Bulwark Intelligence




Boko Haram, founded in 2002, is a Nigerian jihadist group notorious for its insurgency, brutal tactics and attacks on civilians in the Lake Chad Basin. Initially, the group sought to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria. ISWAP (Islamic State West Africa Province), on the other hand, emerged in 2016 as a splinter group from Boko Haram, pledging allegiance to ISIS. ISWAP operates primarily in northeastern Nigeria, focusing on expanding its territory and influence. The historical ties between Boko Haram and ISWAP stem from ideological similarities and shared jihadist objectives. However, a rift occurred when ISWAP criticised Boko Haram’s indiscriminate targeting of Muslims and civilians, opting for a more strategic approach while Boko Haram initially aimed to purify Islam in Nigeria by rejecting Western influence and establishing Sharia law. Conversely, ISWAP emerged as a splinter group within Boko Haram, seeking closer ties with ISIS and a more aggressive approach towards establishing an Islamic state in West Africa. Ideologically, Boko Haram was more focused on local grievances, while ISWAP sought to align itself with the global jihadist movement. Infighting Between Both Groups Infighting within terrorist organizations is a common phenomenon driven by power struggles, ideological differences, and personal ambitions. It often weakens the group’s effectiveness and can lead to splinter factions or alliances with rival organizations. The infighting between Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorist groups has led to great losses-loss of lives, properties, and territories, on both ends over time. On 18th November 2023, around 70 terrorists were reportedly killed in a clash between the Boko haram and ISWAP groups at Tumbum Ali Island in Marte Local Government Area. In a similar occurrence, several Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters died in a clash in the Lake Chad Basin on 15th January 2024. Implications For Borno State And Beyond The recurrent infighting among the terrorist factions within Borno State exacerbates the already dire humanitarian situation, hindering efforts to provide aid and assistance to vulnerable populations. It also undermines governance structures and stability, hampering socio-economic development and further perpetuating cycles of violence. Although there has been a slight shift from direct attacks on civilians to inter-group battles, the violence still disrupts lives and livelihoods. Clashes displace communities, restrict movement, and hinder access to essential services. The fear and uncertainty created by the conflict further traumatizes a population already grappling with years of insurgency. Effects On The Security Landscape In Borno State And Neighbouring Regions The infighting has created a volatile security landscape, with increased uncertainty and instability. Armed clashes between rival factions, including militant groups and state security forces, have become more frequent, leading to heightened tensions and a greater risk of civilian casualties. Furthermore, the state’s porous borders allow for the spillover of violence into neighbouring regions, exacerbating regional insecurity. Regional And International Security Implications The conflict in Borno State has broader regional and international security implications, as it provides fertile ground for extremist groups to thrive and expand their influence. The presence of Boko Haram and other militant factions poses a significant threat not only to Nigeria but also to neighbouring countries in the Lake Chad Basin region. Furthermore, the proliferation of weapons and the displacement of populations may exacerbate existing security challenges and contribute to regional instability. Government Security Response The Nigerian military has launched offensives against both Boko Haram and ISWAP, aiming to weaken and dismantle their operations. International partners have also provided military assistance and intelligence sharing. However, these efforts have yielded mixed results. Conclusion While the infighting has arguably weakened both groups, it hasn’t eradicated the threat they pose. Clashes continue, and the underlying causes of the conflict remain unaddressed.  After years of infighting and power struggles between Boko Haram and ISWAP, the security landscape in Borno State remains highly volatile. While both groups share ideological similarities, their rivalry has led to violent clashes and shifting alliances, further complicating the security situation in the region. Despite occasional ceasefires and peace talks, the underlying tensions persist, posing significant challenges to efforts aimed at restoring stability and peace. Addressing the fractured insurgency requires a multifaceted approach that combines military operations with comprehensive socioeconomic interventions. This includes efforts to address the root causes of extremism, such as poverty, unemployment, and marginalization, while also strengthening governance and the rule of law. It is also worth noting that reconciliation efforts face numerous challenges, including deep-seated grievances, distrust between opposing factions, and the presence of spoilers seeking to derail peace processes. However, successful reconciliation can lead to stability and the reintegration of former insurgents into society. Conversely, failure to reconcile may result in further fragmentation of the conflict, with splinter groups continuing to pursue their goals through violence. Additionally, regional cooperation and intelligence-sharing are essential for effectively combating cross-border threats and preventing the spread of violent extremism. International support, both in terms of resources and capacity-building, is crucial for implementing sustainable solutions and preventing further escalation of the conflict.   Image Banner Source: Zagazola



