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Light Weight, Multiple Rocket Launcher Appears In ISWAP Media

The propaganda video from the terror group shows the use of captured gun trucks, rifles, and weapon systems from national forces in the region.

A pickup truck-mounted with a 12-tube multiple rocket launcher system (MLRS), likely looted from the neighbouring Niger Republic, has appeared in a new ISWAP propaganda media.  

The video shared on Saturday, July 24, 2021 included the pickup truck in what appeared to be Nigerien military camouflage mounted with the type 63 107mm MLRS and other gun trucks fitted with double-barrel ZPU-2, W85 and NSV heavy machine guns.

Blast visible after the launching of 107mm rocket via Twitter by @CalibreObscura

Commenting on the ISWAP video, Calibre Obscura (@CalibreObscura), a weapon researcher and analyst, tweeted that “There is a short section showing fighting against the NA (mostly), showing the use of artillery rockets, namely 107mm Type 63-2 and 122mm 9M22U “Grad”.” 

The weapons expert added that “This capability isn’t well covered with the group; the expertise exists, but it depends on their ability to capture material.”

The video showed multiple gun trucks and members of the terror group with regular small arms and one fighter with a shoulder-fired SPG-9 Recoilless gun. 

In June, the Nigerian military recovered AK pattern rifles, an FN MAG machine, a type 85 heavy machine gun, and SPG-9 mounted on a truck.

The 107mm MLRS is rare and often seen in weapons captured by the group after raids in Niger’s Diffa region. 

In May 2020, a propaganda video released by ISWAP showed the looting of ammunition, gun trucks, and type 63 107mm MLRS during the attack on a military base near Doutchi Bridge in the town of Diffa.

Type 63 MLRS captured during an attack in Toumour, Jan 2018, image shared on Twitter via MENASTREAM

Similarly, in Jan. 2018, ISWAP displayed gun trucks and a type 63 MLRS captured in an attack on Nigerien forces in Toumour, Diffa region. 

In 2017, a photograph appeared online showing a type 63 107mm MLRS captured from insurgents, who in turn seized it from Nigerien forces. 

The employment of both 107mm and 122mm rockets by the group depends largely on their ability to capture stockpiles from national forces in the region. 

In April 2020, ISWAP shared a picture of a pickup truck fitted with a four-tube 122mm Grad rocket launcher.

The first known incident associated with the “Grad” rockets was in Feb. 2019, when ISWAP targeted Maiduguri, Borno State capital, Northeast Nigeria. 

Another incident was recorded in March as ISWAP fired at the Diffa Airport in Niger Republic, used for air operations. 

Both attacks involved a crude methodology of launching the 122mm Grad rockets, which are usually found on BM-21 and RM-70 MLRS in the stock of the Nigerian Army.

Identifying, destroying or preventing loss of rockets and weapon systems is vital to diminish the threat these rockets could pose to security forces, civilians and public facilities. 

In early July 2021, ISWAP reported it fired multiple rockets towards the Diffa Airport in the  southeastern Niger Republic, near the border with Nigeria.

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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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