By Zagazola Makama
From 20 Oct – 02 Nov 22, trends of terrorist attacks covering the republics of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger worsened unprecedentedly.
The region faces rapid escalation of violent attacks against civilian and military targets resulting in large-scale of humanitarian consequences.
On 24 Oct 22, reports indicated that al-QAEDA-affiliated group, Jama’at Nasirl Nusrat al-Islam Muslimeen (JNIM) unleashed a massive attack on BURKINABE troops base at DJIBO, BURKINA FASO and carted away large cache of weapons.
Intelligence Sources told Zagazols Makama, a Counter Insurgency Expert and Security Analyst in the Lake Chad region that the JNIM fighters have taken control of major towns along the BURKINA FASO- NIGER border, especially SOLENZO.
Zagazola Understand that the emboldened JNIM group carried out the attacks on ISIS-affiliated group, IS SAHEL, possibly to sustain dominance within the region.
Between 28 – 29 Oct 22, JNIM and IS SAHEL attacks took place at AGAZRAGANE, TAMALAT, CHINNANA and MENAKA in BURKINA FASO and MALI, respectfully were several casualties were recorded.
IYAD AG GHALI, the JNIM leader is said to have lost his son in one of battles at MENAKA. Indications are heavy fighting between both groups ensued that could spread to other parts of the SAHEL.
Equally, both groups have intensified media propaganda stunts to outwit one another over control of the SAHEL REGION. JNIM has used al-ZALLAQA, a subsidiary MINBAR al-TAWHID, as part of the rehabilitated media wing infrastructure to make remarks.
On 1 Nov 22, SITREP indicated the media covering the northern regions circulated locally-gathered footages on the attack on DJIBO military base and other narratives, claiming victories. JNIM also claims to have killed many IS SAHEL fighters.
In reply, on 2 Nov 22, the IS SAHEL branch released images of its battle with JNIM fighters in AGAZRAGEN, MALI, indicating that its allied militia were massacred. Both groups have intensified both physical and psychological warfare within the SAHEL.
Attacks within the SAHEL remains interrelated with no coincidences attached. Premised on several possibilities, ISIS core and al-QAEDA/AQIM rival have drawn the battle line against each other, intent on establishing superiority over the SAHEL with their seperate radical ideologies.
Also, noted is that directives to affiliated groups have been specifically coded through media propaganda outreaches to intensify attacks against rival groups, Govt and Govt forces.
Noteworthy is that both international terrorist groups take advantage of the deteriorating situations in the AFRICAN continent to further discredit Govt authorities.
This has also exacerbated coups and countercoups in mostly FRANCOPHONE countries within the region.
Autonomous intent to have immense coverage of the SAHEL are tilting towards a probable selection of leadership within the SAHEL and new battle ground in WEST AFRICA to launch terrorists campaigns across the globe.
Both terrorist organisations have not clearly announced new leadership but operates via the SHURA. For instance, Al-QAEDA is yet to declare a new leader after the demise AYMAN al-ZAWAHIRI, while ISIS leader ABU HASSAN al-QURASHI was allegedly apprehended in INSTABUL.
Both leaders are said to have desires to make their individual terrorist organisations operate headquarters in the SAHEL. Hence, an unstable intent to sustain the agenda by their subordinates.
The militant jihadist groups in the region are already pursuing expansion into the Golf of Guinea, with a focus on Cote d’Ivoire and Benin.
A France’s tip spy Chief, Bernard Emié, head of the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE), recently revealed an intelligence report, purportedly showing a meeting between top al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb commanders.
Bernard said that Fighters have also been sent to the borders of Nigeria, Niger and Chad, where groups linked to the hardline Islamist sect Boko Haram operate.
SUPREMACY FIGHT BETWEEN BOKO HARAM AND ISWAP
In NIGERIA, the JAS and ISWAP have also replicated same, nullifying possibilities of a merger.