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



In two months’ time, elections are expected to be undertaken across the country; however, the implications of insecurity affecting the integrity of the polls form a fraction of the criticism of the government’s ability to provide a secure environment for the conduct of a peaceful and transparent election. Pockets of disruptive attacks by non-state actors are seen as an unavoidable occurrence given the presence of a diverse range of existing threat actors engaged in political violence across the country. Several security operations remain adequately active, having recorded feats over the past months such as the arrest or neutralization of threat actors, increased aerial interdiction, upgraded arsenals, and most importantly, vibrant intelligence-driven coordination towards arresting criminal activities across the North and South; however, despite these mentioned feats, criminality and all sorts of manifestations of insecurity continue to take a huge toll on the civilian population. One major contributing factor is the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALWs), which has resulted from illegal and porous national borders manned by a weak border security system heavily impacted by corruption and negligence. This is fueling Nigeria’s security challenges as armed groups have been able to fortify themselves thanks to easy access to illicit firearms. According to Muhammed Akinyemi’s human-angle report titled Nigeria’s Coat of Arms, “With ₦15,000 ($34), you will get a local gun. A single barrel long-range [can be bought] for ₦25,000 ($57).” The proliferation of illicit weapons encourages acts of terror, gradually pushing the population into despondency, and also likely to encourage apathy, the political issues associated with this is looked into in Yusuf Gupa’s Dynamics Of The 2023 Elections. This article looks to discuss some of these security threat actors, their evolution, their strengths, and their impact on the elections in 2023.  Bandits Ragtag bandit groups, which are decentralized, unidentified armed groups generally operating in areas where states have shown an inability to exercise their authority in Nigeria’s northwest and northcentral regions, have contributed considerably to a surge in security threats associated with bandit terror campaigns such as violent assaults on commuters and villages, murder, kidnappings, and skirmishes with security services, the latter of which has triggered heavy kinetic offensives by the military.  For 11 years, banditry has persisted, with civilians bearing the brunt of crimes that have resulted in high fatalities, displacement, and severe economic shocks. The reign of bandits has evolved over time to encompass parallel administrations, in which they manage towns under their control, encouraging tax collection, forced marriages, and combatant recruiting. Bandits’ threat has been sustained during the pre-election season, primarily comprised of kidnapping and small-weapons attacks against political chieftains and election officials, with no clear motive to support or oppose the elections. A typical example of these attacks include; Kaduna Kajuru LGA – Around 1 April 2022, a Kaduna militia abducted seven persons related to the PDP chairman in Kajuru LGA. One abductee was released earlier on health grounds, one was killed after the ransom demands were not met. Chikun LGA – On 22 September 2022, a Kaduna militia attacked some chieftains of the APC, wounded three people, killed two, and abducted others at Tashar Icce near Kujama (Chikun, Kaduna). The victims were coming back from a political meeting in Kujama. Kagarko LGA: On April 25, 2022, a Kaduna militia killed an APC ward chairman and several others when they attacked several communities in Kagarko LGA (Kaduna). Scores of residents were abducted, others were seriously wounded, and some cows and household animals were seized. Kajuru LGA—  Around April 2022 (as reported), members of a Kaduna militia killed one of the seven abductees related to the PDP chairman of Kajuru LGA over the non-payment of ransom. Katsina  Katsina LGA – On 3 September 2022, policemen clashed with a Katsina militia who abducted three people in the Katsina metropolis (Katsina, Katsina). One of the abductees was the candidate for the Kankia zone state house of assembly from the PDP, his wife, and the registrar of Isa Kaita college of education. Niger Mariga LGA – On 25 May 2022, members of a Niger communal militia killed four PDP delegates between Mariga and Tegina (Mariga, Niger) while they were on their way home from Minna. The vehicle the victims were travelling in was shot at by the assailants. Zamfara  Anka LGA – On April 1, 2022, members of a Zamfara militia abducted an unspecified number of commuters, including two APC members, on the Anka-Zuru federal highway in Dajin Daki Takwas, Anka LGA (Zamfara). Nasiru Yari (APC), who was one of the abductees, was released. Bukkuyum LGA – On 29 June 2022, Zamfara militiamen abducted an unspecified number of persons from Gadar Zaima, coded to Bukuyum (Bukkuyum, Zamfara) on the village market day. The abductees include the village head, a political secretary of a political party from Kyaram. Tsafe LGA – On 6 June 2022, Zamfara militiamen abducted a former permanent commissioner of the Zamfara Independent Electoral commission alongside his younger brother at Gidan-Giye, near Tsafe town (Zamfara). The abductees were trying to fix their car which developed a fault. Zurmi LGA – On 28 October 2022, a Zamfara militia