At least 50 people were killed by a suicide bomber during morning prayers at a local mosque in northeastern Nigeria. No group has claimed the attack, but it fits with the modus operandi of that of Abubakr Shekau’s faction.
On Nov. 17, The Foundation for Defense of Democracies and FDD’s Long War Journal held an event to discuss the findings from the recently released documents from Osama bin Laden’s compound.
At least a dozen females and another five males have been used in suicide attacks so far this month. The rate of which females are used in this tactic remain on pace to quadruple in 2017 compared to last year.
Despite a relative lull in the use of females in suicide bombings in 2016 compared to 2015, West Africa is currently seeing a significant uptick in the use of females so far in 2017.
A letter recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound reveals that a senior AQIM commander recommended that his group train Boko Haram’s forces. Other official sources confirm that AQIM did provide the training and also groomed part of Boko Haram’s leadership. However, one of the Boko Haram leaders identified in the letter later cofounded a splinter group known as Ansaru, which rejects Boko Haram’s policies. Ansaru has been supported by AQIM.
Women and girls continue to be utilized by the Islamic State West Africa (formerly known as Boko Haram). At least 123 suicide bombings involving females have been recorded in data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal.
The Islamic State has named a new wali (governor) for its “province” in West Africa. The move prompted a reply from Abu Bakr Shekau, the longtime leader of Boko Haram who became the wali after announcing his allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi last year. The SITE Intelligence group translated the Islamic State’s announcement and Shekau’s response.
The jihadist group also implies that its leader, Abubakar Shekau, is still alive and leading the Islamic State West Africa after rumors of his demise.