ISWAP Escalates Attacks In Northeast Nigeria As ISIS Calls For Offensive

ISWAP has carried out a series of attacks in recent days including the group's first attack in Taraba. This is happening at a time when the military is targeting its enclaves.

Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) on Wednesday, April 20, killed at least nine persons and burnt a Technical School after breaching the security of Geidam town in Yobe State,  Northeast Nigeria. 

The insurgents were reported to have quietly breached the security before proceeding to target the Government Science and Technical School, and the Kwari District in Geidam, located in northern Yobe and near the border with Niger republic. 

“They came on foot and began to shoot, and we all thought it was soldiers that were shooting until we began to hear people screaming and running for dear life,” said Babagana Umar, a resident of Geidam. 

He added that the terror group burnt down the school before storming a local alcohol bar  popularly known for serving Dog Meat. 

“After rounding up the place, the terrorists shot at some persons and then tied others’ hands from behind and slit their throats and even behead others whose heads were placed on their dead bodies,” Umar said.

Dungus Abdulkareem,  Yobe State Police Public Relations Officer said the attack occurred at about 8 p.m. WAT when a group killed nine persons including two women and a retired inspector of police. 

“They also attacked a Technical School and burnt some buildings there and left one person injured who was later rescued by the police and taken to the hospital for treatment,” Abdulkareem said.

“The military later came in to engage the attackers and repelled them. So far security has been beefed around the locations and normalcy has been restored in the area.”

In April 2021, ISWAP carried out a series of attacks in Geidam that were said to have triggered the displacement of about 150,000 civilians. 

A firefight was also reported on Wednesday in Banki town, central Borno, about 133 km from the capital Maiduguri. Banki is also located near the border with the Republic of Cameroon. 

ISWAP has recently escalated attacks in the region at a time the Nigerian military and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) are conducting operations aimed at the group’s enclaves.  

These attacks followed an audio message by the Islamic State spokesman, Abu Omar al-Muhajer on Sunday, April 17 calling for attacks to avenge the death of Abu Ibrahim al-Qurayshi and the group’s former spokesman, Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi. 

Several people were killed and injured in an ISWAP attack on Tuesday, April 19, involving an explosive device at a bar in Iware Community in Ardo Kola Local Government Area (LGA) of Taraba.

On Monday, April 18, ISWAP raided a Forward Operating Base (FOB) at Molai on the outskirts of Borno State capital Maiduguri. Photo sets from the attack showed the destruction of vehicles and the capture of weapons. 

Similarly, the group claimed another attack on the same day in Bijibiji town in Askira Uba area of Borno near the border with Adamawa.  

The Islamic State affiliate has also claimed other attacks against troops, in the past few days including the use of mortar bombs; a Suicide Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (SVBIED); and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED).

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Abdulkareem Haruna

Abdulkareem Haruna is a Nigerian journalist currently employed as the Editor for Lake Chad at HumAngle. For over a decade, he has demonstrated a passionate commitment to reporting on the Boko Haram conflict and the crisis in the Lake Chad region of northeastern Nigeria. He is a graduate of English Language and holds a Diploma in Mass Communications. Prior to his current role, he served as an assistant editor at both Premium Times and Leadership Newspaper.

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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