led by Gwaska Dankarami simultaneously invaded two residences and abducted two persons in Dauran Birnin Tsaba (Zurmi, Zamfara). The abductees were a district head and an APC chieftain, the militia leader called the abductee’s relative to confirm the abduction which he claimed was a reprisal for the seizure of his motorcycles by security operatives. The majority of the group’s activity has been propelled by various ineffective initiatives in dealing with the situation, which evolved from genuine anti-marginalization agitation to pure terrorism and criminality. The porous environment, on the other hand, over time allowed for the massive proliferation of SALW, which fell into the hands of these groups ushering acts of terror and, in fact, drawing the interest of several other actors, including organized armed groups such as Lakurawa [an armed militia group from Mali] in Sokoto State, armed religious sects such as Dar-Salam scattered in Nassawara, Niger, and



It is undeniable that insecurity has increasingly become a major problem among the countries in West Africa. While some countries such as – Mali, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and Niger, have been experiencing a series of attacks by terrorist groups, other neighbouring countries remain potential zones likely to witness shadows of terror as armed actors continue to spread their operations spirally across the Sahel region and progressing towards other West African countries. In recent times Togo has witnessed attacks on civilians and the military. On Wednesday, 10 May 2022, a group of heavily armed gunmen suspected to be al-Qaeda affiliates ambushed a military post of Kpekpakandi in the Kpendjal prefecture near the Togo-Burkina border, resulting in 21 soldiers casualties including eight (8) soldiers fatalities. This was followed by another attack recorded in July 2022 in the said Kpendjal prefecture. An IED detonation left seven children dead and two injured in the Margba village of Tatigou commune. To date, the attack on the security post at Kpekpankandi is noted as the first deadly attack in the history of the country. This has instilled fear in the country known to be peaceful and has been void of any security issues. This successful attack remains a threat to its neighbouring country Ghana, which also shares a border with Burkina Faso. Ghana has been rated as one of the most peaceful countries on the continent. According to the 2022 edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI) report, Ghana is the second most peaceful country in the sub-Saharan African region and the 40th in the world. This rating is about to be threatened due to the rising insecurity threat posed by porous borders, which have long served as a safe haven for Islamist militants. Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin’ (JNIM) fighters numbering 20 or more allegedly invaded the Burkinabe border community of Benliyenli, about 25 kilometres from Bansi in Binduri and close to Gentiga in Bawku, Ghana. According to a local official, the fighters entered the community around 11 p.m. amid gunshots.  Reports cited that some of the villagers fled to the Ghanaian side of the border due to the incident. Ghanaian authorities are said to have sent armed forces to the area to monitor the situation. According to sources, on 11 June 2022, some armed men allegedly invaded Dakola, another Burkinabe town near Ghana’s border in Paga in the Kassena-Nankana West District and held some business operators, hostage, for nearly an hour. After looting millions of CFA and killing two locals, the perpetrators fled. The possible root cause of unchallenged terrorist infiltrations: Several reports have cited the recruitment of Ghanaians into terrorist groups. Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) spokesman Sidi Amar and the head of Ansarul Islam’s foreign fighting unit, Saifoulah, estimate that there are 200 Ghanaian fighters in the ranks of the jihadis groups. The majority of them are believed to be in the ranks of JNIM/GSIM. About 80 Ghanaian fighters are believed to be part of Ansaru Islam. They are prevalent in the Katiba fighters of Mouslim, the Tamimou Katiba, and the Saifoulah Katiba. These Ghanaian recruits operate mainly in the areas of Pama, Kompienga of the Est region, and more widely in the Barsalogho of Center-Nord and in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso. The Katiba Serma group, led by Abu Hamza Al- Chinguinti, consists of approximately 40 Ghanaian members operating in the Mali Gourma and Burkina Faso Fada regions. For Katiba Macina, about 30 elements under the command of Shekou Oumar and Bobala operate in the Dialloube area. Six (6) Ghanaians are said to be Sheikh Iyad Ag Ghali’s Ansar Dine members. Two Ghanaians have reportedly assisted in the guarding of hostages for a time. While 40 Ghanaian elements are part of the ISGS/EISG. While the need to monitor these threats can not be overemphasised, it should be noted that the current situation of the country could be an added advantage to extremist groups who exploit the poor condition and absence of good governance in some localities to gain the attention of wandering youth and thereby radical them and using them to gain assess to several parts of the country. The second possible factor would be inter-communal violence. Almost every community in Ghana has experienced some form of communal conflicts that are complex with varied causes; ranging from religious differences to land resource competition, chieftaincy succession rights, ethnic supremacy, and political and economic marginalisation or deprivation. The failure to tackle some communal violence and its causes could possibly influence terrorists’ presence in a country.  



