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Exclusive: Over 3,000 ‘Major’ Terrorist Attacks Recorded In Borno Only In 2020

Borno State, the epicentre and birthplace of the decade-long Boko Haram insurgency, recorded over 3,000 major terrorist attacks and incidents between January 1 and December 31, 2020.

HumAngle’s analysis of a 2020 report and statistical data compiled by a security agency in Borno showed a series of daring attacks and a disturbing trend that points to an erosion of counter-insurgency successes recorded between 2015 and 2017.

Since 2009, Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād commonly known as Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) have engaged in a campaign of violence that has led to at least 30,000 deaths, displaced over two million, and left about 10 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Northeast Nigeria and Lake Chad Basin.

The security report covered 3,156 Boko Haram and ISWAP attacks and incidents in Borno state ranging from attacks on security formations, towns, farmers and villages, to mounting of vehicle checkpoints on major roads, ambushes, abductions, and use of rockets and improvised explosive devices.

“The analysis is quite daunting (not encouraging) because past gains seem to be eroded,” the security agency admitted.

“Boko Haram suddenly became more daring and confident, which calls for different approaches in 2021. The localisation and location of BHT [Boko Haram terrorist] attacks per Local Government Area should be seen by newly elected local government councils as a pointer to evolve ‘Community Defence Architecture’ to assist in beefing up security.”

An estimated 2,431 civilian casualties were recorded, out of which 1,021 civilians were killed and 842 abducted.

Konduga Local Government Area, about 40 kilometres southeast of the state capital, Maiduguri, recorded 623 attacks and incidents, the highest number collated for a Local Government Area.

Borno Attacks

Gwoza had the second-highest number with 340. Between 2014 and 2015, Gwoza served as the headquarters of Boko Haram, but the military re-captured the town in March 2015, enabling displaced locals to gradually return.

The third was Bama Local Government Area with 222 incidents. The LGA is situated on the trans-African trading route close to Cameroon.

Bama town, a thriving market town and the second largest town in Borno State, was occupied by Boko Haram in 2014 but recaptured by the Nigerian army about six months later.

The local government areas with below 20 incidents and attacks in 2020 were Bayo, Hawul, Kwaya Kusar, and Shani in Southern Borno.

Most attacks (373) were recorded in October, followed by August (348), September (316), June (271), March (257) and November (257). On the other hand, the least numbers of attacks were recorded towards the start of the year: January (196) and February (168).

In November, Kashim Shettima, the former Borno State Governor and a serving senator, stated on the floor of the Senate that the state recorded 2,801 attacks and incidents between January and November 19, 2020.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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