to the radio station. He was remanded in custody

Approximately 10 gunmen mounted in 2 cars attacked a police station in EIKA, OKEHI LGA, KOGI State around 1.00am killing 2 policemen and a detainee and then burning the station, they then attacked the home of EIKA Community Development Association and killed him

The MINISTER OF Information and Culture Lai MOHAMMED stated a KOGI State Islamic fundamentalist group named the Muslim Bother hood was seeking to attack banks, arms depots and prison and had been acquiring IED components such as sodium azide (?) potassium chlorate and aluminium powder. The Minister stated a trainee IED maker named USMAN had left to join Daesh in LIBYA and might have returned and that they were seeking to purchase small arms and free their members detained in KOGI, ABUJA and KADUNA

Suspected Fulani gunmen abducted a former DSS Director and Security Consultant Mike EJIOFOR and his driver in between OKENE, OKENE LGA and OBAJANA, LOKOJA LGA, KOGI State, around 2.00pm they reportedly took him into the bush, stole his belongings and demanded a ransom of N30m

11 February

Soldiers deployed to OWETO Bridge on the NASARAWA- BENUE STATE Border reportedly intervened in a funeral in OLEIGADA IKOLO Village, AGATU LGA, BENUE State upon hearing ceremonial gunshots and attempted to confiscate the weapon from local youths. The resulting altercation led to 1 soldier killed and 2 wounded and their weapons being stolen

Villagers from EGBOLO, reportedly murdered a Fulani man in retaliation for the murder of a local farmer by herdsmen 2 days earlier

Situation External (Rest of the World)

05 February

Gunmen engaged Camerounian forces at night in the vicinity of GAKARA, MAYO SAVA Department, EXTREME NORD Region wounding 6 soldiers

08 February

The Brazilian Government has approved the sale of 3 x pre owned Super Tucano A-29 to the NAF by the Brazil Embraer Defence and Security Ltd.

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