Bulwark Intelligence




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.



To penalize Russia for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the west responded with a barrage of sanctions to restrict its capability to fund the war and straiten its political and economic elite. Since the sanctions began, gas prices have soared in Europe, Africa and other parts of the world, underscoring the strategic relevance of Russia. The prices of food worldwide have reached an all-time high as it is affected by disruption in the energy and agricultural sector both of which Russia and Ukraine are integral. Amidst these troubling happenings across the world, the Russian rouble is appreciating against the Dollar in an unexpected twist. The rouble, though at the receiving end of a western boycott and an onslaught of sanctions, is rising like a phoenix from the ashes. And it has in fact been declared the World Best Performing Currency. The sanctions have backfired and have proved to be counterintuitive. A case in point is the west paying increased energy prices created by its sanctions on Russia. Some analysts posit that as long as the sanctions persist on Russia; disrupting oil supply and triggering high prices, Moscow would continue to earn more than enough to fund its war because it’s fundamentally an energy economy. The USA sold the world an optical illusion that its sanctions were going to force Russia to withdraw troops or at least bring Putin to the negotiating table cap in hand, but the prevailing reality sharply contrasts this. Russia isn’t backing down and the effect of its recalcitrance is global. It is now audible to the deaf and visible to the blind that global sanctions against a country (Russia) that controls the energy reserves of Europe were not only indicative of tunnel vision but also a bad idea. Nevertheless, the sanctions aren’t without effect in Russia, Putin himself describes the sanctions imposed by the US, EU and their allies as a ‘premeditated hit to the entire domestic economy, to the social humanitarian sphere, to every family, every citizen of Russia’. His sensationalism aside, Moscow is weathering the storm. Why is the Rouble appreciating? The Russian rouble is strengthening primarily due to oil and gas revenue. Russia demanded EU countries pay for natural gas with the rouble and countries like Germany and Italy have complied by opening rouble accounts to purchase Russian gas. Russian central bank also imposed capital controls mandating foreign firms to exchange some of their earnings for the rouble. To give the rouble firm support, Russia pegged the currency with gold as a firm backing to withstand shocks. Now, besides raising rates and forcing companies to buy roubles, Moscow limited the number of dollars that Russians could withdraw from foreign-currency bank accounts and prohibited banks from selling foreign currencies to customers. However, Russia can’t import from the west due to its sanctions. Is the Dollar Threatened? The dominance of the dollar can be traced to the fact that it’s the world’s global reserve currency (meaning it’s the currency in which most international goods are priced and which most central banks hold in their foreign reserves). The dollar is also the global currency of oil trade. Hence, the term “petrodollar”, connoting the global practice of exchanging oil for US dollars, rather than any other currency. By driving Russia into China’s camp the US is unwittingly upending the U.S. dollar-based financial system because, during the recent BRICS Summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the five-member economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – plan to issue a “new global reserve currency”. In Putin words “The matter of creating the international reserve currency based on the basket of currencies of our countries is under review,” he further adds “We are ready to openly work with all fair partners,”. Additionally, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are considering joining the BRICS group. Analysts believe the BRICS move to create a reserve currency is an attempt to undermine the US dollar and the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights. The primacy of the Dollar is being challenged, only time will tell the consequences of this. Can the US balance punish Russia by not encouraging the more widespread adoption of rival currencies? What is the Endgame for the USA in this war? President Biden entered the war portraying the veneer that he did not want to make this a contest between the United States and Russia. Rather, he was exuding benevolence by helping a small country put up a spirited defence against invasion by its powerful neighbour. More than 100 days after, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin says “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine,”. This explains why Biden has allocated $10.6 billion in US military aid to Ukraine since the Feb 24 invasion. The package includes surveillance drones, MRAP [mine resistant ambush protected vehicles, anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, machine guns, rifles, ammunition and body armour. Weakening Russia is officially a policy objective of the USA. Hence, heavy funding that has contributed immensely in prolonging the conflict to the detriment of the average Ukrainian. In March, Biden said, “Confrontation between NATO and Russia is World War III, something we must strive to prevent,”. But the actions of the US during the war reveal the downplayed reality that this is a battle for Ukraine in a proxy war between Russia and USA. Weapons shipment in billions of dollars from America to Ukraine can be traced to Washington’s military-industrial complex; an appellation that captures the collaboration between politicians, the military and industries producing platforms and weapons/defence system that allows it to maintain cutting-edge superiority over the world at the same time provide weapons and platforms to friends and allies at a cost. The military-industrial complex not just produces a weapon, it uses them to destroy societies. Russia’s Game Plan Russia has occupied and is in control of those areas of Ukraine’s territories that are rich in natural resources like oil, gas and minerals. Russia would



