Bulwark Intelligence




Introduction Terrorism is one of the most significant threats to peace, security, stability, human rights, and social and economic development. The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed the use of airstrikes as a counter-terrorism measure to curb the operations of terrorist groups in Nigeria, which predominantly are Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram terrorists. These airstrikes are primarily carried out in Niger, Yobe, Zamfara, Borno, Nasarawa, Kaduna, and Katsina States. Successful Operations Successful airstrikes which entail disrupting terrorist operations by targeting their bases, supply routes, and commanders have been recorded by the NAF. These operations demand, but are not limited to, precise and timely intelligence, as well as cooperation between armed forces, intelligence agencies, and international allies to ensure precision targeting and minimal collateral damage. These operations may erode the group’s capabilities, reduce its operational area, and damage its ability to plan and carry out missions. On 10 August 2022, the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) launched air strikes, killing 28 bandits, including bandit leader Alhaji Shanono in North Central Kaduna State. On 2 November 2023, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) under Operation Hakin Kai fired airstrikes at terrorist camps and reportedly neutralized 160 terrorists in Geidam and Gwoza Local Government Areas in Yobe and Borno States. On 6 November 2023, the NAF reportedly neutralized an unconfirmed number of terrorists in Asagar village, Mobbar Local Government Area, Borno State. On 11 October 2023, at least 100 bandits were reportedly killed by the airstrikes of the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji (OPHD) in the Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State. Collateral Damage Airstrikes can do significant damage to terrorist groups, but these operations frequently have limitations that inadvertently cause civilian casualties or damage infrastructure, leading to public backlash and negative sentiment towards the government or the forces conducting the strikes. According to reports, between September 2017 and 2023, military accidental bombings killed an estimated 425 people. In Borno State, on 17 January 2017, an accidental airstrike on an Internally Displaced Person’s camp in Rann Town, Kala Balge Local Government Area resulted in 172 casualties including 52 fatalities, and on 13 April 2020, 17 people, including children, were killed after a NAF fighter jet bombed Sakotoku village in Damboa Local Government Area of the State. In Katsina State, a NAF fighter jet struck Kunkuna village in the Safana Local Government Area resulting in 14 casualties including a fatality on 7 July 2022. In Niger State, a NAF fighter jet reportedly fired a bomb targeted at terrorists in Kurebe village in Shiroro Local Government Area which resulted in 6 civilian fatalities, all children in April 2022.  Similarly, in January 2023, an accidental airstrike at the border linking Benue and Nasarawa states at the Doma Local Government Area in Nasarawa State resulted in 37 fatalities. Most recently, an accidental airstrike occurred at Kaduna State during Maulud celebrations in Tudun Biri of the Igabi Local Government Area resulting in 151 casualties, including 66 fatalities on 3 December 2023. Conclusion    Although airstrikes can be part of counter-terrorism efforts, their success depends on a larger strategy that includes intelligence gathering, socioeconomic development, governance improvements, community engagement, and diplomatic measures to address the root causes of terrorism and prevent its resurgence. Image Source: Daily Post/Humangle



