Situation North East (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States)

24 April

3 x female PBIED attempting to infiltrate MAIDUGURI via MAMANTI Village, JERE LGA, BORNO State were intercepted by vigilantes around 5.10am one detonated and the other 2 were shot as they fled. Their devices were made safe by EOD

A male PBIED with his device hidden in a cart detonated in MAINARI KANURI Village, JERE LGA, BORNO State along DAMBOA-BIU Road around 7.30am killing himself and 3 civilians and wounding 2 other civilians

26 April

A male PBIED detonated in MALAKALERRI Area, MUNA Garage, MAFA LGA, BORNO State around 4.18am killing a CJTF vigilante, injuring another as well as 5 women. A female PBIED then detonated around 4.25am at Dynamic near Alkmi Clinic, along GAMBORU NGALA Road. Another female PBIED detonated in the vicinity of an unofficial IDP camp in MUNA ETHIOPIA wounding 5 people

A female PBIED detonated near an IDP camp in MUNA Garage around 4.20am, a second female PBIEED detonated nearby in MUNA KUWAIT. A male PBIED then detonated 20 minutes later in USUMANTI killing an CJTF vigilante who stopped him for questioning

27 April

Gunmen mounted on trucks attacked 21 Bde positions in SAMBISA Forest with VBIEDs, AAA guns, small arms and mortars. The attack was defeated with 15 enemy killed, 1 x truck mounted VBIED destroyed, 1 x Buffalo truck mounted with ZSU 23mm AAA gun, 2 x GPMG, 1 x PKM, 60mm mortars, 3 x AK 47, 2 x FN FAL, 1 x G3, 5 x 60mm mortar rounds and chargers, Type 36 HE grenade, 12 x rifle magazines, 750 x 7.62mm (NATO), 106 x 23mm rounds, 1 x 12volt battery, 3 x Automatic Grenade launchers and a 23mm Shilka feed tray

A suspected ISWAP Boko Haram, VBIED detonated against an armoured vehicle, amongst a military convoy conducting clearance operations in BORNO and YOBE States, that was heading to DAMBOA at MANGUZUM Village, BORNO State around 11.00am killing 5 soldiers and wounding 40 and damaging the armoured vehicle.

The BORNO State Police Command stated it had in its possession 370x cows and 157 x goats and sheep recovered from Boko Haram by 8 TF Div.

28 April

NAF ISR spotted a suspected enemy artillery piece concealed under a tree in daylight in the SAMBISA Forest and tasked an Alphajet and F 7Ni FGA, which attacked the target with rockets and cannon fire


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

22 April

KANO State Police Command arrested 5 male and 7 female suspects in MAIDILE Quarter following a tip off, recovering 3 x knives, 2 x scissors, 3 x solar panels, drugs, 1 x motorcycle , an unspecified quantity of cannabis, cough syrup and sticks. The suspects are alleged to have been attacking residents of GANDU, TUKUNTAWA, JA’OJI, UNGUWAR GEZA, SABUWAR MANDAWARI, TUDUN MALIKI and SHAGARI Quarters, KOMBUTSO LG through extortion, robbery and other acts

24 April

GOMBE State NDLEA Command stated it had arrested 32 suspected drug traffickers in the first quarter of 2017, seizing 39.908kg of narcotics and psychotropic substances

27 April

Anti El ZAKZAKY protestors demonstrated in front of Government House, KADUNA, KADUNA State, where they were dispersed by the police with tear gas

28 April

The DSS arrested 7 suspected kidnappers in, ZANGON ARAB, SABON BIRNI LGA, SOKOTO State who allegedly abducted a man from TOLAKA Village, GORONYO LGA, SOKOTO State who was released following a ransom of N1m

Suspected nomadic gunmen attacked TSE WUASWEM, GUMA LGA, BENUE State around 10.30pm with bladed weapons killing 3 people and looting the village. 6 herdsmen have been arrested.