Intercommunal disputes first appeared in Cameroon’s Far North in 1992 as tensions arose between communities’ native inhabitants over food, land, and water in the Logone-et-Chari department and have lasted till date. Affected areas include the Musgum, Kotoko, and Arabchoua communes, resulting in the displacement of several individuals to Chad. As a result of the absence of major government initiatives to resolve the crisis, terrorists have thus far benefited from Native animosities. Growing conflicts between herders, farmers, and fishermen in Cameroon’s Far North area culminated in a violent uprising that drove thousands of people from their homes in December 2021. Over 43,000 Cameroonian refugees had been registered by UNHCR by February 2022 in neighboring Chad, where registration is still ongoing, while only over 36,000 individuals were still internally displaced within Cameroon following a clash at Moutouroua in Mayo-Kani department on 9 February 2022 between the Mbororos and local farmers were reported at Titingand another at Kotoko in Logone-et-Chari department on 10 February 2022, between the Arabchouas and the Musgums. These conflicts have been in part caused by the rising effects of Boko Haram terrorists among communities and the circulation of firearms in the hands of former rebels, national army members, and smugglers in these communities. Also, the Lake Chad Basin, which has lost more than 90% of its water surface, is thought to be one of the causes of this conflict. The underserved communities struggle with enormous challenges like endemic poverty, inadequate governmental services, and terrorist attacks. In addition, they experience growing environmental degradation, which increases food insecurity and competition for limited resources. Communal conflicts have also surged in parts of the Littoral and Southwest regions, which could be associated with land disputes within the affected localities. Over the past few weeks, the South West Region’s Akwaya department has seen more than 30 deaths as intercommunal violence has increased dramatically. The crisis started when natives of Oliti village in the Akwaya department allegedly attacked Messaga Ekol village on their farms on April 29, 2022, resulting in at least twenty (20) casualties and inciting Messaga Ekol locals to retaliate. 48 hours of massacre ensued on 25 and 26 June 2022 in the Akwaya department, resulting in 20 fatalities. As a result of the recurrent violence, some churches have reportedly been shut down in the area and several villagers fled into neighboring Nigeria. The South West region is still experiencing instability since the conflict’s underlying causes have not been addressed, and the environment there does not support the voluntary, safe, and dignified return of the displaced populations. Due to the evolving terrorism in the Far North and Southwest, the substantial conflicts within these regions should not be undervalued. The periodic conflicts may represent exploratory efforts to assess and sample border fortifications, unintentionally laying the groundwork for later strategic and organized operations by Boko Haram terrorists and separatist fighters to cause more fatalities in these regions, particularly the Mayo-Kani, Logone-et-Chari, and Manyu departments. In order to satisfy prosecutorial concerns, truth-seeking, normalization of relations, and healing of the impacted communities, transitional justice systems are also worth investigating. It might be possible to reduce the desire for intra- and inter-community retaliation by looking into and prosecuting the alleged assailants of attacks, as well as compensating the victims.



Guinea-Bissau is at risk of further political unrest despite the country’s history of instability and the averted attempted coup d’etat in February 2022. Reports of an attack by unknown gunmen at the presidential palace in Bissau went viral on 1 February 2022. Incident reports indicated that President Umaro Sissoco Embaló, Prime Minister Nuno Nabiam and other government officials were held hostage for five hours during a Council of Ministers meeting. The attack resulted in eleven (11) confirmed fatalities. The series of events that ensued from the incident has raised concerns about the actual political and security situation of the country. Security Situation The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) approved the deployment of a stabilization force to Guinea-Bissau during a Summit of Heads of State and Government on 3 February 2022. However, this has been fiercely resisted by other political parties such as the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) claiming that it had not been approved by the National People’s Assembly, the country’s legislative body. The move was also interpreted as a means of imposing authoritarian measures especially as there remain unanswered questions surrounding the attack. Looming Political Instability Within the political scene, the main opposition, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) on several occasions, was prevented by security forces from holding a congress. On 18 March 2022, there was an altercation between members of the party and security forces at its national headquarters resulting in several casualties. Partisans later staged protests to denounce the perceived political repression of their leader Domingos Simões Pereira and the party as a whole. There were also allegations that the COVID-19 state of alert was implemented to stifle the activities of opposition political groups despite a significant decline in infection cases. The shutdown of 79 radio stations, out of the 88 listed per the broadcasting law No. 4/2013 by the government, has also been viewed as a way to restrict freedom of speech. Economic Crisis While the country is yet to recover from the COVID-19 impact, tensions are also rising due to decisions to increase the taxes on citizens as well as the price hikes of basic goods and fuel. It should be noted that Guinea-Bissau imports almost everything and is vulnerable to price fluctuations on global markets, which have seen a continuous rise. Widespread protest and strike actions with the primary focus to denounce unpaid wages in the public sector are also impacting the economy negatively due to the various disruptions that have resulted from these industrial actions. The outlook of Guinea-Bissau remains bleak, owing to structural flaws, a divided parliament, high costs of living, an energy crisis and misgivings of opposition suppression. Therefore, the already challenging business environment could be exacerbated by renewed political instability.