BACKGROUND The Kuje Medium Security correction facility in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital territory, came under siege by armed non-state actors on Tuesday, 5 July 2022. The breach of the correction facility is not a new phenomenon at the facility or across similar facilities across the country, the attack, however, stands out given the spate of audacious attacks across the country but most interestingly the spread of attacks closer to the national capital, Abuja. The attack on the correctional facility in Kuje highlights Nigeria’s deteriorating internal security mechanism, given that not only was the facility susceptible owing to its antiquated infrastructure and lack of a fallback plan to contain the situation, but the lack of security in the prison’s immediate environment was also quite apparent since terrorists perpetrated their act for hours unabated and escaped unharmed. The attack also sets back public support in the fight against terrorism and other forms of criminality ravaging the country, given the effort put into winning Nigerians’ support, which is critical in any counterinsurgency campaign, as seen in the United States following the 9/11 attack. The attack’s choice of target, at the seat of government, is a huge blow to the administration and its security institutions. In the US, after the 9/11 attack, the government did not sit back and continue with politics as usual; instead, the US government recognised its failures, rolled up its sleeves, mobilized public support in the face of a common adversary, and went to work. However, for Nigeria, it was a matter of finger-pointing, unaccountability, and expression of doubt about the situation. Saddened by the attack on the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje. I am disappointed with the intelligence system. How can terrorists organize, have weapons, attack a security installation and get away with it? I am expecting a comprehensive report on this shocking incident. — Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) July 6, 2022 THE ATTACK The infiltration of the correction facility was cumulatively a failure to act on intelligence, little to no deterrence, and poor communication. It also brings to light the maladministration in the internal security architecture of Nigeria. The siege on the Kuje facility is estimated to have commenced a few minutes before the first indication of an attack at 10:18 PM, during which the group: infiltrated the facility, released detainees, and delivered a 15-minute sermon [possibly to justify the purpose of their crusade in an attempt to entice recruits from the facility, given the presence of other jihadi convicts in the crowd] and dispersed. The siege was concluded with the chanting of “Allahu Akbar,” a Takbir abused by terrorists as a form of war cry. Media ISIS, Amaq Agency merilis video serangan ISIS di penjara Kuje, Nigeria minggu lalu. Ini bukti kalo ISIS masih ada dan berbahaya. #TolakISIS di NKRI. pic.twitter.com/OH8XpnCaSp — Kata Baskoro (@BaskoroKata) July 12, 2022 The tactical prowess, firepower, and level of efficiency in carrying out the invasion give off a very coordinated style of operation common with ISWAP fighters in the Northeast region, where the group, has exhibited high ingenuity in adapting to changing military strategy and tactics in exacting decisive blows at the military through guerrilla ambushes and in rare cases direct contact. The number of assailants would thus have needed support from Islamic State (IS-Daesh) cells from neighbouring states with identified presence such as Kogi, Kaduna, and Niger States. IS CLAIM, GOALS OF THE ATTACK, AND ASSESSMENT OF ISWAP ACTIVITIES IS-Daesh via its propaganda magazine al-Naba issued on 6 June 2022 claimed full responsibility for the attack, in the magazine the group, discusses its “50 minutes” coordinated attack on the “prison”, where it operated in “two companies” (read: groups) but it goes ahead to highlight the success of a “third group”. The first team employed the use of explosives to “blow the prison gates”, while the second engaged security forces inside the facility and the third group provided cover along the perimeter of the facility to repeal security backup. The claim goes further to highlight arson on vehicles as “8 machines” under what it describes as a “policy of demolishing the accessories of freedom”. The magazine in its concluding parts writes “With success, as Al-maqana one was able to free Mahzam aksary who submitted All of them,” From the above statement, Al-maqana which is “The Veiled” or “masked” a possible reference to ISWAP fighters who carried out the attack, while Mahzam aksary is used as a reference to describe someone who presented the prisoners to ISWAP fighters after they had gained entry, in what appears to be an indication of an inside job. The propaganda material closes by describing the operation as a “new field expansion…on the outskirts