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Military Offensives and the ISWAP-Boko Haram Rivalry

By Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi

Recently, sustained Military onslaught against non-state actors across the country is yielding the much-anticipated results that citizens have been craving.

As a result, Boko Haram and Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) fighters, operating in North east, are being killed in aggressive combat operations by ground troops and air component of the Nigerian military.

The same success is being recorded in banditry-infested Northwest and North Central where gallant troops are invading criminals’ hideouts and decimating them. Lately, security forces ransacked bandits’ den along Abuja-Kaduna forest which led to killing of the terrorists and rescue of many hostages.

These victories recorded by the Nigerian troops have since created wrangling and confusion among the two terrorists groups in Northeast -the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) and ISWAP.

It is heartwarming to learn that, while the Military are busy killing these insurgents and reclaiming their territories, occasional rival clashes among the two terrorists syndicates have been consuming their lives as well as reducing their strength.

This disparity among the terrorists was created for quite a long time when the military intelligence community were able to infiltrate the insurgents groups which ultimately led to the killing of erstwhile Boko Haram leader.

Recall that, in May 2021, the leader of BHTs, Abubakar Shekau blew himself by detonating a suicide bomb vest when he was boxed to the corner by the ISWAP fighters led by the late Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawy, the son of the late founder of Boko Haram, who wanted him to surrender.

Ever since Shekau’s demise, the BHTs have been losing battles against the Nigerian military while they are eventually also being hunted by the ISWAP fighters and vice versa as well.

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As a result, ten thousands of Boko Haram fighters including their families have laid down their arms, called a quit and surrendered themselves to gallant troops. Most of them are now undergoing rehabilitation after which they will subsequently be reintegrated back to the society.

It was recently reported how ISWAP fighters attacked and killed many Boko Haram members who were fleeing military Air bombardments in Bama LGA of Borno State.

A credible source was quoted to have said the Boko Haram fighters fled to an area in Cingori and Yuwe, a territory of ISWAP fighters to seek refuge, but unfortunately for them, they were mopped up, immediately after being sighted by the factional group.

“Unfortunately for the Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād, an Islamic terrorist groups and their families, they were attacked by their rivals, the ISWAP who occupied Cingori and Yuwe.

“They came in their hundreds, made up of mostly children and women and many of them without clothes or shoes. Only a few of them are holding arms. They have only four motorcycles with two conveying the Commanders.” The source was quoted as saying.

In another development, it was also reported how bloody rival clash between the two terrorists groups that happened in axis between Bama and Dikwa LGAs led to dozens of casualties from both parties.
The fight, which happened on Thursday, September 15, also led to the death of a Boko Haram commander, simply identified as “Kundu.”

It was revealed by a security source that Kundu and his team were on a robbery mission when the ISWAP fighters intercepted them on six motorcycles, each conveying three fighters.

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“A heavy fight ensued between the terrorists resulting to dozens of casualties on the side of the Boko Haram terrorists, while few ISWAP terrorists were wounded.

“The Boko Haram terrorists took to their heels leaving their motorcycles to the ISWAP terrorists.” Zagazola Makama, a security analyst around Lake Chad confirmed the fight.

Amidst these heavy losses from the insurgents camps, Nigerian troops also struck the enclaves of ISWAP in multiple operations, killing scores of terrorists including three commanders in the Lake Chad Basin.

It was learnt that military fighter jet, Super Tucano as coordinated by the air component of Operations Hadin Kai destroyed three terrorists’ camps in the northern part of the Borno State.

Generally, the Military and other security forces are now on top of their games in ensuring the return of peace and security across troubled communities in the country.

The activities of unknown gunmen in the Southeast have been restrained to the bearest minimum, while militants and pipeline vandals in the Niger Delta region are embracing peace and eventually being absorbed into the Amnesty program as part of a non-kinetic approach to ending insecurity.

Also, piracy along the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) and other coastal ways has drastically reduced due sustained surveillance by the Nigerian Navy and other security forces. In fact, there is bloody nose to the criminals both across land, air and sea.

With this high spirit and doggedness exhibited and demonstrated by military troops across various theatres of war, it is only a matter of time that Nigeria’s challenging days courtesy of insecurity will be over.

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Mukhtar is a Staff Writer with the Emergency Digest,he writes from Kano.

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Musa Tanimu Nasidi
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