COUNTER INSURGENCY

Proper IED analysis needed to end IED attacks

Reports of Boko Haram terrorists request for dialogue resurfaced once again.       Boko Haram Terrorists request dialogue Reports of Boko Haram terrorists reaching out for dialogue resurfaced once again. Moments after President Mohammed Buhari insinuated that the Federal Government was willing to negotiate with credible members of the terrorist group, the non-government independent agency called the Center for Crisis Communication reported an increase in calls to the center by militants willing to drop their arms and surrender. A few days later, it was reported that about 8 members of BH in Borno had renounced their membership, citing that they are tired of killing innocent souls and were did not want to wage Jihad anymore. SIGNIFICANCE: A number of Boko Haram insurgents are young men who were given an ultimatum to either join the insurgency or die. Such men were left no choice then, but are possibly the ones who are now willing to give up their arms. The Nigerian government needs to devise a plan to effectively deal with such situations. This week the Deputy Governor of Borno State publicly stated that if the insurgents sincerely want to drop their arms and negotiate, the federal government should consider their requests. Boko Haram Latest Video Release Boko Haram released a new video recording this week in which an unidentified young man stated that he was speaking in the name of Islamic State in West Africa and indicated that the group was still operating stronger and unobstructed. The video then showed militants attacking a security checkpoint, seizing weapons, and slitting the throat of a man dressed in a police uniform. Notably absent from the video was the groups’ known leader Abubakar Shekau. SIGNIFICANCE: Abubakar’s absence is noteworthy because this is the second video released in which he has not been featured. It is possible that Shekau has been KIA, wounded or has fled the area. Confirmation of the fate of Shekau can be determined either by waiting for the leader to resurface in another media production, or via effective human intelligence and communications intelligence which will utilize the insurgents’ response and communications to determine his status and whereabouts. Boko Haram Incidences Despite the absence of the BH leader, the insurgent group effectively carried out several attacks this week in Cameroon, Adamawa, and Borno State. The attack in Adamawa occurred in the Kobachwa villate in Madagali area, killing 5 civilians in the farming community. The locals who have resorted to utilizing CJTF to ward off insurgent attacks stated that the recent rains could be encouraging insurgents to leave their comfort areas and launch attacks against the nearby communities. The Borno attack occurred on Sunday on the Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu highway at a remote village Nwajurko near Sabon Gari in Damboa LG. The BH insurgents ambushed and killed four commercial motorists, abducted two men and injured 3 others. The attack in Cameroon occurred around 1.30am in village called Tchakamari, on the Cameroonian border. 7 civilians were killed and 20 were kidnapped. SIGNIFICANCE: The attack on the Cameroonian border is one of several that have been mounted against the country in recent times as a result of the country’s increased involvement in the counter terrorism fight. The Cameroonian government had announced plans to send 2000 additional troops to the far north region; they expelled about 2,800 Nigerians living illegally in Cameroon, and banned fully veiled women. All these measures were taken to protect civilians from BH attacks. While these measures deal with the surface issue, they do not address one of the key means by which BH insurgents get into the country which is via illegal entry points. Illegal Border Crossing Nigeria, reported that there are 1,497 illegal routes into the country from its neighboring countries, and these aid in the movement of illicit arms and insurgents to neighboring states. The house of reps led a motion this week, addressing the illegal border routes and urging the federal government along with the nation’s security agencies to devise and implement an effective measure to disrupt these illegal border crossings. IED Making Factory The security forces in the area made significant strides this week when they successfully cleared 5 IEDs from the road Gwoza and Yemteke in Dikwa area of Borno. Other IED making materials were recovered including piles of street lamp poles. SIGNIFICANCE: The discovery of IED making factories is a positive step in the counter terrorism fight. If proper IED forensics is carried out on the recovered devices, it could help security forces identify several key information including the actors involved in making the bombs, the profiles of those who implant the IEDs, and the key ingredients and components used in the creation. When the components are known, security forces are better able to restrict the easy acquisition of those components, while identifying individuals procuring such items. Military Weapons Procurement The week, former National Security Advisor Col Sambo Dasuki, revealed the previous administration’s means of procuring weapons used by the military in the Boko Haram fight. The Col. claimed that when Western nations (presumably the U.S) refused to sell arms to the Nigerian military, he utilized third party suppliers to acquire them. The inventory list included “Alpha jets, armored personnel carriers (APCs), mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles, advanced artillery pieces, assorted arms and ammunition, highly sophisticated surveillance drones, T72 Russian battle tanks, and carried out modifications to F7 supersonic fighter jets”. The Col. maintained these arms were used to effectively protect Nigerian troops from IED attacks, recover more than 22 local governments under Boko Haram terrorists and ensure that Boko Haram leader Shekau did not disrupt the 2015 elections; Col. Dasuki went as far as to link his weapons procurement effort to the current silence of Shekau. All this in spite of the fact that some of the arms are still yet to be delivered to the Nigerian military. Many of the former top Nigerian military commanders who recently retired continually cited the U.S’s refusal to sell weapons to the Nigerian military as one