Every year, in response to the U.S.’ Intelligence Authorization Act, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) compiles a detailed report about worldwide threats to their country’s national security. The 2023 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community came out, and I read through it to see if there was anything interesting as it pertains to Mother Africa, specifically Nigeria. Long story short, Nigeria was not mentioned, but West Africa was mentioned in a short paragraph on page 38 of 39, where they referenced regions and countries that will likely struggle with democracy and governance. It said regarding West Africa: “Across the continent, governments will face difficulties in meeting public demands amid food shortages, commodity price spikes, declining socioeconomic conditions, and the stresses of extreme weather events and insecurity. In addition, the prevalence of ageing autocrats, disruptions to fragile ethnic power balances, and protracted transitions from post-coup military regimes to civilian rule are likely to undermine prospects for stable governance in more than a dozen countries. In West Africa, a volatile mixture of democratic backsliding, states’ inability to provide security, and terrorist expansion will continue to threaten the region’s stability. The West African public has become disillusioned with how elected leaders have governed, particularly their failure to adhere to democratic governance norms and manipulation of institutions, which could lead to increased protests absent government reforms.“ DEMOCRACY IN JEOPARDY From that little excerpt, the I.C was already predicting that democratic rule in West Africa is going to be a challenge (cue in Nigeria). The inability to elect effective leaders due to institutional repression, coupled with ongoing insecurity and deteriorating socio-economic conditions, will likely lead to increased protests in the region, further threatening democratic governance fairly and justly. This is apt when you consider the recently concluded elections in Nigeria, which have left much of the populace disillusioned. INCREASE IN MILITARY CONFLICT There’s going to be an increasing military ramp up across the world. More countries will continue to invest in their militaries, which could increase the risk of conflict escalation. This is further exacerbated by the current war, coupled with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increased poverty, hindered economic growth, and widened inequality, raising the conditions that are ripe for domestic unrest, insurgencies, democratic backsliding, and authoritarianism. CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACT Climate change is going to pose a global threat that is going to keep affecting Africa through increased resource constraints, which are projected to grow, as well as an increased risk of conflict that will occur with the migration of people. It is going to affect the global economy, which will equally impact the continent. According to the report, “droughts in 2022 decreased shipping capacity and energy generation in China, Europe, and the United States, and insured losses from [weather] catastrophes have increased by 250 percent during the past 30 years”. Bottom line: We need to get our emergency and disaster management acts together. Scientific projections are depicting droughts and flooding in the coming year. We will need to ensure we have the right emergency response frameworks and resources to tackle this. CYBER THREAT: SURVEILLANCE AND SPYWARE Advanced intelligence and cybertools are now commercially available for more governments to use, including repressive ones. According to the report, “the commercial spyware industry—which makes tools that allow users to hack digital devices such as mobile telephones to surveil users—grew rapidly during the past decade and is now estimated to be worth $12 billion“. I always talk about the importance of investing in defense manufacturing capabilities so that our minds can develop these tools in-country, minimize importation, and instead export these capabilities and grow the economy. Well, cyber intelligence tools are a $12 billion industry. Africa needs to be developing some of these tools as well and getting in on the market. But I digress. These spyware tools aid mass technical surveillance, censorship, and spyware, which governments could use towards targeting oppositions and digital repression. In other words, the next time a digitally organized EndSARs like protest is about to spring up, the government will likely have greater capacity to squash it in cyberspace before it gains physical traction. In addition, these tools can also assist with influence operations aimed at shaping how the outside world views the government. This means an active genocide could be going on in a country, but people on the outside will only see videos of cute cats and puppies. These cyber tools could also be used in offensive capacities aimed at controlling the governance of another nation by creating social and political upheavals in some other countries to sway voters perceptions, perspectives, and preferences, which ultimately will allow them to elect officials that will shift policies in favour of the attacking government. CYBERTHREAT: RANSOMWARE Transnational ransomware attackers are improving their capabilities and will continue to execute high-impact ransomware attacks aimed at disrupting critical services and exposing sensitive data for the purpose of extorting funds. Governments worldwide are targets. The attacks are only going to get more sophisticated and persistent. Our cyber detection and response capabilities must be enhanced and continually upgraded as a matter of national security. TERRORISM ISIS West Africa will continue to pose a threat in the region. AQIM will continue to extort weak border security in west Africa, expand territorial control, and challenge local security forces. Terror groups keep using their Telegram network of channels, ‘Terrorgram’, to circumvent content moderation. CHINA IS NOT PLAYING The report was clear in its insinuation that China is no joke, and according to the U.S. Intelligence Community, it currently represents the biggest threat to the U.S. Reading through the document, you can quickly see why. China is making rapid gains on all fronts and across all sectors. INCREASING CHINESE MILITARY MIGHT Militarily, the PLA Navy and Air Force are already the largest in the region and continue to field advanced platforms rapidly. The I.C agreed that “the PLA Rocket Force’s (PLARF) short-, medium-, and intermediate-range conventional systems probably already can hold U.S.


