Armed ViolenceNews

Lake Chad: Islamic State Affiliate Flies Drone To Target Joint Military Base

ISWAP is known to use cheap off-the-shelf drones captured in raids for reconnaissance, media and harassing activities.

A drone was used on Monday, Feb. 14, by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) insurgents to support a mortar squad firing explosive projectiles at a Joint Military base in northeastern Nigeria. 

On Thursday, Feb. 17, ISWAP published a rear aerial photograph taken by the drone flying within proximity of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) base in Wulgo close to the shores of Lake Chad and neighbouring Cameroon.

The area of operations of the MNJTF Sector 1 position at Wulgo is also near the  Nigerian Army 3rd Battalion stationed in Gamboru Ngala adjacent to the Cameroonian town Fotokol. 

ISWAP also released photographs of insurgents using an 81mm mortar for a long-range indirect fire attack on the military base. The drone would have provided duo use of surveillance and target correction to increase the precision of the mortar bombs. 

At least nine people were reported to have been injured by explosive projectiles in an attack that was reported to have occurred on Monday afternoon before the arrival of the State Governor in the area. It’s unclear whether both incidents are related. 

Since 2021, thousands of displaced people have been resettled in Wulgo town of Ngala Local Government Area of northern Borno.

ISWAP is known for using off-the-shelf DJI drones for harassing military units, reconnaissance and media operations. The group has, however, rarely shared images of its use.  

The drone employed for the recent attack was likely captured from national forces involved in anti-terror operations in the region. The group frequently capture and reuse weapons as well as equipment looted during ambushes and raids.

In Feb. 2021, ISWAP published photos of a DShK heavy machine gun and DJI Phantom drone, captured along the Mainok – Jakana axis in Borno.

The small DJI drone is common with Nigerian ground troops as tactical support equipment, particularly for reconnaissance. The Nigerian Air Force uses larger and more expensive drones for intelligence gathering and targeted airstrikes. 

The Air force recently expanded its drone program with the acquisition of new drones, particularly the Chinese built Wing Loong II medium altitude long endurance drone. HumAngle understands that armed drones are contributing to military operations in the Northwest and Northeast.

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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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