In what appeared to be a continuation of their sustained inter-rivalry feuds, the fighters of the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) and the Jamā’at Ahlil Sunnah lid-Da’wah wal-Jihād, Boko Haram groups had carried out many attacks that caused the groups huge casualty and losses of war assets in Gajibo in Dikwa, Banki, Gaizuwa, Mantari, Gabchari, Tumbuns and Maimusari in the North East of Bama.
From 25 Oct 22 till date, attacks between both rival groups have intensified. A JAS video released on 1 Nov 22 is instructive!, showcasing battle with ISWAP counterparts.
These worsening of inter-rivalry clashes between jihadist groups may lead them to irreversible self-destruction as the revolting ISWAP had vowed to battle more with members of its former main body than even with the Nigerian troops.
Al-QAEDA has accepted pledge of allegiance by ANSARU who is currently in careful partnership with JAS
Jamā’at Ahlil Sunnah lid-Da’wah wal-Jihād(JAS) had currently decentralised leadership attempt to prove its worth and could have obtained new weapons with the recent show of prowess against ISWAP dominance.
On Oct. 25 2022, The Boko Haram terrorists Conveyed hundreds of fighters in 18 gun trucks and motorcycles from Gargashe, Bula Ggufdoye, Ngori, kote, Tangalanga, kulo gomna, Bulamarwaye, Garje, Wuta and Mordo to carry out a deadly attack in Cameroon where they carted away dozens of arms and ammunition including five Anti Aircraft Guns.
This is albeit intelligence reports on planned impending attacks to be carried out on troops locations for weapons at, BANKI, DAMBOA, MALLAM FATORI and MONGUNO as well as MNJTF locations in CHETTIMARI, BOSSO and NGUIGUIMI in NIGER.
The group also recently claimed attack on troops in REPUBLIC of CHAD showcasing weapons on their local media wing (pictures attached).
ISIS/ISWAPs strong ideological base is backed by finances leading to a constant recruitment cycle. In disparity, ANSARU/JAS intends to revive the group from surrendered ex-BHT members and freeing others incarcerated in several detention centers within the Country. Please note this dose not contradict ISIS directives but rather a counter against al-QAEDA so as to champion freedom of incarcerated inmates.
The rivalry attacks between ISIS and al-QAEDA affiliated groups could spread to other areas. Consequences expected include spread of weapons, mercenaries and other support base to partners in other countries.
Refugee situation has already worsened with the population in affected areas fleeing to seek solace in other countries. This could heighten epidemic diseases and other health issues.
Economically, there could also be immense shortages of food and and other supplies emanating from the instability with attacks on farmers and abandoned large farmlands witnessed within the SAHEL.
Already, terrorist organisations seek to discredit existing authorities by establishing parallel rule over the populace. Regional stability is further worsened orchestrated by recent terrorist attacks, which have been on the increase.
Rather unnoticed the world view is currently tilted towards the RUSSIA/UKRAINE War and its attendant consequences. As such, with global attention of individual States diverted, international terrorist organisations like ISIS and al-QAEDA have taken advantage of this void to wreak havoc since such groups have no stake attached.
It is imperative for AFRICAN States to uphold regional stability by strengthening security apparatuses put in place to checkmate these trends.
In these views, MNJTF and G5 SAHEL should be robust to counter affiliated terrorist cells in REPUBLICS of BENIN, MALI, BURKINA FASO, NIGER, CHAD, CAMEROON and NIGERIA.
Synergy with outfits, particularly INTERPOL, is necessary to truncate existence of funding terrorist cells in MAURITANIA and MAHGREB as a whole. It is imperative that ONSA brings this to light in executive conferences in AU and ECOWAS summits with a view to enhancing modalities against the spate of terrorism in WEST AFRICA and AFRICA as a whole. End.
Zagazola Makama is a Counter Insurgency Expert and Security Analyst in the LakeChad.