Shock attack on the Nigerian Defence Academy

The NDA Attack is shocking because the military is held to a higher standard. One of the worse duties to be assigned during Air Force military bootcamp was Guard Duty! Oh, it was horrible. The instructors were purposely mean, menacing and intimidating. They yelled at you, called you all sorts of names, threw things at you and came close to wiping your face with the floor. What was your sin? Insisting that they show you a valid ID card before you let them in. If you managed to stand your ground in spite of their intimidation tactics, they would eventually show you their ID… which often signified you had passed the test. The drill instructors would show up in the middle of the night and if the trainees on guard duty had fallen asleep, their Air Force career would be over even before it began. Falling asleep on duty is the worst possible sin to commit in the U.S military. This was part of the training. They would later go on to explain that the adversary who is trying to gain access into a facility you are guarding will be a lot worse when they show up with their guns. These are basic military lessons which are drilled into our psyche from the start to ensure that soldiers, airmen and sailors are held to a higher standard than the average person. Attention to detail is vital. Staying awake is crucial. These two things can be a matter of national embarrassment, life and death Knowing this, is why hearing about the Nigerian Defense Academy attack is embarrassing and unforgiving. They are held to higher standard than the average institution, village or community. That region of Kaduna has been a hotspot for kidnap and abductions for a while. Any intelligence analyst or even commentator could’ve seen the attack coming. All one had to do was follow the trends. The attackers always show up at night, in military gear, armed, on motorcycles. In addition, they were running out of targets since other schools in the areas had closed and villagers had probably fled the vicinity due to these same abduction attacks. The NDA base officials should’ve seen it coming. The early warning signs were everywhere. More details about the attack are emerging, but from the information released so far: the base was attacked around 0100hrs, in military camouflage (which likely aided their escape in the terrain), they looked for a blind spot along the perimeter boundary (no guards, no cameras and high shrubbery ideal for hiding) and broke through the iron fence to gain access into the facility. Upon gaining access, they attacked five apartments, injured a number of persons, killed 2 officers, abducted one, and the military quick response team did not show up until the attackers had already fled the base with their victim. Initial reports say that 200 million Naira was requested as ransom for the abducted victim. Several hours later, other reports revealed that he had been killed. It is unclear why he would have been killed. It is possible he was uncooperative and fought back (it is what a soldier would do), which typically ends up fatal for victims if their unsuccessful. But there could be many other reasons including he might have been injured and was slowing them down, or perhaps they were just trying to send a message and killed him out of revenge. We won’t know for sure until the autopsy is carried out and investigations are concluded. However, it is important to delve into what went wrong and how can this be prevented in the future. In security, there is something called Crime Prevention through environmental design which refers to a design principle used to discourage crime. If we evaluate the environmental design of the NDA, we will find that there were some vulnerabilities there. There are two principles of CPTED that we could briefly explore here. First is Territorial Reinforcement which involves the use of boundary markers to show clear lines between the general public and the organization’s grounds. This is done through the use of fences, hedges, signages or a combination. The second is Natural surveillance which involves arranging the property for maximum visibility. It prevents criminals from easily hiding or escaping. The vast surroundings of the facility make it difficult to ensure maximum visibility everywhere. But there are additional steps that can be taken to ensure this is covered. Having signs all-around the perimeter fence warning of consequences of unauthorized entry often serves as a deterrent to would-be criminals. Also, having lower shrubs and adequate lighting for better visibility. Installing functional CCTV cameras for surveillance and having sensors that alert the monitoring team if there has been a perimeter breach. Now let’s go on to the human elements that caused the breach. There is no point of having CCTV cameras or guards if no one is keeping watch. I’ve touched earlier on the importance of staying awake while on guard duty. Having a team who is watching the surveillance for the purpose of responding is imperative. They must do everything to stay awake. Chug coffee (or eat bitter cola), walk around the room, do everything to stay awake. One of the major weak point in all of this, is the emergency response capability. The whole purpose of having these layers of defense security is to be able to spot a problem or an intrusion and immediately react to it. Reports indicate that the military’s response team was not able to quickly mobilize and intercept the attackers while they were still going from house to house. Knowing this brings some level of understanding as to why the military has also been unable to respond to similar abduction attacks on schools in the vicinity. Although, civil police should technically be responsible for responding to attacks within the community. Either way, the current response capability of the government security agencies in the area is poor and this must be fixed. There are certainly



According to the Collins English Dictionary, a state of siege is a situation in which a government or other authority puts restrictions on the movement of people into or out of a country, town or building. Under the country’s constitution, the president can declare either a state of emergency or a state of siege if severe circumstances immediately threaten the independence or integrity of the national territory. To this effect, The Democratic Republic of Congo announced a state of siege in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the east of the country following an unprecedented number of recurring cases of tension, insecurity and civilian massacres by armed groups on Friday, 30 April 2021 for a renewable period of 30 days. A DEEP-ROOTED RESOLUTION? Since November 2019, more than 1,000 civilians have been killed in the Beni territory located in North Kivu province alone, in attacks attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group that recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Entrusting the military with the administration of these provinces that have been taken over by insecurity is not ideal given the state of structural and functional shake in which the Congolese army In a region where more than 122 armed groups are active and where displaced persons and refugees number in the millions, it takes more than just a siege to repel attacks and restore peace. With the extension of the state of siege on Monday 3 May 2021, the duration and steps to be taken next under the state of siege have remained unclear. DOUBLE STANDARDS? In the North Kivu region, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) has been conducting large-scale military offensives since Thursday 31 October 2019, following on from Operation Sokola 1, which was launched in January 2014 in the Beni territory against the ADF rebels, and Sokola 2, which targets the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR). However, the move to put military and police officers in jobs usually performed by civilians has faced criticism because the Congolese army has often been seen as part of the conflict as they have allegedly provided arms and other support to rebel movements it is an exceptional period which restricts citizens’ rights and liberty, such as free movement, expression, right to demonstrate which is a move that can have serious consequences on the daily life of the population.” NO PEACE IN SIGHT In the village of Chani-Chani in North-Kivu province, at least 15 bodies were discovered by the DRC armed forces (FARDC) on the spot after an attack by the ADF. Also, in the village of Boga in neighbouring Ituri province, at least seven civilians were killed in an armed attack. The attack on Boga came after it was on Monday 31 May 2021 invaded by members of the ADF, killing more than 50 civilians. One month after the state of siege, 157 people have been murdered, 32 people have been kidnapped and several arson attacks have been recorded. With the increased attacks in Ituri and North-Kivu provinces and the deplorable casualties recorded, there is no peace in sight.


The Spillover Effects Of Activities Of Nigeria Based Forces (Boko Haram) On The Security Of South-east Diffa Region.

The Diffa region located in the south-east part of Niger republic has been a victim of terrorist attacks and one of the major groups which plague the region are the Nigerian based forces (Boko Haram). The insurgence of the incursions in the region could be attributed to the fact that the region shares a border with Borno state (Nigeria) a state which has been immensely troubled by Boko Haram activities. Further Intel highlighted another reason why activities of the faction are predominant in the region is that the movement has built up Diffa as a refuge, and recruitment centre. Since 2015, sustained efforts by the Chadian, Nigerian and Nigerien troops to halt the Boko Haram activities have yielded little results. So far the region has noted the highest number of terrorist attacks in 2021 as statistics show about 30.85% of the attacks have been in Diffa while the Tillaberi and Niamey regions follow with 23.4% and 21.28% respectively. According to security reports, the three major departments in the Diffa region namely Maine-Soroa, N’guigmi, and Diffa region have conceded numerous attacks by Boko Haram and are highly susceptible to continued attack.  Between January and may 2021 Diffa department conceded approximately 30 major attacks this is why the department had been tagged as a hotspot for terrorist activities. The major impacts of incessant attacks in the region include; The mass displacement of inhabitants. Internally displaced persons (IDP) in the Diffa region as of April 2021 was approximately 11,887 in total. Intercommunal clashes and aggravated violence: The formation of self-defence groups, which have encouraged violence, and arbitrate community conflicts that fuel the recruitment of armed groups, Economic development has been crippled owing to the endless attacks targeted at farming agriculture which is the major source of income for the region. Similarly, incursions by Boko Haram elements constantly spike inter-communal clashes and aggravated violence over access to resources which has become limited to a large extent. In all, the Diffa region is extremely volatile and highly susceptible to repeated attacks by Boko Haram, ISWAP and Non-state armed groups.



