Yesterday, the Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) released photos from last week’s raid on the Garunda military base in northeastern Nigeria in the Lake Chad region. At least 17 Nigerian soldiers were killed in the assault, which saw the militants temporarily control the base.
Last week, Nigerian officials acknowledged the raid and confirmed the high number of casualties in the attack. The Islamic State’s photos confirms that the militants did overrun the base before withdrawing with captured weapons and vehicles. ISWA claims to have battled African Union troops, however, local reporting has only indicated Nigerian troops as being present in Garunda.
The deadly raid is only the latest in a series of recent attacks on military bases committed by ISWA in northern Nigeria. On July 18, the jihadists stormed the base at Jilli on the border between Nigeria’s Borno and Yobe states. Disguised as Nigerian soldiers, ISWA militants were able to kill dozens of troops. Of the 730 Nigerian troops stationed at the base at the time, over 600 were unaccounted for after the assault according to US officials.
On July 26, another military base, this time near Borno’s capital of Maiduguri, was targeted by the jihadist group. According to local sources, ISWA used 30 armed vehicles to briefly overrun the base. One day before, several Nigerian soldiers were killed and nearly two dozen went missing after their convoy was subjected to an ambush near Bama. However, some sources have pinned that attack on the Abubakar Shekau-led Boko Haram.
Shekau’s group is also thought to be behind the July 22 strike on a village in the Lake Chad region near Niger. At least 18 people were killed and 10 girls were kidnapped during the assault. This faction has used at least 379 women and girls as suicide bombers, according to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal.
While neither Shekau’s faction nor ISWA controls the territory it once did as a unified force, both factions continue to remain a threat to both Nigerian security forces and the civilian populations in northern Nigeria. The recent assaults on several military bases serve as further evidence for the continual threat of jihadist violence in northeastern Nigeria. Moreover, both also remain a threat to regional security as security forces and civilians have been targeted in several neighboring countries as well.
Photos released by the Islamic State showing its assault on the Garunda military base: