BOKO HARAM’S PREFERRED TACTIC OF DOUBLE EXPLOSIONS
There was a suicide bombing incident in Damaturu Yobe where a young female suicide bomber detonated herself outside a motor park, killing 5 civilians. The incident occurred on the 26th August, around 7.30am. The suicide bomber was attempting to gain access into the motor park when the vigilante carrying out security checks deterred her from entering. A secondary explosion averted when the male suicide bomber , but when he sensed he was going to be apprehended, he ran into a nearby bush and his device detonated there, resulting in only his death.
On the 26th Aug, another suicide bomber hit the airport junction in Maiduguri Borno state around 10.30pm, resulting in the death of one military guard. Just like the Yobe incident, there were two suicide bombers involved in this attack. News articles said the bombers were riding on a tricycle after curfew hours and were asked to stop, park and slowly approach the checkpoint for identification and questioning. As they were approaching the checkpoint, they detonated their vests.
ANALYSIS: Having security checks and access control into markets and other places with large crowd gathering will help deter would be attackers from causing major mayhem. However, Boko Haram’s tactic of choice appears to be the use of two suicide bombers at a time. They do this for two reasons, first is to cause massive casualties with the initial explosion and then detonate a second time, targeting emergency response teams and on-lookers. The second reason is they believe that having double blasts will cause greater damage.
INSURGENT ATTACKS ON HORSE-BACK INDICATIVE OF EFFECTIVE AIR FORCE STRIKES
On the 28th Aug, Boko Haram insurgents invaded Baanu Village in Nganzai LG, Borno state at about 8.30pm, leading to the deaths of 68 individuals. The insurgents were said to have arrived on horses shooting sporadically and killing everyone they came across. The insurgents also attacked another village on Saturday, killing 4 individuals including the Chief Imam of the village, his son and two neighbours. There was also a third attack on Hambagda on Sunday where they killed 7 villagers and injured 5 others. Again the insurgents arrived on horseback around 2pm, went straight to the mosque and opened fire on those praying.
On 3 Sept, Boko Haram attacked two remote Borno villages of Kolori and Ba’ana Imam on horseback killed 26 persons and injured six. This attack occurred around 5.35pm and is possibly a resupply attack because that the insurgents were said to have carted away foodstuffs, livestock and looted houses. There is typically one of such attacks per week in which the insurgents focus on resupply their food stock.
On the 3rd of Sept, there was also another BH attack in Northern Cameroon in the border down of Kerawa, around 9am. The attacks involved two explosions, the first going off in the market in Kerawa and the second detonating about 200meters from the military infantry camp. The attacks resulted in 30 people KIA.
ANALYSIS: The insurgents are arriving on horse-back instead of their usual motorcycle or pick-up trucks possibly signifying that the aerial offensive carried out by the Nigerian Air Force has been successful in destroying their vehicular assets.
BH killing Muslims is not a new thing, but it does signify that their ideology which perhaps was initially religious has since turned into pure evil. Analysts believe that BH splinter groups are usually against the killing of fellow Muslims. Continued action of this sort not just turns would be supporters away, but it also makes fellow BH members turn their backs away from the group.
This week the FG ordered the new head of immigration to make securing the nations land, air and sea borders a top priority. The lax border control around the region makes it possible for BH fighters to go back and forth across the border carrying out bombing attacks. Cameroon along with other African countries needs to take this BH fight seriously.
Boko Haram is part of global terrorism which seems not to be sparing any individual country. This week, a young Muslim Ghanaian was said to have traveled to an ISIS training camp, becoming the first known recruit from the West African nation. The young man told his family he was heading to another city within Ghana, and then two weeks later, his family found out via social media that he was now in ISIS territory obeying the call for a global jihad.
The Role of Parents
The government is doing its part holding talks, meetings, setting up multinational coalition forces to attack and prevent terrorism within the region. But the civilians and citizens of the country need to do their part. Young people are especially susceptible to the global jihad message perpetrated by ISIS. The group is able to effectively use social media campaigns and sleek video clips to sensationalize fighting and killing.
Parents need to take more initiative in monitoring what their children are exposing themselves to in the privacy of their social media world. Are they going on terrorist affiliated websites? Are they starting to voice their approval of terrorist propaganda? Be on the look-out for signs of radicalism.
In spite of the recorded BH attacks this week, there were several noted successes of the Nigerian military. The Nigerian Air Force intercepted and destroyed trucks being used for logistics by Boko Haram along the border town of Belel.
The Air Force also found, targeted and destroyed solar panels used by Boko Haram to generate electricity within Sambisa forest. The Nigerian Army uncovered a major bomb-making factory, at Miyati and Nyaleri villages, along the Maiduguri-Bulabulin-Damboa road, in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State. They destroyed the factory and arrested one of the terrorist leaders and two other insurgents. Because of the lethality of IEDs, organizations instructed to defeat the device typically place priority on identifying the IED makers, and destroying their IED making factories or labs. Doing this greatly minimizes the threat of security personnel and civilians dying needlessly as a result of the bombs.
The Nigerian Army mentioned that it had destroyed 2,000 cartons of dried fish and smoked meat recovered from suspected Boko Haram insurgents. The cartons of dried fish and smoked meat are believed to have been seized from innocent fishermen and businessmen. ” The smoked meat was suspected to be made from cows rustled by the insurgents, who later sell them at ridiculous amount to finance their terrorists’ activities”. One wonders why the military did not decide to share the food with the vast number of IDPs still seeking food, as opposed to destroying it.
Other security outfits are also doing their part to ensure a safer Nigeria for all. The Aviation security personnel apprehended a 14 year old boy who had been carrying out reconnaissance on the Abuja international airport. The boy had been instructed by unknown personnel, possibly Boko Haram affiliates, to pass on details on the Abuja airport’s security procedures including passenger screening, boarding procedures and other processes in the departure and arrival halls. The boy was apprehended when he attempted to pass through airport security without any travel documents. He was later handed over to DSS personnel. Following this incident, security was stepped up at all airports across the country.
ANALYSIS: Since being on the look-out for suspicious activity is just as important to members of the public, as it is members of security agencies, the government should introduce security threat advisory into the Nigerian system. This will involve the government security agencies effectively communicating information about imminent terrorist threats to members of the public and making them aware of the heightened risk of a terrorist attack. This will make members of the public more observant during the threat period, until the risk has been averted.
DSS BOKO HARAM CELL ARREST EXPOSE A NEW THREAT OF THE DECENTRALIZED TERRORIST
The DSS also reported some counter-terrorism successes this week when they disclosed the arrest of some notable Boko Haram suspects, including a key commander, linked with several suicide attacks across the country. Usman Shuiabu known as Money and other frontline members of the hard-line Islamist group were picked up in Lagos, Kano, Plateau, Enugu and Gombe states between July and August.
The team’s leader Shuaibu also known as money handled N500,000 which was used for the coordination and execution of suicide attacks previously carried out in Potiskum, Kano, Zaria and Jos. His arrest is a good advantage as it can give security operatives additional information about the financing of the insurgency.
Another of person within the team arrested was an IED expert who confessed he was the one who strapped the suicide bombers, notably SULE and his wives, with IED vests in a previous attack in Jos. The kidnapped female victims are married off to fighters and are subsequently possibly forced to carry out attacks with their “husband”. This might have been the case with the Yobe bomb blast involving both a male and female suicide bomber.
One other arrested suspect confessed that he was the one who carried out reconnaissance on the targets ahead of the Jos attacks. Just like the individual who was carrying out recon at the airport. Terrorists always carry out reconnaissance on their intended targets. Through careful observation, suspicious individuals could be pointed out and reported. It is for this reason that random people loitering around should not be tolerated.
Following the nation-wide DSS arrests, the Enugu State Police Command stated that it was unaware of any Boko Haram arrests in its state. If this is indeed the case, it points out problem of interagency communication.
ANALYSIS: Despite the arrest of this BH cell, attacks are still going on. This goes to show how decentralized the group is which could pose a challenge for the country in the future
The Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, stated that the military’s counter-insurgency operations had left the terrorists with no formidable force. He stated that “most of the terrorist group leadership has been decimated, while foot soldiers are abandoning their masters, burying their weapons in the forest and seeking solace”.
The current military offensive campaign may be successful in clearing out the insurgents from their established base, but it does not address the smaller cells that will begin to operate in a decentralized autonomous fashion. To address this, attention will need to be paid to the terror network’s financiers and to local crime which the terrorists may organize in order to raise additional funds to carry out attacks.
There is also the matter of the foot soldiers who are abandoning their terrorist ways and seeking to assimilate with the rest of the population. The government has to ensure it has measures in place to either rehabilitate the child soldiers that were forced to join the insurgency, and figure out punitive measures for BH terrorist leadership or sworn members of the group.
KIDNAPPING WILL PERSIST UNTIL PUNITIVE MEASURES ARE STRICTER
There were two high profile kidnapping incidents reported this week. The first was an abduction of an 85 year old Bayelsa monarch who was taken from his home in Bayelsa state at 5am by heavily armed men who arrived and departed via water transportation. The second was the abduction of the ex-DSS DG’s brother. He was abducted from his residence in Cross River state by armed men who also arrived and departed via water transportation.
ANALYSIS: Kidnapping will continue to be an issue in the society as long as abject poverty along with the get rich quick mentality exists. Family members of kidnap victims need to ensure they report kidnap incidents to security authorities as soon as it occurs. If the family is quiet about the crime, the kidnappers are the ones who benefit. Security authorities have their means of ensuring the kidnappers are caught and the victim rescued unscathed. The government should try to enact stricter punitive measures for kidnappers, organizations need to have kidnap situation contingency plans, and security agencies should share information and give training to members of the public on preventing and surviving kidnap situations.