Amidst the number of challenges faced by the G5 Sahel countries, the growing threats of terrorism and organized crimes have long been rooted across the countries – Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, and Burkina Faso. Although known to be a stable country in terms of security, Burkina Faso is said to have changed when Islamist armed groups operating in the neighboring countries, Mali and Niger infiltrated the country, thus leading it to a severe security crisis. The landlocked Sahel country of over 20 million people has been under the siege of terrorist attacks since 2015. This has negatively affected the state of affairs of its 13 regions. Figure 1: Map showing the rate of terrorist activities and actors involved in the Est region of Burkina Faso between 2018-2021 The Northern and Eastern regions have been the most affected by violence perpetrated by Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs) which have left many dead and displaced. The five provinces of the Eastern region – Gnagna, Gourma, Komondjari, Kompienga, and Tapoa, have witnessed repeated attacks by the NSAGs in the villages. Terrorism in this region has created so much insecurity, ranging from food, shelter and health. Many are made to flee their homes and farmlands due to violence. Several schools have been shut down due to terrorism. As of 14 May 2021, a total number of 2,235 schools were closed owing to the resurgence of terrorist attacks. The Eastern region was among the affected regions with a total number of 568 schools closed.  According to the findings of the country’s National Council for Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation (CONASUR) in August 2020 reports, more than a million people were internally displaced by the upsurge of violence in the country and this led to the increase of humanitarian needs.   According to the 2018 country’s report on terrorism by the U.S. Department of State actors involved are  “individuals affiliated with the Ansarul Islam, ISIS in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS), and Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) – the umbrella group that formed after the Sahara Branch of al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Murabitoun, Ansar al-Dine, and the Macina Liberation Front.’’ “Since the end of 2018, an explosion of violence tied to the presence of jihadist groups has shaken Eastern Burkina Faso, an area of the country that had until then remained relatively spared of such violence.” (Quidelleur, 2020). The root of the increased and unprecedented security crisis has been linked to the absence of the government in some localities, a weak judicial system, as well as political and economic marginalization which exist in the country. This paved the way for free movement of the Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs) in the different areas of the region like the Tanwalbougou, Matiacoali, Kodyel, Kompienga etc. thereby making the inhabitants, as well as security forces daily targets of terrorist activities. The 2018 terrorist incidents according to the country report of terrorism by the US Department of State indicated an estimate of 150 terrorist attacks across the country, primarily in the northern and eastern regions, and the incidents included targeted assassinations, kidnapping, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devises (VBIEDs), and attacks on schools, security outposts, police stations, and barracks. While the military struggles to stem the violence which has plagued parts of Burkina Faso, a law was adopted in early 2020, which allows the recruitment of civilian volunteers known as the ‘ Volunteer for the Defense of the Homeland’ (VDP) to act as auxiliaries in the fight against terrorist activities. Its (VDP) establishment followed the deadly ambush perpetrated by armed men against a convoy transporting workers in November 2019 in Boungou, a town in the Gnagna province of the eastern region. Characterized as one of the deadly attacks of the time, it left about 37 civilians dead and more than 60 wounded. The East region of Burkina has long become a hotspot for terrorist attacks, although measures have been taken to curb the security threats which have affected the region and the country at large, violent extremism still maintains a high-risk rating in the region which has been under a state of emergency since 2019. Other less stable regions in the country are likely to become prey to a surge in terrorist assaults if heightened security measures are not put in place. Consequently, the reinforcement of the government security forces is highly necessary to guarantee intense and steady counter-terrorism operation and vigilance across all the villages where the absence of law enforcement officials have contributed immensely to the incursion of armed men. Also, the issue with the absence of the state in many localities should be addressed as the terrorist groups are likely to continue to exploit the tension between the government and the people. Figure 2: Map illustrating terrorist attacks in the five provinces of the Est region in 2021


Africa – A Soft Landing for ISIL [A Proactive Response]

