Islamic State claims control over village in northeast Nigeria

ISWA militants on a captured tank in Kangarwa, Nigeria.

Following a series of assaults on Nigerian military positions in northeastern Nigeria over the past few weeks, the Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) claimed its forces took over a small village near Lake Chad yesterday. A video from the militants was also released by the Islamic State’s Amaq News to offer visual evidence of the claim.

Yesterday, Amaq News released a statement in which it said ISWA forces captured the village of Kangarwa in Nigeria’s Borno state close to Lake Chad. The aforementioned video was then released shortly thereafter, showing several militants walking and parading through the village. A Nigerian military tank is also shown to have been captured by the jihadists in or near the town.

The capture of the town follows weeks of successful jihadist attacks on Nigerian military positions across the northeast. On Nov. 19, ISWA claimed killing 42 Nigerian soldiers in an offensive near the town of Metele, also in Nigeria’s Borno state. The Nigerian government was later forced to admit that 44 soldiers were indeed killed in the strike.

Moreover, on Nov. 22, Reuters reported that over 100 Nigerian soldiers were killed in combat with ISWA since Nov. 18. Several claims and picture sets have been released by ISWA showing these assaults. Additionally, over the past few months ISWA has claimed several attacks on the Nigerian military, largely in the Lake Chad region.

While Kangarwa is a small town, its capture by ISWA shows that the jihadist group is still capable of taking over and controlling territory despite many claims by the Nigerian government of its defeat. The last few weeks of military setbacks of the Nigerian military also prove that the jihadist group is far from defeated.

Screenshots from Amaq’s video showing ISWA fighters in¬†Kangarwa, Nigeria:¬†

Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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