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How Boko Haram Factions Are Extending Terror To Maiduguri

Maiduguri, Borno State capital in Northeast Nigeria has experienced waves of Boko Haram attacks, signalling a return of frequent attacks to the city.

Boko Haram factions have adopted tactics to extend their terror campaigns to the densely populated city of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State Northeast Nigeria. 

Since the ouster of the insurgency group from Maiduguri after the uprising of 2009, followed by a subsequent wave of assassinations and battles in the city, Boko Haram and its splinter, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) have over the years adopted new tactics to terrorise inhabitants.

The metropolitan city which hosts a diverse population that includes residents and displaced persons from across the state, is encircled by trenches and military outposts designed to protect it from infiltration and attacks. 

The terror groups are using a variety of tactics to harass the garrison city, ranging from setting up checkpoints to interrupt supplies, to abduction and killing of commuters, and laying of improvised explosive devices (IED) on routes to Maiduguri.

They occasionally have skirmishes with the military at the outskirts of the city while also targeting electricity towers and employing saturation attacks using rockets and mortars.

On Feb. 23, the Abubakar Shekau led Boko Haram carried out the boldest and deadliest attack on Maiduguri in recent years by firing a volley of mortars and fabricated rockets which resulted in the death of at least 15 persons and injuring dozens of others across several locations.

A five-minute and thirty-two seconds-long video released by Boko Haram, showed a crew firing mortars and fabricated rockets indiscriminately into Maiduguri, which was then followed by a small assault squad with motorcycles and at least one gun truck breaching the trench.

The attack caused more havoc when compared with a similar attack two years ago by ISWAP that involved military-grade Grad rockets launched on Feb. 23, 2019, to hit military and government targets.

The attack also raises concerns about the reactivation of Boko Haram rocket manufacturing capacity and the possibility of the group repeating the attack due to its success.

Nine boys playing football at Gwange, near the house of the late General Mamman Shuwa were killed when one of the projectiles struck.

The Feb. incident happened at a time residents were already suffering social and economic hardships after ISWAP used explosives to destroy one of the electricity towers supplying power to Maiduguri. 

More towers were subsequently damaged during repair work on the tower located in the Mainok area along Maiduguri – Damaturu road. 

At least five electricity workers sustained injuries after their vehicle stepped on IED planted by ISWAP while working to reconnect the transmission line to the national power grid. 

Over the years, several people have been killed and others abducted by insurgents mounting checkpoints and staging ambushes on vehicles and military units along the key routes such as the  Damaturu-Maiduguri,  Maiduguri-Monguno and Maiduguri-Damboa.

A few days ago, the theatre command of Nigeria’s counter-insurgency operation with its headquarters in Maiduguri was attacked at Garin Kuturu village, between Auno and Jakana towns along the Maiduguri-Damaturu road. 

HumAngle understands that at least two soldiers died during the firefight between troops in the convoy and the terrorists.

The attacks particularly on the Maiduguri-Damaturu road has impacted movement between the two capitals of Borno and Yobe. The road also links Maiduguri to other parts of the country. 

HumAngle learnt that these tactics of attacks allow the factions to project their terror campaign around and beyond security measures put in place to protect Maiduguri.

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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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