The Nigerian Air Force in coordination with the Nigerian Army and regional troops of the Multinational Joint Task Force ( MNJTF) launched a successfully coordinated intelligence-led aerial strike on Boko Haram Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP ) hideouts in the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin on September 26, 2020. 

The precision airstrikes were deployed just hours after a surprise ambush by a unit of ISIS-linked Islamic State of West Africa Province on a resettlement convoy en route Baga - several brave soldiers, policemen and civilians were sacrificed and wounded. This is the second ambush on the convoy of the BORNO state government in less than three months. The governor was not in the convoy of the latest ISWAP ambush which occurred along Monguno cross Kauwa road in comparison to the July 2020 ambush in Baga town. 

Impeccable sources have confirmed that the aerial strikes targeted ISWAP jihadist at a location given as ARINNA SORO — situated along the fringes of the Lake Chad and Nigeria's northeastern state of Borno.

An initial ground damage assessment revealed the operational leadership decapitation of at least two-battlefield hardened ISWAP commanders - One Amir Sa'ad and another known as Abu Rahi. These two commanders are known to have previously cheated death alongside hundreds of jihadist fighters in a recent targeted aerial strike by the Nigerian Air Force in coordination with ground troops of the MNJTF at several jihadist locations; Kirta, Wulgo, Kwalaram, Tumbun Gini, Bakkassi, Kusuma, Bukar Mairam and Sabon Tumbun. 

In the September 26 Airstrikes, sources also confirmed that dozens of ISWAP fighters were eliminated while some of the insurgents' heavy armoury was hit and destroyed by the precision Airstrike. In a chain of misfortune for ISWAP jihadist, scores of escaping insurgents were killed after own planted mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were ignited by the Nigerian Air Force strike. 

In recent months, Boko Haram Shekau and ISWAP factions have lost major camps as a result of aerial bombardment from state and regional forces targeting locations in the Sambisa Forest and the fringes of Lake Chad Basin. Thousands of Boko Haram ISWAP fighters have been neutralised with more than 22 high profile Commanders killed in the same period. 

State and regional operations have recorded a number of battlefield successes. This should not be impacted by jihadist ambush/hit and run tactics common in asymmetric warfare environment. 


It is imperative for the Nigerian Military, regional MNJTF and civilian intervention to maintain the tempo of current operational coordination and focus on delivering effective intervention activities in the region. 

Intelligence-led and coordinated ground and aerial strikes continue to weaken and destabilise the battlefield capacity of Boko Haram ISWAP factions operating in North East/West Nigeria; Sambisa Forest; the Mandara mountains and the axis of the Lake Chad Basin states. 

In asymmetric warfare, kinetic efforts are not designed to produce a stand-alone sustainable solution. These significant security and military efforts ( despite existing challenges) should be complemented with equal inter(Multi) agency engagement from civilian driven local government, state , Federal ( National), and regional coordination— with particular focus on reclaiming ungoverned or partially governed spaces to prevent jihadist from benefiting by deploying hearts and minds activities — including fund raising and recruitment of vulnerable men and women into their depleted ranks. 


About The Author

David Otto is the Director for Stepped In – Step Out UK Ltd and a Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Expert. He is a Certified Anti -Terrorism Specialist (CAS), a Certified Master Anti -Terrorism Specialist (CMAS) and a programme trainer with the Anti -Terrorism Accreditation Board (ATAB). Twitter @ottotgs



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