UK based Counter Terrorism Expert David Otto, Director of TGS Intelligence Consultants Ltd & Founder of Step In – Step Out (SISO), delivered lectures on Defence Against Terrorism at NATO School Oberammergau Germany. Delivering his lectures, Mr David Otto urged senior military trainees, NCOs and Civilian equivalents from a selected number of NATO States and partner Nations to keep a cautious eye on the changing environment in global jihadist group location, tactics and network with particular reference to the relationship between Daesh in Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin , Al Shabaab in East Africa , Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) & Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) amongst others. Otto who is also the Senior Counter Terrorism Advisor for Global Risk International UK LTD maintained that the current Kinetic pressure on Daesh in Raqqa and Mosul by coalition forces will not only result in a ’balloon effect’ displacement, but may likely force desperate ‘Foreign Fighters’ to seek for alternative operating environments in other safe Daesh Wiyalats outside Syria and Iraq. “For the first time since splitting from Al-Qaeda in Iraq Jabhat al- Nusra and the declaration of the so called ‘Caliphate’ by the self-declared Caliph Abu Bakr Al- Baghdadi in June 2014. Daesh is experiencing its worst defeat in the hands of the coalition forces in their strongest holds of Mosul and Raqqa. Daesh has three natural options, either fight, flight or freeze. Their fighters are not trained to freeze or surrender. Daesh will continue to engage in Jihad, however in the circumstances, the remaining leadership, will consider relocation, preferably somewhere they have a formidable Wiyalat where they will be able to re-strategies, get resources, recruit, rearm and mount a different strategy not seen before – perhaps the use of Chemical or Biological agents for maximum effect.” On the question of what Jihadist groups could provide Daesh needed support in trouble times like this, Otto said; “Looking at the recent upsurge in Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab attacks against hard and soft targets in Nigeria and Somalia, and the activities of the Maute group & Abu Sayed in the Philippines, there are two possible ways this may play out for Daesh. First, by carrying out multiple and continuous deadly attacks against hard military coalitions, it appears these Daesh Wiyalats are putting themselves forward as alternative ‘Caliphate’ to Mosul and Raqqa. These jihadist groups are showing Daesh leadership their resilience and willingness to continue the global Jihad against the near and far enemy and create a safe space for fleeing jihadist. Alternatively, the current upsurge may be a direct call by Daesh leadership itself to all its Wilayats to carry out deadly and continuous attacks to act as a distraction tactic to coalition forces who are bent on retaking Mosul and Raqqa by all means” Otto Continued “What is certain is that we shall see an increase in disillusioned and blood thirsty foreign fighters returning ‘home’ and either perform Jihad immediately on successful arrival at home soil – like the Manchester Arena bomber, Salman Abedi or become sleeper cells only to strike at unexpected moments with unexpected tactics when directed to do so by what will be left of Daesh leadership command. Other more active Jihadist who find no possibilities of going back home due to high security alert or other practical reasons may embark on joining other wilayats where they can easily blend with the local population and other jihadist to continue their Jihad. As ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ What we may not likely see is a ‘white European Jihadist’ from the battle field of Syria or Iraq joining Boko Haram ranks in Northern Nigeria for example. Such a Jihadist may likely find ease joining the likes of AQIM in Algeria or Mali, AQAP in Yemen or Somalia based Al-Shabaab, which provides an environment they may easily blend with lookalike local fighters, as seen in the infamous case of British born Samantha Lewthwaite (White Widow) who joined the Al-Shabaab ranks and allegedly marrying Al -Shabaab terror Chief Sheikh Hassan Maalim”. A global coordinated effort with NATO playing a key role alongside the UN, Interpol, European Union, and Africa Union needs to watch for the influx of Daesh/ISIS fighters making their way to Africa and beyond in need for a “soft landing” and haven. Mr. Otto’s lectures included the models that articulate different types of insurgencies that survive and proliferate throughout Africa and Middle East as well as coordinated anti-terrorism and counterterrorism strategies to effectively combat terrorist motivation, recruitment models, radicalization stages and their identification. Attendees from the seminar had rave reviews for Mr. Otto: “This is exactly what we have been looking for,” said one of the trainees who opted to remain anonymous for security reasons, “where these radicalized fighters are going is where we need to focus our  prevent and intelligence resources and by proactively engaging the local communities that will give them a home, whoever wins the trustfirst, wins the fight, we are in a race of time.” Mr. Otto added, “By integrating sound technology and traditional intelligence collection techniques into the Anti-Terrorism model advocated by SISO, identification, disengaging and deradicalizing these fighters is a manageable process with the right structures and expertise. This is doable now, with minor adjustments to existing strategy. Clearly a different approach is needed, and the timing is right for NATO and other strategic partners to make great strides in applying the techniques and models in this course to effect significant change in the Anti-Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism strategies to get the most desirable results – less insurgency and more long –term peace and stability.” To solve the problem right, you must first solve the right problem.


Military Soldiers Were Selling Arms and Ammunition to Boko Haram- That May Also Explain the numerous military uniforms used by criminals to carryout crime across the country

Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, the theatre commander in north-eastern Nigeria, told a news conference on Thursday that military authorities have confirmed that some soldiers were selling arms and ammunition to Boko Haram. He called it a betrayal of the Nigerian people. He gave no more details.  The admission comes three weeks after the Nigerian army said a military tribunal is trying 16 officers and troops accused of offenses related to the fight against Boko Haram, including the theft and sale of ammunition. A soldier on the frontline of the fight told The Associated Press that his brigade commander is among officers standing trial at the court-martial in this north-eastern city, which is being held in secret. He said the army is investigating what happened to 21 anti-aircraft guns assigned this year to his artillery brigade. – AP This situation shows a large scale lack of patriotism which unfortunately, is the one prevalent sentiment across the entire country. In addition to investigating the supply of arms and ammunition, the military must also do more to track and prevent their uniforms from flooding the society. Recent trends indicate that more and more criminals and crimes across the country are being perpetrated by individuals in military uniforms.   Boko Haram Factions Are Fighting Themselves There is said to be in-fighting among the two Boko Haram factions: The Shekau faction and the ISIS-backed al-Barnawi faction. According to sources, “The Barnawi faction launched an offensive against the Shekau faction who were camped in the villages of Yele and Arafa. In Yele, the assailants killed three people from the Shekau camp, injured one and took one with them, while several were killed in Arafa. Fighters from Barnawi camp had the previous day attacked gunmen loyal to Shekau in Zuwa village in nearby Marte district, killing an unspecified number. The Barnawi fighters told villagers after each attack that they were fighting the other camp because they had derailed from the true jihad and were killing innocent people, looting their property and burning their homes, they said such acts contravene the teachings of Islam and true jihad.”. Other sources stated that there was a similar in-fighting among the two Boko Haram camps two weeks ago. “There was a fierce gun battle in the Abadam area of Borno state, near the border with Niger, where Shekau’s fighters were routed, it was a deadly fight and Shekau’s fighters were forced to flee. Hundreds of residents of the villages and their herds taken hostage by the fleeing fighters were allowed to go about their normal lives by the Barnawi faction. It is possible that this infighting is taking place as a result of the fatal strikes against Shekau which has rendered his followers devoid of a leader. Al-Barnawi may be taking advantage of this void to defeat Shekau’s followers once and for all, show mercy to the locals thereby winning their support, and establish himself and his group as the true followers of Islam.