Situation External (Rest of the World)

24 April

A Camerounian MNJTF military vehicle detonated an IED in the vicinity of HOMEKA and BLADOLE, MORE Arrondissement, MAYO SAVA Department, EXTREME NORD Region killing 3 and wounding 5

US AFRICOM hosted Exercise Unified Focus a 5 day exercise in YAOUNDE. CAMEROUN consisting of 100 field grade officers, civilian officials and NGO representatives conducting a table top exercise on countering Boko Haram and other groups in the Lake CHAD Basin crisis at the operational level through 5 scenarios

A Camerounian military tribunal in YAOUNDE, CAMEROUN sentenced RFI correspondent Ahmed ABBA to 10 years in prison for ‘failing to denounce acts of terrorism’ and fined 55m CFA Francs or 5 years in jail for ‘laundering the proceeds of terrorist act’. He was also barred from speaking to the press

A UN official stated that funds for humanitarian relief in NIGERIA could run out by June if pledges from the Donor Conference in February are not redeemed. NGOs sate that only 19% of the funds for NIGERIA have been received, 23% for CAMEROUN, 4% for CHAD and 47% for NIGER Republic. $457m was pledged at the conference

26 April

Gunmen engaged vigilantes in the vicinity of ACHIGACHIA, LOGONE ET CHARI Department killing 4 vigilantes

28 April

Gunmen engaged Camerounian forces in NDABA, KOLOFATA Arrondissement, MAYO SAVA Department. 1 civilian was killed, 35 civilians and 7 BIR soldiers wounded. Several enemy reported killed

PBIED detonated in TCHAKARMARI, MAYO SAVA Department, killing himself and wounding 1 x civilian

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Situation North East (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States)

14 April

The NSCDC have arrested two female teenagers in MAIDUGURI, BORNO State reportedly heading towards KANGARWA Camp from the SAMBISA Forest. One of them Fatima KABIR who claimed to be 15 years old and was abducted from GWOZA 3 years ago was 4 months pregnant and HIV positive and claimed to be Mamman NURs ex ‘wife’, until he divorced her and she ‘married’ 2 other Boko Haram members. The other girl 14 year old Amina SALISU also claimed to also have been married to 2 Boko Haram commanders they both claimed to have been fleeing SAMBISA Forest after being abandoned

16 April

An IED detonated near a bridge in WULLE Village, GUJBA LGA, YOBE State 10km east of BUNI YADI detonated under a CJTF Vigilante vehicle killing 1 and wounding 7, as they responded to a call for help after insurgents allegedly stole a vehicle from the village

17 April

Elements of 3 Bn, 22 Bde supported by 10 x CJTF vigilantes conducted a strike op against the enemy in the vicinity of JARAWA, KALA BALGA LGA, BORNO State. They came under contact in JARAWA Village, which they cleared continuing their advance through DEIMA, ARTANO. SADUGUMA, DUVE, BARDOO, KALA, BOK, MSHERDE and AHIRDE Villages, killing 21 enemy and recuing 1623 hostages as well as capturing 3 x AK47s, 1 x Type 36 HE hand grenade, 12 x cutlasses and 4 x motorcycles. The IDPs have been placed in RANN Camp. There were no friendly casualties

Approximately 200 gunmen reportedly from ISWAP mounted on motorcycles and 5 x pickups mounted with AAA guns attacked a FOB in SABON GARIN KIMBA, DAMBOA LGA, BORNO State around 6.00pm. The base was overrun after an hour long firefight with 5 soldiers killed, 9 wounded and 4 missing. 3 vehicles were destroyed, sheds burnt, food, and ammunition were looted. An armoured counter attack by 25 Bde retook the base however the enemy captured 3 x Steyr APC, 1 x pickup with AAA guns, 9 x self propelled (??) guns, 16 x AK 47, 1 x HF radio, 2 x RPG rounds, 2 x 60mm mortars as well as ammunition and medical supplies.

18 April

Elements of 192 Bn, 26 TF Bde conducted clearance operations towards DISSA and PATAWE, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State, killing 6 enemy and capturing 1 x AK 47, 1 x AK 47 magazine, 9 x 7.62mm (AK), 22 x 7.62mm (NATO), 3 x bicycles, 3 x bags of groundnut and N29, 040.00.

19 April

82 Div Task Force Bn attached 26 TF Bde ambushed suspected Boko Haram suppliers at a crossing point in the vicinity of DAUSHE Village, BORNO State capturing a bag of sorghum and a basket of provisions and a wounded a woman with gunshot wounds.

82 Div TF Bn conducting an admin patrol towards NGOSHE-BOKKOTINTA-PULKA, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State came under a small arms and IED ambush around 8.45am losing 3 soldiers and 2 wounded and 1 x gun truck, 1 x mine detector and 4 x AK 47 rifles

The NSCDC has arrested a suspected Boko Haram member named Amos HASSAN in the Federal Housing Estate in BAJABURE, YOLA, ADAMAWA State. 25 year old HASSAN is reportedly from AZARE, BAUCHI State and claimed to have killed 10 people since joining Boko Haram

BORNO SEMA stated that 30,000 refugees had returned from CAMEROUN and were being camped in BAMA, BANKI LGA

21 April

Gunmen attacked elements of 28 TF Bde in MADAGALI, MADAGALI LGA, ADAMAWA State, the attacks were defeated. 3 Chadians were captured.