Ukraine has taken centre stage in world affairs due to an invasion by Russia. The ensuing devastation, displacement, propaganda, sanctions, military operations, and nuclear threat speculations evokes strong scare about World War 3 globally. Coveted by the West and intimidated by Russia, Ukraine is a playground for two bullies. The Russian invasion was precipitated by a quest to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) by the leadership of Ukraine. This desire would be negating informal assurances given to Russia during negotiations for the reunification of  Germany in 1989 implying that NATO would not expand eastwards. Political circumstances in Ukraine also make it ineligible to join NATO as its separatist crisis negates two of NATO’s five prerequisites. Before this invasion, Ukraine has been bedevilled by crisis in its eastern region, Donbass, where pro-Russian separatists are seeking political independence. Donbass in eastern Ukraine is home to Luhansk and Donetsk. Two regions recognised as independent by Russia due to their pro-russian sentiments validated through a debatable referendum. Under the pretext of a “special military operation” announced to dispatch troops to protect the Russian minority in Ukraine, Russia invaded Ukraine. Vladimir Putin, a lawyer and ex-KGB officer has been President and Prime Minister of Russia interchangeably in the last two decades. Within that time, USA inspired expansion of NATO into Russia’s sphere of Influence has been in full force despite Putin’s protest. These expansions are designed to whittle down Russia’s clout and the Kremlin has responded by invading and annexing its neighbours, starting with Georgia in 2008 and Crimea in 2014, Putin has pursued annexation as a bulwark against Western influence in Russia’s hemisphere. In 2014 when Russia invaded Crimea (part of Ukraine after the fall of USSR), it came against the backdrop of a US planned regime change in Ukraine. The Maidan “revolution” was a series of protests against the refusal of then Ukrainian President, Victor Yanukovych to sign an agreement for political and economic association with the European Union. The protest lasted for months before a number of violent events involving protesters, riot police and snipers culminated in an ouster and fleeing of the President in February 2014. The USA slyly supported the protests and critiqued the government for its crackdown on protesters, an inkling to the fact that the catalyst for ousting the President was far from organic. It was plotted by the USA as a ploy to take advantage of genuine civil discontent through a false flag operation carried out by well trained CIA snipers described as “unknown shooters” ordered to provoke the Ukrainian police during protest marches. In the midst of the chaos the US propped up a rabid anti-Russian politician and a cabinet selected by the US administration to replace the fallen government. It was essentially the imposition of a pro-western, Russo phobic government in Russian backyard to startle the Kremlin. Feeling outsmarted and thirsty for his own “stake”, In March 2014, Putin decided to invade Crimea and exploit ties with the Russian minority by supporting  separatists agitation in eastern Ukraine as a response. Russian troops invaded and took control of Ukraine’s Crimean region during which a referendum was conducted with two options: Join Russia as a federal subject or restore the 1992 Crimean constitution that gives Crimea special status in Ukraine. A stunning 97% voted to join Russia. One can see a correlation between the results of the referendum and Russian soldiers being in control of public buildings and military installations amidst the vote. Putin’s disapproval of Ukraine’s NATO quest stems from a national security threat point of view, and this is valid. But his response is crude and condemnable, by invading Ukraine to protest its leaning towards NATO, he has endangered the lives of millions of people to register displeasure. Ostensibly, NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance between 28 European countries and 2 North American countries. Established in the aftermath of World War II, the organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April, 1949. In reality, NATO is in essence a military alliance to protect the interests of America and its allies. Putin’s apprehension is fuelled by NATO expansion eastwards since 1995. Ukraine is being enticed by USA to join NATO, neither to make the country more secure nor protect it from Russia but to establish it as a launchpad for proxy aggression and needling against Russia. Nevertheless, Ukraine’s leadership pursues its NATO quest knowing fully well that its proximity to Russia would make the desire a turbulent issue. The leadership of Ukraine ought to be pushing for neutrality but it seems oblivious of this valid lifeline. A sovereign country should have absolute freedom to determine its foreign policy, true. But this statement is quixotic and sharply contrasts the stark realism and power projection of International politics. Ukraine pursuing the neutral ground is not giving up its sovereignty or freedom of association as a country but preventing itself from being the grass that suffers from the squabble of two elephants. Ukrainian President, Mr Zelensky, goofed and failed to use his wit as an ex comedian to remain neutral by avoiding clinging to one side to not incur the wrath of another. The battle for Ukraine as a client state for Russia or USA is a proxy war that was never going to be fought in Moscow or Washington but in Ukrainian cities like Kiev, Odessa and Kharkov as the world witnesses presently. Thorough consideration of the cost and benefits of joining NATO would have saved Ukraine this devastation. Russia’s discomfort with Ukraine joining NATO bears a heavy semblance with the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Where USA brought the world to a brink of nuclear war because the Soviets matched America’s missiles deployment in Italy and Turkey by placing missiles in Cuba, less than 100 miles from the US border. In justifying why the Soviet Union (an American adversary) should not have weapons close to the US,  international relations concepts like “Spheres of Influence” were bandied around self-servingly. Why is the standard



‘Each country in the region has the potential to militarily defeat Boko Haram ISWAP within their boundary, but no single state can defeat them within the region’ In a desperate jihadist survival tactics, Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) have temporarily suspended their bitter rivalry to focus on the regional multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) offensives and the Nigerian Army led offensive in the Lake Chad Basin states.  Credible information confirmed that the temporary jihadist coalition has banned fasting for their fighters; joined battlefield forces with ISIS in Libya and resorted to recruiting child soldiers and suicide bombers to boost battlefield capabilities. This report calls for active regional intelligence, security and military engagement; absolute local vigilance and a sustained regional collaborative effort as part of a joint counter insurgency strategy. Rival jihadist factions loyal to both Abubakar Shekau’s JAS/Boko Haram and ISWAP have tactically regrouped along the fringes of the Lake Chad basin for the first time since major splits. However, the fissure was made worse by continuous land, Aerial and amphibious joint offensives attacks by the regional MNJTF – Nigeria; Chad; Niger and to some extent Cameroon. This was further exacerbated by the ongoing operations by the Nigerian military in some parts of Borno State led by the Army Chief, Lt. Gen Buratai. Ramadan Fasting Suspended To recover lost ground against the continuous huge battlefield deaths of several hundreds of key cell commanders and strongholds along the Lake Chad Basin, the bitter jihadists’ splinter groups have suspended fasting. It was reliably gathered that the respective Shura Councils have waived fasting for all frontline fighters during the Holy Month of Ramadan to muster energy. The jihadists have also adopted an active military style collaborative strategy with a more experienced fighting unit from Libya against the security and armed forces of the regional MNJTF and various countries’ troops. They are regrouping in a manner that is dubbed by reliable sources with knowledge of jihadist activities in the region, as the ‘unholy Ramadan Alliance of regional jihadists.’ The Unholy International Jihadist Alliance. It is believed that ASWAJ is a tactically experienced and deadly terrorist group known to operate under ISIS in Libya. The international jihadist alliance is reported to be merging its combined experienced forces and influence along the banks and islands of the Lake Chad.   The first Lake Chad Basin jihadist coalition reunion was held in mid April 2020. Sources describe the secret meeting as the start of a strategic, spiritual, tactical and operational framework building amongst the various Boko Haram and ISWAP jihadist camps with their new international network. The newly appointed Imam Goni Umar (who succeeded late Mohammed Shuwa, the ISWAP Chief Judge that was killed in an MNJTF aerial strike at Duguri), a leading ISWAP Islamic Scholar and the new Chief Judge is said to have spearheaded the jihadist coalition proceedings. In addition to ISIS in Libya, the unholy union is said to have attracted the presence of other influential and senior ISWAP commanders including one Baba-Kaka, currently the Governor of the Lake Chad general area; Mallam Ibrahim, Abu Imrana, Malam Sa’ad, Abu Abdullahi and Bako Fulgori, among other Boko Haram ISWAP local and regional war lords. The leaked outcome of the meeting has shown that a jihadist coalition is at an advanced stage. The essence is to actualise a common tactical and operational model of launching deadly coordinated attacks on Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chadian military formations within this month of Ramadan. Consequently, this further demonstrates the urgent need for regional states surveillance, awareness, preparedness and response readiness to pre-empt the jihadist coalition.  