South Africa: Much Ado About Nothing

Just because a certain country has not been attacked doesn’t mean that it is safe. Gone are the days of neutrality, terrorists are willing to carry out attacks whether or not a country fights against terrorists or claims to be neutral. South Africa believes its long standing neutral foreign policy on global security is what will continue to protect it from terrorist attacks which seem to be sweeping the continent. Nigerian newspapers reported that The Nigerian Minister of Defense confirmed South Africa was deploying its special forces to the country to help fight against Boko Haram. In less than 24 hours, the Chief of the South African National Defence Force released a statement calling the reports “reckless and unfortunate”, reiterating that “there was no such decision to send any military elements by the RSA to assist with the fight against Boko Haram”. Now I’m not sure what is more disappointing, the fact that South Africa was quick to let us know that they do not intend to help Nigeria with the Boko Haram issues being faced despite acting like they are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the country, or the immediate apprehension displayed by South African security and defense analysts. Chief of South African National Defence Force, General Zakaria Shoke and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin during a courtesy visit in Abuja,  March 2016.  “The Chief of South African National Defence Force promised to support Nigeria in its quest to end Boko Haram in the country.  General Shoke further maintained his Armed Forces commitment to the development of the Nigerian military in the area of capacity building, exchange programme and logistics support, among others. He said Nigeria is very important to South Africa, hence the need to working together for the benefit of both countries, especially now when Nigeria is fighting Boko Haram.” – Source: Defense Info   After Nigerian newspapers quoted the Minister and released that headline, SA security analysts were quick to spell out the implications of SA involving itself with Boko Haram. Their argument was that Boko Haram is the West African branch of ISIS and if South Africa is seen as taking sides, they risk their country and their other foreign interests being attacked by ISIS which already has been proven to be present in South Africa. The first thought that came to mind after reading those reactions was that if South Africa was indeed attacked by ISIS, it won’t be because they were doing the right thing standing in solidarity with their fellow Africans in combating terrorism on the continent. It will be because they didn’t effectively tackle the already existing threat of ISIS on their own soil! Perhaps the analysts forgot that South African Mercenaries did fight Boko Haram in Nigeria and that didn’t lead to an ISIS attack in their country or any of their other economic interests in the country. South Africa out of the Running to be Africa’s Military Super power It turns out South Africa is dealing with its own defense personnel and resource constraints. The budget for South African National Defence Force was slashed and an editor of the African Defence Review remarked that “We don’t have the budget, we don’t have the capacity and frankly we don’t have the experience in training forces to fight 21st century terrorism. The American, British or even French have operational experience in this”. The above remark would have been a more sensible primary response to the false news of South Africa deploying Special Forces. Quite frankly, Nigeria has a lot more experience in fighting an insurgency and at this rate, the Nigerian Armed forces might as well start lending its counter-terrorism knowledge and skills to other African nations, including South Africa who may be needing our help soon if they do not actively work towards dismantling and disrupting the ISIS threat on their soil. A few years ago, South African defence forces were sent to Central African Republic to provide protection to the then President Bozize as well as to provide military training to the CAR’s army. The SA troops were over run by the rebels, who killed about 13 South African soldiers. South Africa has continually shied away from involving itself in Africa’s troublesome conflict zones and this lack of experience has prevented them from being the continent’s military leader. South Africa does have advanced military weapon systems that Nigeria military may procure which will mean that the extent of South African Defence activity in Nigeria will be training on how to use the procured weapons systems. Nigeria is better off receiving training from other countries that are actively combating terrorism, and with the level of experience the country has on that matter, it should begin to see and position itself as one of the leading authorities on the continent when it comes to fighting an insurgency.