Gunmen attacked LIMAN KARA, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State, casualties and outcome unknown

The Country Representative of Global Amnesty Watch Helen ADESOLA alleged that 55 people died in GIWA Barracks, MAIDUGURI, BORNO State from overheating and dehydration.

GOC 7 Div Brig Gen V.O. EZUGWU visited troops at SABON GARI, DAMBOA LGA following the base being overrun on 17 April and MODUPE, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State

22 April

A convoy escorting GOC 7 Div, Brig Gen EZUGWU and the Chief of Administration (Army) Maj Gen I.M. ALKALI visiting elements of 26 TF Bde encountered 4 x IED around 10.00am on the BAMA-GWOZA Road at the BANJO Junction- PULKA Road crossing point, 6km from FIRGI, BAMA LGA, BORNO State. The devices were made safe by their EOD team

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

15 April

The coordinator of Op Yaki in KADUNA State, paraded 200 cows and sheep recovered in the forest by BURUKU Village, BIRNIN GWARI LGA, KADUNA State from suspected cattle rustlers by elements of the Army, NAF, NSCDC and NPF on Op Yaki

Gunmen attacked ASSO Village, GWOM Chiefdom, JEMA’A LGA, KADUNA State around 6.00pm killing 12 people and wounded 3 shortly after a reconciliation meeting between locals and Fulani herdsmen

18 April

IMN members held a rally to demand the release of their leader Sheikh Ibraheem EL ZAKZAKY, marching from Nnamdi Azikiwe Western Bypass to Bakinruwa Junction. Police allegedly opened fire at the Junction wounding a female protestor

20 April

Gunmen attacked a farm on the outskirts of GANDI Village, RABAH LGA, SOKOTO State killing an APC politician/  businessman and his 12 year old son around 2.00am. Nothing was taken

22 April

Elements of 1 Div on Op Harbin Kunama 2 conducted cordon and search operations in GWASKA, DANGOMA, ANGWAN FAR and BAKIN KOGI in Southern KADUNA State recovering 73 x dane guns, 4 x locally made rifles, 1 x locally made fire arm, 1 x locally made pistol, 260 x shotgun cartridges, 14 x 7.62mm (AK) rounds, 63 x 9mm rounds, 1 x locally made SMG magazine, 1 pair of military style boots and improvised ammunition and pyrotechnics

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

18 April

The NIGER State Police Command has deployed 800 personnel from the Intelligence Unit, MOPOL, SARS and Anti Kidnapping squad to SULEJA, TAFA, GURARA and LAPAI LGA’S to combat kidnappers and armed robbers, commanded from LAMBATA, GURARA LGA

NAF Technical Intelligence Teams, Guards Bde K9 Teams and NPF EOD conducted security checks on NNAMDI AZIKIWE International Airport in a preparation for its official reopening

19 April

BAUCHI State Police state they arrested a suspected Boko Haram member Muhammad A. NAFIU in TAMA Village, TORO LGA, BAUCHI State. 25 year old NAFIU from BALANGA LGA, GOMBE State was Nos 176 on the Army wanted list allegedly fled from SAMBISA Forest and reportedly claims to have killed over 150 people in BAGA LGA, BORNO State

Suspected nomadic gunmen attacked TSE IGBA UKE and ALIADE Villages, GWER LGA, BENUE State near IKPAYONGO killing 2 people and wounding 1 other, after unknown persons allegedly attacked their cattle

Senator David UMARU held a press conference in which he alleged armed robbers and kidnapers had ‘taken over’ LAMBATTA Town, GURARA LGA, NIGER State, with 7 alleged abductions in the last week. He stated that ransoms of N2m-N3m were demanded, with anyone travelling the LAMBATTA-SULEJA Road between 6.00pm and 5.00m liable to attack

20 April

Tiv youths mounted a roadblock along MAKURDI-OTURKPO Road near IKPAYONGO, BENUE State to protest the killings at TSE IGBA UKE Village, police eventually dispersed them with 3 people killed

21 April

The NPF paraded 19 alleged members of Terwase AKWAZA’s (aka GANA) gang at Police HQ, ABUJA, FCT and declared AKWAZA wanted on charges of murder, destruction of property, kidnapping, armed robbery, culpable homicide, mischief by fire, criminal conspiracy and other crimes. They announced a N10m as a reward

Gunmen attacked two homes in OKENE, OKENE LGA, KOGI State around 8.00pm killing 2 people in an apparent assassination.