of the Nigerian capital”. #kujeprison… And now the victory lap, the attack was made up of 3 group assault team each task with specific task, the attack lasted for 50mins. They are point to it as an expansion around the capital pic.twitter.com/dkQZFsRhED — m. u (@secmxx) July 6, 2022 Before this incident, in April, IS-Daesh spokesperson Abu Omar al-Muhajer addressed the condition of imprisoned members, stating it was the group’s top priority and responsibility to secure their release. This statement was likely the motivation behind the attack and could be an indication of possibly more similar attacks to come. The goals of the attack can be split into two, first is ISWAP’s bid to impress IS-Daesh & secondly IS-Daesh contingency for its failure in the middle-east. – ISWAPs’ bid to “crown itself as a new queen of terrorism in Africa” is quite apparent, with its orchestration of a well-thought-out attack on Kuje, especially in the nation’s capital was to prove to IS-Daesh of its capability to drive the sects agenda in sections of West and Central African nation-states such as Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, and the Lake Chad Basin. Asides from the Kuje attack, there has been considerable compliance to propagating new agenda and doing the most in showing considerable complicity to executing accordingly. – As for the parent organization, the attack was



The emergence and subsequent upsurge of violent extremism within countries in the Sahel continues its increasing trend with an inherent threat posed towards the coastal countries in West Africa like Togo, Ghana and the Benin Republic. The threats of insurrection in Togo dates as far back as 15 February 2019 after an attack was captured on a mobile customs unit in the Nohao town in the Bittou Department of Boulgou Province in south-eastern Burkina Faso – a border commune close to the Savanes region of Togo. This northern region is the most impacted area given that area shares border with districts impacted by terrorism in Burkina Faso. Over time, two significant attacks on security forces have been noted in the Sanloaga and Kpekpakandi military outposts of the Kpendjal prefecture, revealing the existence and intentions of terrorist sects determined to infiltrate and recruit potential members from the non-volatile country. The Islamic State in the Greater Sahel, the Ansaru Islam and the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims are some of the terrorist groups that have often been connected to the existing threats and recent attacks. The predominant causes of insecurity and violence were initially attributed to communal clashes and civil unrest within the Togolese territory, with acts of criminality attributed to organized crime networks that were responsible for insecurity and instability in the country. However, the 72 hour evacuation order with repercussions of violent attacks on 24 February 2022 made by suspected jihadists on residents of the Lalabiga village in the Madouri district of the northern region revealed the traction and stronghold the terrorists groups have gained within the Togolese territory. Consequently, the prior and subsequent attacks noted in the country on 9 November 2021 and 11 May 2022 incurred twenty one casualities including eight (8) fatalities in Kpendjal prefecture stirred significant tensions and the likelihood of  an upsurge in acts of terrorism similar to the uprising of violent extremism in the Sahel.  Heat Map Indicating Spillover Insurrections from Burkina Faso to Togo The efforts of the Togolese Defense Unit to strengthen the country’s defenses included proactive alliances and joint security operations carried out since 2017; organization of committees for the prevention and fight against violent extremism on 15 May 2019. Meanwhile, the recent attacks within the northern border area exposed vulnerabilities in the Togolese defences, which began with a build-up of sightings of jihadist presence, attacks along the Burkina Faso border and erratic attacks on defence posts in the border districts. The Coastal countries in West Africa initially suspected the prevalent threat to security defenses in the face of events which have hit back mostly through military operations conducted nationally, bilaterally and collectively within the framework of the Accra Initiative, involving Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, however, the impact has not prevented the spillover insurrections noted in some member states. The significant attacks within the coastal country should not be underestimated owing to the evolving pattern of terrorism in the Sahel. The recurring assaults could be preliminary attempts at analyzing and sampling the border defenses inadvertently prepping for subsequent strategic and structured attacks to instigate higher fatality counts within the Savanes region, especially the Cinkasse, Sanloaga and Madourie districts of the Kpendjal prefecture.

