Armed ViolenceNews

ISWAP Disrupts Electricity Supply In Niger Republic, Attempts To Stop Restoration Efforts

ISWAP has launched a campaign of darkness against parts of Niger Republic and Nigeria.

Islamic State West Africa(ISWAP) insurgents on Friday, March 26, attempted to thwart efforts to repair power lines destroyed by the group in the Diffa area southeast of Niger Republic, near the border with Nigeria.

The group had earlier on Thursday, March 25, caused damage to the Mainé-Soroa- Diffa power line.

Nigerien military and Gendarmerie, alongside air support were reported to have beat back the Friday attack on the power line repair site by ISWAP fighters on gun trucks. 

Three insurgents were subsequently neutralized and military equipment recovered.

On March 9, Nigerien Electricity Company (NIGELEC) was able to restore the electricity line that connects Diffa and Maine-Soroa department after previous damage caused by insurgents on March 7. 

Both ISWAP and Boko Haram Lake Chad franchises operate and conduct attacks in the Diffa area of Niger Republic. 

In 2003, there was a report that Chetimari in Diffa Region will be connected to the Nigerian border town of Damasak in Borno State, under the “Projet de Développement du réseau électrique interconnecté du Niger” (DREIN – Project for the Development of Niger’s Interconnected Electric Network) scheme.

The network was expected to link towns in the Diffa region including Maine Soroa, N’Guigmi and Diffa to Damasak in Nigeria.

It is unclear if the power line targeted is  part of that project or domestic efforts in Niger to improve electricity.  

In Feb. 2020, it was revealed that Niger Republic alongside Togo and Benin were owing Nigeria N32.04 billion for the electricity supplied to them in 2019. 

In Nigeria, ISWAP has also targeted electricity lines, and the most recent incident happened on Saturday when the terror group targeted the transmission line along Maiduguri- Damaturu road, just a few days after power was restored to Maiduguri, capital of Borno State. 

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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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