The NAF held a firepower demonstration as part of their 53rd Anniversary celebrations, firing locally made 30mm surface to air rockets from a testbed mounted on a Toyota Hilux at KWENEV Air Range, BENUE State. F-7Ni , Agusta A 109, L-39ZA an Alphajets also conducted weapons displays

As part of Op Harbin Kunama 2 the Army opened a Health Facility in UNGUWAR RIMI BAJJU, ZANGON KATAF LGA and a solar powered borehole in DANGOMA, JEMA’A LGA in PLATEAU State

22 April

14 Army, NAF and NN personnel graduated from the inaugural batch of the Armed Forces Electrical and Mechanical Engineering School (AFEME) Mechatronic School, Mogadishu Cantonment, ABUJA, FCT which was commissioned by the German and Nigerian Ministries of Defence on 27 May 2015

Gunmen attacked the home of the OKEHI LGA administrator Abdulraheem OHIARE in NAGAZI, XXX LGA, KOGI State around 2.30am but were repelled by MOPOL on guard duty

The NAF inducted 2 x new Mi 35 AH into service as part of the services 53rd Anniversary at NAF MAKURDI. 10 more are due to be delivered by 2018. As part of the celebrations the NAF Special Operations Command received their Colours and 6 pilots received their wings (4 trained at the International Helicopter Flying School, ENUGU and 2 at the King HUSSAIN Air College, JORDAN)

Situation External (Rest of the World)

18 April

Gunmen attacked MBERECHE, MAYO SAVA Department, EXTREME NORD Region near LIMANI at night killing 1 person and abducting 3 girls

19 April

A PBIED pushing a bicycle with an IED concealed in a mattress detonated at a checkpoint in KOLOFATA, MAYO SAVA Department, EXTREME NORD Region killing 3 other people including a gendarme

20 April

A Military Court in YAOUNDE, CAMEROUN convicted RFI journalist Ahmed ABBA on charges of ‘non-denunciation of terrorism’ and ‘laundering the proceeds of terrorist acts’ who was accused of complicity with Boko Haram.

Commander MNJTF Maj Gen Lamidi ADEOSUN, commander US AFRICOM Gen Thomas WALDHAUSER and commander AMISOM Lt Gen Osman Noor SOUBAGLEH held a telephone press conference with journalists in the US Consulate in LAGOS, LAGOS State, from STUTTGART, GERMANY after the first African Chiefs of Defence Conference at US AFRICOM HQ, during which Gen ADEOSUN stated that the split in Boko Haram factions had aided friendly forces operations

21 April

MSF accused CAMEROUN of forcibly repatriating thousands of Nigerian refugees

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


Situation North East (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States)

09 April

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

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

10 April

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

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

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

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

12 April

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

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

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

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

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

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

13 April

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

15 April

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

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

10 April

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

12 April

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

13 April

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

15 April

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

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

09 April

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

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

10 April

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

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

11 April

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

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

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

12 April

The DSS stated it had made the following arrests:

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

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

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

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

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

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

13 April

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

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

14 April

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

15 April

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

Situation External (Rest of the World)

09 April

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

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

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

12 April

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

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


Situation North East (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States)

02 April

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

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

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

03 April

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

04 April

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

05 April

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

06 April

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

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

07 April

Gunmen attacked ZABARMARI Village, JERE LGA, BORNO State

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

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

08 April

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

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

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

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

02 April

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

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

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

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

03 April

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

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

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

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

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

04 April

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

05 April

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

07 April

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

Situation External (Rest of the World)

03 April

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

04 April

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

06 April

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

07 April

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

08 April

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

Gunmen attacked GANEI, MAYO TSANAGA Department killing 4 people

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

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

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

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

Pond in Jere LGA

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enemy Actions:

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

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

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

Maiduguri Market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aerial view of Borno State

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Herdsmen in Borno


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

This brings us to China.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Defence, Geopolitics, Rest of the world | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment


Situation North East (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States)

26 March

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

27 March

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

28 March

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

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

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

29 March

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

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

30 March

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

31 March

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

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

01 April

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

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

26 March

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

27 March

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

28 March

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

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

26 March

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

28 March

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

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

30 March

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

Situation External (Rest of the World)

31 March

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

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