CURATED OSINT, Nigeria, Reports, security analysis, SECURITY THREATS, TERRORISM


Ochlocracy: Government by a mob! Jungle Justice is an ochlocracy where a mob decides to be the judge, jury, and executioner of an accused (whether legitimately or falsely). In May 2022 alone: 2 May: Two suspected robbers were set ablaze in Makurdi, Benue State. 3 May: One suspected robber was set ablaze along Owerri-Orlu road in Owerri North, Imo State. 11 May: Two suspected phone thieves were set ablaze around Cele Bus stop in Lagos state when they were found with 18 phones. 11 May: A female student of Shehu Shagari College of Education was killed and set ablaze after being accused of blasphemy in Sokoto State. 12 May: A sound engineer was killed and set ablaze by commercial motorcycle riders (okada), over a minor cost dispute, in the Lekki area of Lagos State. On the surface, it may seem satisfying to know that quick justice is being served especially in a country where minor disputes could take up to five years in a criminal court of law- if it gets resolved at all. However, jungle justice has been single-handedly responsible for the false accusation, injury, and death of many innocent Nigerians and few falsely accused victims are alive to recount their ordeal. Take the story of Saminu Ibrahim who went to the bank to withdraw money, when one of the bank staff suddenly got hysterical and claimed his penis had vanished. Within a split second, the crowd had gathered, taking the accuser’s word as final and were ready to pounce on Saminu, when some policemen showed up and intervened. A similar incident occurred when Olabiyi Olayemi was falsely accused of theft when he was trying to tow a vehicle which he thought was his boss’s. The vehicle was the same colour, make and model as the one he was looking for. Unbeknownst to him, the correct vehicle was parked on the next street. Once the tow truck began the process of evacuating the vehicle, a crowd gathered around and accused him of theft. In a flash, he was beaten, a tire was thrown around his neck and had been doused with petrol. A man with the matchbox was about to strike it when the police shot in the air to disperse the crowd. Further investigation revealed it was a case of mistaken identity. There are many more stories like these which help explain why jungle justice must never be supported or condoned. The fact that one false accusation can, in a split second, lead to a life being taken forever, should remain a stark reminder that everything about jungle justice is unjust. ​_ Click here to view Tableau dashboard No Justice, No Peace The lack of trust in the Nigerian judicial system is what has fuelled mob attacks and jungle justice. Much of the insecurity in Nigeria is a direct result of the inefficient and ineffective judicial system. Banditry is a symptom of the same judicial system problems. Take for example the story of Turji Bello, one of the most feared bandits operating in North-West Nigeria, who in a recent interview explained his deep-rooted motivation for going into that line of business. Turji stated: Over a thousand cattle were taken away from us. On that day, six of our little siblings were killed. Our parents went through all the courts, but they couldn’t get back their cattle. They also connived with Yan Sakai (local vigilante) and slaughtered my uncle. Where does a commoner seek redress? … my father was involved in a court case for seven years over corn stalks. Just for corn stalks! And he went through all the courts including the one in Abuja… I swear to Allah that in our household we had over 100 cows, but we were left with just 20. You can confirm all that I have told you from the traditional rulers. I can bring the defendant (in my father’s court case); the case dragged on for years, since I was small and lasted till my adulthood. There is also nowhere that our parents did not go to get justice over the confiscation of our lands. All these are known to the Emir of Shinkafi. He knew our parents for years and they were not bandits. There was never a case of rustling reported to him. But they rustled our cows and killed our brothers and rendered us worthless. There is no authority to complain to, no one to seek redress from. Would you forever be crying? You will get tired of crying and seek for solution. And this is our problem in this country. Little Turji saw his father patiently seek justice through the courts, to no avail. As a young man, he directly witnessed discrimination, humiliation, attacks, and loss of loved ones, with no justice, meted out to perpetrators. Finally, young adult Turji decided within himself, to hell with the courts, if we want justice, we have to get it for ourselves. He and his group sourced weapons through Nigeria’s practically non-existent borders, they armed themselves to ensure their jungle justice. They began attacking innocent civilians, kidnapping, torturing, raping, maiming, killing, and burning people and villages. The banditry epidemic Nigeria is currently experiencing is what happens when justice is not served, and conflicts are not resolved. Citizens take the law into their own hands until they morph into terrorist groups. Solutions Nigeria’s constitution under sections 33, 34 and 36 has a lot to say about fundamental rights, including the right to life, the right to human dignity, and the right to a fair hearing. But when the constitution is not upheld, citizens will take matters into their own hands. The bandits ravaging the Northwest certainly did and exasperated citizens across the land from Lagos, to Sokoto, are equally doing the same. If people could trust that when they have a dispute, they could easily and quickly lodge their complaints, get a fair hearing and a fair resolution, most would go that route. But the current justice model does not provide for this. Justice sector reform  One of the major challenges in the justice sector is



The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) is an insurgent group with Ugandan links currently operating in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). While the ADF’s ideology is historically entrenched in certain Salafi-jihadist beliefs, it has deepened into political and economic factors, particularly in the Rwenzori border region between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This article aims to highlight the impacts of the aforementioned armed group in the eastern part of the country in particular North Kivu and Ituri province being a hotspot of attacks with more than 1,500 fatalities and 750 abductions counts from May 2021- to April 2022. The Congolese army and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) agreed on a framework for joint operations with an agreement document, named “Guidelines for Joint Operations’‘,  signed at the Congolese army headquarters. The clause stated the engagement of MONUSCO will only take place in cases of reinforcement, logistics, and protection of civilians in the vicinity, unfortunately, the operation ended with several protest actions from locals highlighting their inefficiency and ineffectiveness causing them to drawdown. The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and the Ugandan military (UPDF) launched joint operations in the Beni territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) against the prominent rebel group but attacks have persisted, amidst further talks on additional extensions of the state of siege. The following effects have been highlighted over time: Displacement remains the first repercussion as more than 100,000 locals have been provided with emergency shelters in 2021 but the assistance has become insufficient as these attacks by armed groups have continued to displace people in the provinces. These incidents have caused the affected populace to flee multiple times. Amongst the affected percentages lie women and children in need of assistance. In North Kivu and Ituri provinces, attacks,  abuses and violations against civilians by armed groups and government forces increased by 10% between May and November of 2021 according to the United Nations. There were multiple abductions and 300,000 people which caused social-economic paralysis. Due to this, an economic dwindle has been observed, dragging the Eastern part of the country into a wind of recession. The frequent use of arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions also persisted throughout the east as the state of siege gave excess powers to security forces thus tampering with the military justice system. Over the reporting period, security forces have arrested and detained hundreds of civilians without due process, many for non-criminal acts such as debt or land disputes. In February, three activists from the citizens’ movement were arrested in North Kivu for organizing a peaceful sit-in to protest against alleged illegal taxes on roads and alleged mismanagement of a local healthcare administration. These amongst others have persisted throughout the provinces. With all the above in continuity, peace doesn’t seem near.



