Nigeria: The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) is a terrorist organization operating in the West African region

Nigeria: The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) is a terrorist organization operating in the West African region

By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria

In a recent incident that underscores the ongoing security challenges in Nigeria’s Borno State, a group of 25 Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters, led by prominent figures within the group including its commander, Mustapha Ali, and chief bomb maker, Abdulrahman, launched an attack on Logomani village in the Gajibo area of Dikwa Local Government. Their target? Newly constructed houses allocated to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), which had been recently unveiled by Governor Babagana Zulum.

According to reports obtained by Vanguard, the insurgents deliberately set fire to these newly constructed homes, a reprehensible act that not only undermines efforts to provide shelter for displaced individuals but also reflects the brazenness of terrorist activities in the region. While fortunately, there were no casualties reported in this attack, the destruction of property and the disruption of efforts to resettle IDPs highlight the continued vulnerability of communities in Borno State to extremist violence.

This assault on the newly built residences comes hot on the heels of another violent incident just 48 hours prior, where insurgents ambushed firewood scavengers in Gamboru Ngala Local Government Area, resulting in the abduction of over 100 women. The proximity of these attacks underscores the persistent threat posed by terrorist groups like ISWAP, who operate with impunity across vast swathes of territory in Borno State and beyond.

The targeted housing units were part of a collaborative initiative between the Borno State Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), aimed at providing much-needed shelter for IDPs who have been displaced by conflict and violence. The deliberate targeting of these structures not only represents an attack on physical infrastructure but also on the aspirations of communities seeking to rebuild and recover from the ravages of conflict.

Zagazola Makama, a prominent counterinsurgency expert and security analyst in the Lake Chad region, has characterized this attack as a calculated response to the government’s efforts to resettle IDPs in the affected communities. Such actions by ISWAP not only undermine the stability and security of the region but also exacerbate the humanitarian crisis facing millions of displaced individuals in Nigeria.

Moreover, the involvement of prominent ISWAP figures, including the chief bomb maker responsible for planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) along roads, underscores the multifaceted nature of the threat posed by the group. The deployment of additional bomb experts in the region, trained in the use of IEDs and posing a significant threat to civilian populations and security forces alike, further highlights the complex challenges facing efforts to combat terrorism in Nigeria.

As communities in Borno State grapple with the aftermath of yet another attack, it is imperative that concerted efforts be made to address the root causes of extremism and violence in the region. This includes not only bolstering security measures and enhancing coordination between security forces but also addressing the underlying grievances and vulnerabilities that fuel recruitment and support for terrorist groups like ISWAP. Only through a comprehensive and holistic approach can the cycle of violence be broken, and the people of Borno State be afforded the peace and stability they so desperately deserve.

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