New service chiefs showing signs of knowledge, discipline, dedication and collaboration

End Insurgency in 3 months- Buhari Orders service chiefs PMB decorated the new service chiefs and gave them a directive to end all activities of BH in 3 months. A lot of discussions and questions have been asked over the timeline given to the service chiefs by the president. The fact is that a lot of progress can be accomplished within 90 days. Within that time frame, BH’s operational capabilities can be severely weakened. Land they occupied can be retaken, their safe havens can be thoroughly cleared out, their supply chain can be permanently interrupted, and counter IED strategies can be implemented resulting in defeating the IED menace. All these things put together can deal a severe blow to the insurgent group. That being said, the insurgency as a whole cannot be brought to an end within 3 months. For this to happen, country’s security apparatus will have to overhaul their strategies and adapt their mode of operation to counter-terrorism fight. Increased information sharing, cross agency collaboration, ongoing intelligence collection and fusion, and rapid information dissemination, have to be in place before Nigeria defeat the insurgency. New NSA, Service Chiefs Visit Borno There are already signs of renewed strategies and dedication amongst the newly appointed heads of the various security agencies. First of all, the heads of the security chiefs visited Borno which shows a detour from business as usual. They showed a level of awareness and understanding of counter insurgency when they begun by asking the people of Borno for forgiveness and collaboration in sharing information. It is going to take a lot more than apologies for the Nigerian military to regain the trust of the people of North-East Nigeria. In the past after community residents collaborated with the military and ousted out BH members, they were then left to protect themselves from the inevitable reprisal BH attacks.  In fact, on a few occasions, the military troops themselves carried out the reprisal attacks on members of the community. There was one reported instances where BH attacked a community and fighters from both sides were killed, the Nigerian military was said to have returned to the community and killed a number of innocent civilian males, in retaliation for their slain comrades. Despite the above, there appears to be renewed trust in the military lately as is evident in the recent actions of the civilian militias who now confidently go on the offensive against BH knowing that military back up is available. For instance, the CJTF this week fought bravely when BH militants stormed Lahou village, resulting in 17 EKIA. While the service chiefs appearing in Borno which has been the hot bed of the insurgency further solidifies the commitment of the force, other services such as the Air Force has stepped up their operations as well. This week, the AF deployed additional combat platforms for the counter insurgency fight. Earlier this month, PMB had stated that the air force was non-existent. But not long after that comment, the Nigerian Air Force successfully uncovered a major BH supply location. After several weeks of aerial reconnaissance, the NAF carried out airstrikes in BH’s safe haven the Sambisa Forest. PMB believed the NAF was in a sorry state, when instead, the leadership of the NAF was more likely the fault of the ineffective organization. BH Leadership still operational and attacks are ongoing An existing leadership or lack thereof, is vital to the success of any group or organization. Lately, there were several speculations about the leadership of BH as new videos sufficed sans the group’s known leader Abubakar Shekau. While analysts are still waiting to get a confirmation on the fate of the leader, the President of Chad Idriss Deby claimed this week that BH is no longer led by Abubakar Shekau and that his successor was called Mahamat Daoud and was open to talks. The group last week released a gruesome video in which an unidentified young man stated that he was speaking in the name of Islamic State in West Africa and indicated that the group was still operating stronger and unobstructed. Based on this action, claims that BH is now ready to negotiate are contradictory and more than likely fallacious. Adequate intelligence gathering including the use of HUMINT and COMINT reports would have given the military confirmation on the status of Shekau. So far, the military has not denied or confirmed the fate of Shekau which could indicate that they like the rest of the civilian population wait to hear publicly from Shekau to confirm his status. By the end of last week, an audio recording was released by a person claiming to be Abubakar Shekau. The last time Nigerian military authorities under GEJ claimed Shekau was dead; he appeared in a video to prove otherwise. The leader opting for an audio status confirmation is slightly questionable. Either way, BH under the leadership of Shekau does not appear to be ready to give up their arms and negotiate. BH members attacked a community in the outskirts of Maiduguri, killing 6 and abducting 4 women. They were also said to have carted away livestock and foodstuff possibly replenishing what they have lost. A major attack this reporting period, bearing the tactics of BH, resulted in the death of about 50 civilians when a bomb that was emplaced in Sabon Gari Market along Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu highway exploded around 1.15pm, peak trading time. The bomb was concealed in a crop spraying backpack, smuggled into the market and abandoned there. The time of the day led to higher casualties. Past attacks in Sabon Gari, Damboa LGA, Borno State BH has been increasing the amount of suicide bombings and IED attacks which analysts believe is indicative of a frustrated group trying to mimic strength. Indeed, what we are seeing is a group that has changed its own tactics and techniques to adapt to the military’s new offensive strategy. They realize that operating as a symmetric army occupying land, makes them easier targets for aerial bombardment.

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