After numerous recent reports of “bandit activity” and reports that the group had been falling apart, Boko Haram has instead appeared to have regrouped and expanded out of the usual area of Islamic militancy, northeast Nigeria, into the north-central Nigerian state of Niger, with local government saying that a good 30% of one of the state’s Local Government Areas’ wards having militants present.

All this makes the situation in Niger state very volatile, especially with several communities now under Boko Haram control. This should also come as a humiliating shock to the central government, who have for weeks been toting their counter-insurgency strategy as being very effective in turning a page in the 11-year long war. There is also to unpack strategically for the Nigerian government. Niger state borders the federal capital territory, not just moving the conflict to a new theater of war, but also creating the (very slight) possibility that a serious threat on the capital now exists. This could also be evidence that the terror threat is not receding, but expanding. Combine that with a new slew of Islamic State – West Africa Province attacks over the past two weeks, and it is possible that the Government may be vulnerable to lose territory in other areas as well.

As always, it is incredibly hard to know what exactly is going on on-the-ground in Nigeria, but if current reports actually turn out to be even close to true, the situation has gotten worse not better.

-Charles

Sources:

https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/boko-haram-moves-into-north-central-nigeria-apparent-expansion-officials-2021-10-03/

Investigating The ‘Boko Haram’ Presence In Niger State