Islamic State West Africa targets Nigerian army in new video

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Islamic State West Africa fighter showing off captured weapons in northeastern Nigeria

The Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWA–formerly known as Boko Haram) has released a short video showing its forces overrunning a Nigerian army position in the northeastern Nigerian province of Borno. The date of the incident is unknown, but attacks in Borno happen frequently.

The video shows ISWA fighters advancing on the position through an open field on foot and in several technicals (heavily armed pickup trucks). The fighters are then shown targeting the Nigerian forces, including a tank. After a heavy gunfight, Nigerian personnel and the tank are seen retreating from their positions. The last half of the video shows several dead Nigerian soldiers, while one soldier is seen being captured and subsequently beheaded. In the last scenes, the jihadists show off weapons and vehicles taken as “spoils.”

Many of the scenes in the video are too graphic to be published at The Long War Journal.

While the Nigerian military has driven ISWA out of many of its strongholds in Yobe, Adamawa, and Borno states in northeastern Nigeria, the jihadist group continues to pose a significant threat to the Nigerian military and the civilians in the area. Suicide bombings and attacks like the one shown in the video are still an almost daily occurrence in the the West African country. Additionally, the jihadist group has been able to conduct operations in neighboring Cameroon, Niger, and Chad.

Just yesterday, over 30 people were killed in suicide attacks in the Lake Chad region of Chad. According to the Associated Press, at least 36 people were killed in two separate but coordinated suicide attacks conducted by five bombers. The first bombing took place in a market in the town of Baga Sola, while another occurred in a nearby refugee camp. The bombing in the market killed 16, while the attack in the refugee camp killed at least 20. The Associated Press has reported that two of the five bombers were women, however, Voice of America has quoted Chadian authorities as saying that all five were females.

ISWA has used at least 54 women as suicide bombers since June 2014 according to data compiled by The Long War Journal. The ages of the women vary from just 10 years old to middle-aged. It is likely many of the girls and women used by the jihadist group were kidnapped before being indoctrinated into conducting such attacks. The use of women can make it easier for jihadist groups to conduct suicide operations, as explosives may be easier to hide, and men are less likely to search women due to cultural sensitivities.

Despite a coordinated military offensive by Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon that has targeted ISWA strongholds in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, the jihadist group has maintained its attack tempo. ISWA has launched two suicide attacks in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, over the past months, and it has conducted multiple military assaults in Niger, Cameroon, and Nigeria. ISWA also claimed credit for a coordinated suicide attack in the Nigerian capital of Abuja just last week. In addition, the group targeted Chadian troops near Lake Chad last week; 11 soldiers and 17 jihadists were killed in the battle.

Photos from the ISWA video:

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Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.

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7 Comments

  • mike merlo says:

    disturbingly frustrating. This inability to craft a strategy & come with an actionable matrix confronting & executing Militarily options to disrupt & destroy Terrorist Armies, Groups, Individuals, etc., is depressingly ‘wanting’

    • Booom says:

      No military strategy will defeat an enemy that is more motivated and willing to die for every inch compared to Middle East/african army’s that are poorly led with little motivation.

      Islamists jihad is only growing stronger and it doesn’t help that the only people who can fight them are ‘foreign occupiers’. Not a recipe for getting locals on your side. Without locals on your side these wars are pointless.

      • mike merlo says:

        @ Booom

        so how long before those with the ‘wherewithal’ go back to go ole days of Coup d’Etat’s & overthrowing Governments?

    • Asymeteric insurgencies will confront us for decades. We can not wish them away

      • mike merlo says:

        @ Vikings Stolt

        “asymmetric insurgencies” have been with humankind for multiple millenniums. Why would anybody want to wish them away.

  • Odumodu says:

    It is almost impossible for Nigeria to overcome this terror.
    The international community must come and help this part of the world.
    In order to prevent recurrence his disaster, Nigeria must be dissolved into at least 3 governable countries.

  • Jon Z says:

    The challenges we face are cultural, and cultural challenges are something the West consistently fails to address.

    Corruption endemic to Nigeria’s government and military paralyze their response to Boko Haram and other threats. I think Mike Merlo states that clearly. This is not a new problem, however. Sectarian violence, ineptitude and corruption were a hallmark in the Nigerian civil war and the numerous riots, low intensity fights, etc. in the decades since.

    It is naive to think Nigeria’s government will get its act together. Local economics and de-facto politics prevent this.

    Within the West, we lack the will to listen to folks who are intimately familiar with how to get certain things done within Nigeria. The expertise to do this exists. The growing mess the West faces is more reflective of our middle and upper management’s selective denial of reality than the capabilities of our adversaries.

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