ISWAP drops leaflets in Yobe, threatens “war” against government, officials
Jihadists linked to an Islamic State insurgency group have registered their presence in Yobe State, despite claims from the Nigeria Army that the state is free of terrorists.
Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists Thursday dropped leaflets in Buni Gari region of the state threatening to attack security officials in the region. ISWAP is a splinter group of Boko Haram.
The leaflets, written in Hausa and sighted by Global Sentinel, feature the black flag of ISIS and titled “Message From Jundul Khialifa To People of Buni Gari” – from its English translation.
The identity and origin of those that distributed the leaflets cannot be independently verified by The Guardian.
“You have been catching our brothers and killing them, unfortunately, we don’t target you with our weapons,” the leaflets read.
“Our war is against the government and it’s official (soldiers and police and vigilante and all those that assist them in fighting us in anyway) anyone that is in this category, then he knows we will kill him if we get an advantage on him.
“If you want to live in peace like you are living, then take your hands off us,” it said.
The leaflet, however, is contrary to claims by the Nigerian Army that the state is terrorism-free.
Despite arm fortifications, insurgents continue to launch attacks in the region. In fact, the South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies recently reported that the terrorists are extending its reach from north-east Nigeria into the country’s north-west.
It added that the terrorists are taking advantage of old and new local conflicts and insecurities to further embed themselves in the area through violent extremism.
Since January 2019 thousands of people in the north-west states of Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara have been killed or injured. Others have lost their livelihoods. At least about 23,000 persons have been displaced and dozens have been abducted for ransom, nurturing an economy of violence, ISS Africa reported.
Communities in the north-west and north-central Nigeria, lacking state protection, are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the converging threats.
Boko Haram launched a bloody insurgency in 2009 in northeastern Nigeria but it later spread to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a military response.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says more than 30,000 people have been killed and nearly 3 million displaced in the decade of Boko Haram’s terrorist activities in Nigeria.
Violence committed by Boko Haram has affected some 26 million people in the Lake Chad region and displaced 2.6 million others, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
The United Nations last Friday said 10.6 million out of the 13 million people in the conflict-ravaged states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe would need humanitarian assistance this year.
It said the figures represented a 50-per cent increase since last year and the highest tally since the beginning of the joint humanitarian response five years ago.