The Insecurity bedevilling North-West Nigeria reached a tumultuous turn on March 28th when bandits in collaboration with a suspected Boko Haram splinter cell; Ansaru in collaboration e Abuja-Kaduna Train. The train had above 500 passengers on board and the attack led to the kidnap of hundreds and the killing of at least 8. This attack was not isolated, the railway itself had been attacked previously in October last year when a portion of the rail track was destroyed with explosives and the Kaduna International Airport just weeks ago. This recent attack was a repetition in a series to destroy public infrastructure and brutalize citizens. It behoves questions as to why the popular saying “Once bitten twice shy” is lost on those saddled with the responsibility of protecting life and property. A repeat of this attack was imminent, yet no systems, processes and structures were put in place to thwart it. The recent attack raises a lot of questions as regards coordination in government, appropriate security measures, surveillance, and the failure of authorities to act on intelligence and work in consonance. It reflects a troubling breakdown of internal security and the vulnerability of critical infrastructure. Shockingly, the brazen nature of the bandit’s attack which is essentially a challenge to our sovereignty as a nation has not adequately infuriated the Federal and State Governments to do something drastic and long-lasting against them. The style and nature of the attack reveal that it was a well-planned attack aimed at the maximum achievement of their aim. The bandits utilized an Improvised explosive device (IED) to immobilise the train before indiscriminately shooting at the passengers. These sinister and brazen attacks against commuters and public infrastructure are one too many and must be forestalled at this juncture. The Abuja-Kaduna highway has been an avowed kidnapping hotspot for the better part of 7 years, Federal Government has been unable to put in place stringent security measures to effectively police and secure that road. This condition made the railway a preferable alternative for travellers. An alternative that well is now clearly unsafe. It is more than embarrassing that Kaduna state which is Nigeria’s centre for military education and security planning due to its numerous elite military establishment and security institutions such as the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Defence Industries Corporation (DICON), Nigerian Army School of Artillery in Kachia, Nigerian Navy School of Armament Technology, State Security Service Training Academy, Police College, the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Nigerian Navy School of Armament Technology and many other military formations is unsafe to access by road, air or train. Against the backdrop of this terrible attack, the million-dollar question is how does one travel in and out of Kaduna safely. Nigeria’s Armed Forces have been carrying out clearance operations and airstrikes to clear bandits out of their camps hidden in forests across several states in the northwest. But the violence has continued. Stemming this tide would take not just the military but other concerned agencies to diligently perform their responsibilities and task. It became public knowledge through a Daily Trust report after the attack that the Kaduna State Government through its Ministry for Internal Security twice wrote a letter to the National Railway Corporation advising for the 6 pm service of the train station to be stopped but the corporation did not heed. This indicates clear negligence on the path of the railway corporation. Individuals have never been held accountable for such ineffective discharge of their responsibilities and perhaps there’s a correlation between that and sloppy conduct/negligence. This costly negligence should not go unpunished so government agencies understand consequences exist for sloppy conduct. The vulnerability of the train was exacerbated by a lack of commitment and proactiveness. In reacting to the incident the Minister for Transport, Hon. Rotimi Ameachi said “We knew what the problems will be. We know we needed to have digital security equipment on the corridors. We applied for it. Let me just stop here so I don’t hurt so many people. But I heard the president has given a directive that the procurement must be completed immediately. “If we had those equipment on the tracks, you will see the entire track. And we warned that lives would be lost. Now, lives were lost. Eight persons dead and 25 persons in the hospital. We don’t know how many people have been kidnapped. And the cost of those equipment is just N3bn. The cost of what we have lost is more than N3bn. We have lost track. We have lost locomotives and coaches. We have lost human beings. And the equipment is just N3bn. To fix the damages will cost more than N3bn. To imagine that we just said give us the approval and not even the money. At the time we asked for it, when you come with sincerity to government and people are stopping you, it is annoying.” “When you come with sincerity to Government and your colleagues and people are stopping you, it is annoying”. His comment is indicative of a lack of urgency and harmony in dealing with important issues at the apex level of government. A