Armed ViolenceNews

Updated: Military Pushes Back After ISWAP’s Overnight Raid On Base In Marte

Military reinforcements and combat aircraft participated in a counter-assault against members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), which conducted a daring raid on Friday evening, targeting a military base in Marte, Borno State, Northeast Nigeria.

Gun trucks and weaponry were destroyed as the military reclaimed the base in Marte today. Civilians caught in the crossfire were reported to have fled Marte towards the garrison town of Dikwa. 

HumAngle understands that the insurgents were still in the vicinity of the base as of Saturday morning.

Details of the Friday night incident, including casualty figures, remain sketchy as of the time of filing this report.

The attack is coming at a time when the Borno State Government has relocated about 300 households to Marte, an agricultural town on the western coast of Lake Chad.

In October, last year, the governor inaugurated two committees to resettle Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Marte, Kirawa and Ngoshe to their ancestral homes.

A November 2019 visit was the first time a civilian government delegation visited the communities in many years.

The governor’s interest in returning IDPs to Marte is due to the economical and agricultural importance of the area.

Marte used to be a major agricultural community and Nigeria’s main wheat-producing area.

The state government recently held a meeting to facilitate the supply of electricity to Marte and environs in a bid to reactivate the irrigation system and farming in the area.

The Borno State Task Force on the Return of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons is accelerating the return and resettling of “willing” persons to their communities.

The aim is to decongest IDP camps and allow returnees to engage in economic activities such as crop farming, fishing and trading of agro-products.

However, the security of resettlement towns in northern Borno will be a major challenge as a result of the activities of Islamic State West Africa Province.

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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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