ISWAP Focus On Magumeri Puts The Military And The Community On Edge

Magumeri, in Borno State, northeast Nigeria has seen a surge in attacks on troops and the civilian population. The community had their livestock, food, stores and public facilities looted by fighters of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), unabatingly.

The local government is about 50km from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state northeast Nigeria, which is also the most militarized city in Nigeria.

The attacks on Magumeri and environs may not be unconnected with the return of troops after their initial withdrawal, following a government policy in 2019 to establish super camps and curb the sustained breach of military bases in frontline towns, including a daring May 2019 attack on the military in Magumeri.

On Tuesday, Nigerian troops stationed in the town engaged dozens of ISWAP fighters in gun battles. The siege on the base ended after the arrival of reinforcements from Maiduguri.

A vigilante from Magumeri, Mohammed Ali told the Daily Trust that the terrorists destroyed three vehicles including an armoured tank and a bulldozer used in digging trenches to protect locations of troops n the area.

In August 2020, over a dozen farmers and herders were killed. Livestock rustled during an attack at Puciwa and Koleram communities in Magumeri Local Government Area, a few weeks later. The last standing telecommunication infrastructure and a public hospital were burnt to the ground, thereby leaving thousands of residents without access to communication and medical services.

In July, the insurgents on a looting spree attacked Nigerian troops, police officers and members of the civilian self-defence group supporting military operations in the Magumeri. The previous month, ISWAP fighters stormed Moduri, Kelewa and Ngudori in the area and seized over 400 cows.

The protracted decade-long war in Northeastern Nigeria has killed more than 30,000 civilians and displaced over 2.3 million people and created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

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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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