pertinent issue like security equipment for train coaches deserved speedy treatment and not the dillydallying that caused a lack of surveillance. A seeming lack of a standard operational response or arrangement is evident. It is inconceivable that despite prior attacks the authorities lacked a standard response to repel this attack nearby and swiftly. The previous security arrangement of two policemen per coach was ineffective for a security threat that comprises tens of bandits on motorbikes each armed with an AK-47 assault rifle. There is an urgent need to devise a security strategy that adequately protects passengers and public infrastructure. This security strategy would involve all security and intelligence agencies living up to their responsibilities and being proactive. Account from survivors of the train attack says that the terrorists arrived in a convoy of motorbikes. An interface or established channel of communication between locals within these



In March 2022, Kaduna State was pelted by a string of audacious attacks on citizens and government-owned enterprises. It was not the first major attack, nor the one with the highest number of casualties. However, the choice of target location and victims created a school of thought that allows us to weigh the attack strategy adopted by bandits who were supposedly illiterates and untrained in the modern art of battle. Banditry a few years ago was far from what we know today, the Oxford dictionary defines the word to mean “ a robber or outlaw belonging to a gang and typically operating in an isolated or lawless area’. In a post titled ‘banditry, a brief history of a long war’ Anselm Odinkalu, a columnist for The Cable highlighted the common forms of banditry citing armed robbery heists associated with charismatic criminals such as Oyenusi and Anini who had a limited number of accomplices as their followers. This opinion would stand largely on the form of delinquencies practiced as it were in approximately the first fifty years of Nigeria’s independence and notably under military rule. However, the bandit conflict as we know it today stemmed markedly from the long-running struggle between the Nigerian government and numerous gangs and ethnic militias. The insecurity instigated by the clashes between the Fulani and Hausa ethnic groups prompted the formation of various criminal and Islamist organizations in the Northern region gradually from the year 2011. The menace, with the help of Illegal arms proliferation prevalent in the northwest and the pampering hand tendered by the Federal Government, has seen the exponential growth of bandit attacks in Zamfara in the Northeast, Kaduna, Katsina in the Northwest and Plateau, Niger States in the Northcentral geopolitical zone. Terrorism on the other hand has peaked in the country for over a decade and remains active and is expanding significantly based on recent occurrences. Despite a general decrease in terror-related deaths, the country recorded the second-highest number of people who died in terrorist attacks worldwide, after Afghanistan as indicated by recent statistics. These figures are attributed to heinous attacks launched in the Northeast states with Borno and Yobe on the top of the list. The concern this article aims at addressing is the possible impact of the potency that can be achieved if the speculations indicating the synergy between terrorist groups and bandits are a reality. When analyzing the current tactics employed by bandits in recent attacks, which started significantly with a series of bomb explosions first recorded on 27 February 2022 in Kabala West, in Kaduna State. It was glaring, however doubtful, that the assaults were orchestrated through an alliance between bandits and splinter terrorist groups in the Northwest. The rumours were however confirmed following the armed pastoralists led Kaduna airport attack and significantly the Kaduna-Abuja train attack which expert analysts indicated to be a joint operation involving Boko Haram/Ansaru terrorist group . Considering the impact made by the attack launched by the combined efforts of the armed groups and the weak response of the government in terms of rescuing the victims of the attack and bringing the perpetrators to justice, we can only imagine the level of assaults that may occur in the nearest future if the groups are allowed to grow, and bandits learn the use of more sophisticated weapons, technology, intelligence and other forms of the art of terrorism and adopt these tactics in new attacks. Terrorist activities in the Northeast have single-handedly crippled business operations in most parts of Borno and Yobe states. Communities in Zamfara, Kaduna and Northwest states with volatile local government areas have equally been greatly dealt with by bandit incursion. Hence the impact of the eventual possibility of terrorist factions and bandits combining forces would be unimaginable as the group will be capable of launching highend assaults, hijacking of aircrafts, assassination of persons of interest and may go as far as trying to form a terrorist caliphate owing to the potency that will be associated with their large number, the territories they control and the sophisticated weapons and intelligence at their disposal.

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