Jihadist Capacity The jihadists are re-deploying more experienced armed fighters to reinforce strategic locations in the Lake Chad Basin under the command of Baba- Kaka – the governor of the Tumbuns – with an approximate coordinate of …. (Sensitive), Lat. …. (Sensitive), – areas that suffered heavy bombardment by the regional MNJTF. Hence the dire need for the MNJTF to revisit known locations with maximum precision. Some battle experienced jihadist commanders and warlords including one Baba Isa; Abu Imrana; Abduljaleef; and Musa have been placed on standby with hundreds of jihadist fighters in the … Tumbus; Northern side of … village; Gari … located east of … and … – located close to …, respectively. They have an Approximate Cord. Long. 12…. (Sensitive) and Lat. 14… (Sensitive). Jihadist special fighters are known to be camping at… areas in the Tumbun; with an approximate cord. Long. (Sensitive) and Lat… (Sensitive). Many local fishermen who could potentially act as spies have been forced away from key areas. Some of the fishermen, some of whom the jihadist relies on for partial survival and funding activities, have all been resettled in other areas (sensitive). Jihadists’ commanders with deep knowledge of the terrain select hiding locations that are covered with dark “Kangar trees.” Areas that provide access but perfect camouflage for items as large as vehicles to move underneath for miles without detection from State Air-Force and military reconnaissance drones. To create a buffer zone, the jihadists’ militants frequently dig up trenches to shield their locations, leaving one ‘southern side’ open as entry and exit points. In most cases jihadist fortify their bases by burying mines and Improvised Explosive Device (IED’s) in anticipation for unsuspected land attacks from state and regional MNJTF.  These locations are ordinarily hard to locate and access but known routes from sources familiar with these locations can provide an effective planning response for a coordinated regional MNJTF operation. North East Nigeria Boko Haram terrorists’ group leader, Abubakar Shekau JAS faction has joined forces with the faction of Amir Borzogo to strengthen positions in camps under Bama LGA in Borno State and some part of Yobe state. These camps are strategically established to ease abductions, restock food, medical supplies and petroleum products. Jihadist attacks could easily be coordinated along the eastern part of Maiduguri. Other criminal activities include sales and rustling of cattle in Baga cattle markets and income generation through


COVID-19 in Nigeria: Strategic Response Review by Mr Adesina Tiamiyu

I have been worried about the rising case of infection among Nigerians daily and it becomes worrisome that what we thought was a foreign infection has now taken a seat in our country.The Government has done its best to prevent the spread, provide medical care and support for patients. Following on that was the lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and FCT and provision of supports to the vulnerable in our society which is good.The Private sectors have also come to support and we should all commend government as well as all those who support it for doing wonderfully well. However, despite all these, we have been having a steady climb in the rate of infection as community infection has set in coupled with the breakdown of law and other in some areas including the breaking of the lockdown rules. It is because of these that I write to advise the Government to look into the following areas to improve the situation at hand. Nigeria has about 17% of Africa’s population, meaning that about 1.7 million Nigerians are likely to be infected. This is alarming and a concerted effort is needed to defeat this pandemic. Yes government has locked down the country for about four months now but lockdown without testing is a waste. Government need to be aggressive with its testing capacities because the truth is that, the more we test the more we have more cases. Our cases are few today because our tests are few. Let us bring test centers into many communities and equip it to promptly do test rather than asking people to wait until they see symptoms. This will mean some people will be close to dying before they are detected. This must be of high priority. Following on this is the creation of isolation centre to cope with the number of cases that will arise from more testing. Wealthy Nigerians should emulate GTB and other private sector donor.  