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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Boko Haram’s Expansionary Project in Northwestern Nigeria: Can Shekau Outflank Ansaru and Islamic State in West Africa Province?

On June 15, Boko Haram released a video featuring English, French (Cameroonian), Fulani, and Hausa-speaking fighters “greeting” fellow fighters in Zamfara and Niger states. Three weeks later, on July 7, Boko Haram released another video of fighters in Niger State returning “greetings” to Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau and “brothers” in Zamfara, which is one of Nigeria’s northwestern states; Lake Chad, which is the Boko Haram Bakura faction’s base; and Sambisa, Borno, which is Shekau’s base. These back-to-back videos recall the process of the Bakura faction’s pledge to Shekau one year earlier. Bakura’s joining Boko Haram turned Nigerian jihadism’s tide in Shekau’s favor vis-à-vis his rivals in Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Ansarul Muslim Fi Biladis Sudan (Ansaru).

On September 23, 2019, Shekau had issued “greetings” to fighters on Lake Chad, which was reciprocated one day later in a video from an imam surrounded by two armed fighters near Lake Chad who claimed they were “commanded” by Bakura and “greeted” Shekau. These two videos followed a series of Boko Haram-claimed attacks around Lake Chad using styles copying Islamic State (IS), despite only ISWAP being formally part of IS. These actions heralded Boko Haram’s resurgence in Lake Chad. Since Shekau’s August 2016 ejection from ISWAP, Lake Chad had been exclusively ISWAP’s area of operations, but by 2019 Boko Haram was also operating in the region. It was also only six months after those two videos that Boko Haram conducted the massive March 2020 raid in Bohoma, Chad that killed 92 Chadian soldiers stationed on Lake Chad. Shekau claimed responsibility for the raid.

Read more at Terrorism Monitor

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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