For instance major event centers can make available their facility to save funds that would have been used to build new ones.Government can then commission Foam manufacturing industries as well as textile companies to come in and provide bed and beddings that will make an isolation or even treatment centers spring up fast. Rather than the 08000CORONA that is confusing even to the literate, what is stopping Lagos state government from using the popular emergency toll free numbers 112/767 which Lagosians are already familiar with? Our cases are few today because our tests are few. All it needs to do is to first put the system in the Call Center in good condition, get medical support staff trained in handling calls dedicated to Covid 19 from where care in form of calming callers down and letting them know help will come.They should also take their details and pass on to field operatives that will immediately swing into action and get to the person. Such field operatives should immediately call the caller back to inform them that they are coming and take further information on the go. This will work better than this new style where existing infrastructure is neglected whereas these are part of the reasons the call centre was set up. Stigmatization is also a very worrying part of the challenge. Mrs. Dafinone is courageous and that won the battle for her. The woman and some other survivors should be used as the face of the next phase of the campaigns and not any other persons who cannot explain the situation. We should know that Covid 19 is not a sexually transmitted disease and anybody can be infected even right in your home if you’re careless. Our people should not stigmatize those infected. They need our love, support and prayers to go through it and win.It is good that government has embarked on various palliative measures to alleviate the sufferings of the less privileged among us and the old and vulnerable. At such sharing centers, what we have are a crowd of unruly people, consisting of mainly young able bodied Nigerians majority of who are not envisaged in this arrangement. No respect for social distancing.Rather than share rice, the food court initiatives will work better but not the way it is being done now where badly prepared and inadequate ration are being served to people like beggars. No respect for social distancing. Rather than share rice, the food court initiatives will work better but not the way it is being done now where badly prepared and inadequate ration are being served to people like beggars. Government should not make emergency millionaires of some people but rather engage reputable and well know eateries with capacities to produce in large numbers, cooked food all over Lagos and therefore get vehicles to take them into centers that should be provided in wards, churches and mosques where those the food are meant for are registered and everybody knows his own centre and the number. If you are not registered in a place, you don’t have any business going there. Daily rations of those who have been registered are taken there daily and any unknown face that shows up is easily identified and taken away. Let us respect the dignity of our people even in this period of national crisis. I also remember that the effect of these lockdown especially on the jobless youths has brought the crime rate to an all time high. Rather than engage these boys in terror for terror as we witness these days when street boys arm themselves in wait for the so called 1 million boys, government can reach them through the Nigeria police and engage them as fumigators, cleaners and gardeners at isolation centers or to follow trucks from the food courts to help share as well as using them to gather intelligence on crime. Those to be used must be quickly trained, well kitted for their assignment, provide them food as well as pay for their services. Some of them will sure get involved and whoever decide


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.


ISIS & Al-Qaeda Tactical Switch Will Impact Terrorist Trends in 2019

Jihadist terrorist groups with a global ‘Caliphate’ agenda operating within Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan with major links to ISIS and Al-Qaeda core leadership networks have switched tactics to focus on winning hearts and minds of the local population at the detriment of security forces tasked to counter these groups. In the Lake Chad region, Boko Haram Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) factions are benefiting from ISIS experienced returning foreign fighters and resources from the ruins of ISIS stronghold in Mosul and Raqqa, creating an environment of absolute fear that enables jihadist to easily win the people’s ‘trust’ required for counter -intelligence led operations and long-term survival. These tactics have left the military and other security services facing regular attacks, placing them in a defensive position. With the massive displacement of surviving ISIS fighters spread across the Middle East, North Africa and the Lake Chad Basin, jihadist attack patterns and methodology has equally changed to more random, unpredictable and disorganized tactics. There have been major changes in selection of targets with a consistent focus on targeting hard security, government and military positions. Strategically, Jihadist groups are creating more avenues to corporate and collaborate for a common interest and a common enemy with other rival jihadist networks and organized criminal networks. The most glaring shift so far is the move away from the tactics of invading, capturing and holding large territory for long to temporal capture, show of force, assure the local population and abandon. These changes in jihadist attack trend, focus, tactics and strategy is a mirror reflection of the absence of an effective and coordinated counter terrorism strategy by security stakeholders. The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) Context: The Number of recorded deaths from terrorist attacks reduced globally in 2017 according to the newly released 2018 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report. Despite the collapse of the so-called Islamic Caliphate stronghold in Raqqa & Mosul, ISIS (Daesh), Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram factions, Al-Shabaab and Taliban remains the deadliest terrorist groups, increasingly coordinating operations, showing signs of forging long term coalitions and changing attack tactics to focus on military and other security hard targets compared to civilian soft targets. The battle ground has equally shifted away from Syria – Iraq towards Africa and Middle East where recruitment and vulnerability drivers are much higher. When compared to terrorist patterns in 2018, the global jihadist threat level for 2019 looks disturbing for Africa and the Middle East with a forecast of further reduced terror related deaths in Europe. The 2018 GTI report by the Institute for Economics and Peace has recorded a 27% decrease in death from terrorist attacks in 2017 compared to 2016. It also cites a reduction from 79 to 77 countries where someone died as a result of a terrorist incident. Attacks and deaths as a result of terrorist incidents in Syria, Iraq and Europe dropped significantly since 2016 and 2017. The Middle East and Africa where Daesh, Boko Haram factions, Taliban, Al-Shabaab and AQIM linked jihadist groups operate recorded more deadly attacks and more casualties than Europe and the rest of the world . Africa and the Middle East regions remain the most vulnerable and unstable in the world as a coalition of ISIS and Al-Qaeda Jihadist groups linked to organized criminal networks are becoming more strategic, choosing to focus less on number of attacks and more on the significance and long-term impact of targets. The 2018 GTI report should not be read as an indicator of reduced global terrorism threats but a calculated jihadist change of strategy and other challenging factors. Understanding the displacement and balloon effect will shed light on the increase terror related incidents in Africa and the Middle East. The ‘Balloon Effect’ and How It Reduced Jihadist Casualties in 2017: The level and nature of terrorist related attacks leading to mass casualties dropped significantly for the first time especially in Iraq and Syria (Deaths fell by 52 percent – incidence by 22%) after the slow but steady collapse of ISIS strongholds in Raqqa and Mosul in 2017. That pattern has continued in 2018 although a small number of remaining Daesh fighters continue to launch hit and run attacks against hard military and security targets in Syria and Iraq. The fall of ISIS Caliphate to US-Russia backed coalitions led to a balloon effect to parts of Middle East and Africa particularly in Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, Mali, Northern Nigeria and Somalia. In Sub Saharan Africa and the Sahel, Al-Qaeda and Daesh backed affiliates Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM or “The Group For The Support of Islam and Muslims”, Boko Haram ISIS faction (Islamic State of West Africa Province – ISWAP) AQIM and Al-Shabaab have benefitted from experienced returning foreign fighters (RFF) and specialized resource networks from the ruins of the so-called ISIS Caliphate. The demise of Mosul and Raqqa left thousands of surviving Daesh experienced fighters looking for alternative safe haven to restart their campaign. Daesh leadership negotiated its way out of the left-over ruins from Raqqa and Mosul, moving its remaining fighters with weapons across the borders of Turkey, North Africa and the Middle East. Some of the surviving hardened RFFs (with their families) smuggle themselves across borders using false identifications to return to their countries of origin. FFRs and their families who could not return to their country of origin for fear of facing the justice system or they were simply not welcome back, diverted to other countries in Africa, the Middle and Europe where some joined ISIS Wiyalats in environments they could blend without suspicion. The logistics period required for ISIS planning and preparation to move hundreds of thousands of their men with families, weapons and other resources to link up with other ISIS networks in selected regions in Africa, the Middle East and Asia created a gap period of reduced terror related attacks in 2017-2018. The time required for Returning Foreign Fighters (RFFs) to familiarize in their new theatre of operation, may account for some reduced


Global Terror Deaths Down But Jihadist Threat Levels Increase For ME & Africa – 2019 Is The Battle of Hearts and Minds.

Introduction: Recorded deaths from terrorist attacks may have reduced globally in 2017 according to the newly released 2018 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report but terrorism and insurgency groups are becoming more organised, coordinated and focusing on winning hearts and minds of the local population than ever before. The Middle East and Africa remain the most vulnerable and unstable region in the world as a coalition of ISIS and Al-Qaeda Jihadist groups linked to organised criminal networks are becoming more strategic, choosing to focus less on number of attacks and more on the significance and long term impact of targets. The 2018 GTI report should not be misconstrued as an indicator of reduced terrorism threats globally but rather a jihadist change of strategy, challenges in recording death from terrorist attacks , selective media reporting and global terrorism fatigue. The 2018 GTI report by the Institute for Economics and Peace has recorded a 27% decrease in death from terrorist attacks in 2017 compared to 2016. It also cites a reduction from 79 to 77 countries where someone died as a result of a terrorist incident. Attacks and deaths as a result of terrorism in Syria, Iraq and Europe dropped significantly since 2016. North, Central, Sub Saharan Africa and the Sahel where Boko Haram factions , Al-Shabaab and AQIM linked jihadist groups operate recorded more attacks and more casualties than anywhere else in the world . Taking into context attack patterns in 2018 , what explains the 2017 drop in the number of terror related death and has Africa become a fertile ground for Global Jihadist to settle after the fall of Raqqa and Mosul? The Balloon Effect – From Raqqa & Mosul to Middle East and Africa: The level and nature of attacks leading to mass casualties may have dropped in Iraq and Syria after the slow but steady collapse of ISIS strongholds in Raqqa and Mosul between 2016 & 2017. The eventual collapse led to a balloon effect in parts of Middle East and Africa particularly in Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, Mali, Northern Nigeria and Somalia by Boko Haram ISIS faction (Islamic State of West Africa Province – ISWAP) AQIM and Al-Shabaab Al-Qaeda branch. The demise of Mosul and Raqqa did not lead to the disappearance of surviving ISIS fighters into thin air – the leadership negotiated its way out of the ruins, moving its remaining fighters across Turkey, Libya, Lake Chad and the Sahel region. The transitional gap of moving hundreds of men and resources to link up with other ISIS networks like ISWAP , time required for new arrivals to understand the theatre of operation , may account for some reduced terrorist activities and deaths immediately after the collapse of Raqqa and Mosul in 2017. Compared to current activities in 2018, the balloon effect has its greatest impact in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel where experienced foreign fighters Returnees have joined ranks with ISWAP and other existing AQ and Al-Shabaab networks. These African based Jihadist groups are benefiting from the experience and capacity of these foreign fighter returnees (FFRs) and they are taking the battle to the military and other hard targets. No doubt the GTI reports rates Nigeria, Somalia, Libya, Congo DRC , Rep of Congo , Central Africa Republic, Cameroon, Mauritania, Niger, Chad, Mali, Kenya … low and very low score in peace and stability  for 2017 thanks to the displacement effect of the collapse of Raqqa  and Mosul. Counter Terrorism Measures: What accounts for reduced attacks and deaths in Europe in 2017. Again the effect of the gradual collapse of Raqqa and Mosul forced ISIS leadership which directed and claimed most of the attacks on European soil to focus on re-strategizing and seeking alternative territory to flee Syria and Iraq. Equally key was an increase in security spending and community vigilance efforts within Europe following random truck, knife and gun attacks on soft targets. Most European governments including the UK introduced more proactive measures and increased spending and human resources towards anti terrorism and counter terrorism activities. This measures led to reduced vulnerability of public places and preferred terrorist high value targets. The more difficult the target, the less attractive it is to a terrorist, hence less casualties. For Example, the UK and most countries in Europe have promoted community awareness activities on social media, newspapers and mainstream media platforms – visible adverts in popular spots like’ see something say something ‘ , how to spot and report suspicious activities and video adverts on what to do when faced with a terrorist gun , knife or van attack may have played a real and psychological deterrence effect on potential terrorist attacks but also increased population knowledge and confidence to recognise and report suspicious activities. Terrorist rely on the element of surprise and they would avoid selecting hard targets or anyone with a high survival skill knowledge.     Catchy adverts like ‘  when to Run – Hide, fight and Tell ‘ worked against amateur terrorist.   Challenges in Reporting Casualties Beyond Paris and London :   Are this 2017 figures realistic? The report acknowledges blind spots.  In remote areas in Asia, Middle East, Sub Sahara Africa, Lake Chad Basin where ISIS and Al-Qaeda affiliated groups and others operate – ADF in Congo DRC & Uganda , Boko Haram factions , Al-Shabaab – daily small scale or attacks on individuals that result in casualties are hugely under reported. In some cases this is down to limited or no access to Internet or mainstream media. When terrorist attacks however large or small scale occur beyond major cities like London, Paris or New York , or do not happen in or have a direct impact on Western interest and victims, these attacks and casualties do not make it to the media or are simply ignored as not media worthy. These small and remote numbers are missed by a large margin especially in situations where less simultaneous Jihadist attacks occur against Western and mainstream media news-worthy targets. The

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