Stefan Kolendo, Analyst, JTIC – IHS Jane’s Terrorism & Insurgency Monitor
27 January 2014
Nigerian soldiers guard the Nigerian Television Authority‘s offices in Maiduguri, Borno State, on 6 June 2013. The federal government declared a six-month state of emergency in the northeast states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa on 14 May. Source: PA
At least 52 people were killed and more than 300 residences were destroyed when 50 suspected Boko Haram militants – armed with small-arms and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) – raided the village of Kawuri in Nigeria’s Borno State late on 26 January. Earlier that day, in the village of Waga Chakawa in neighbouring Adamawa State, at least 45 civilians were killed and an unspecified number of others were taken hostage when suspected Boko Haram militants opened fire at a church during a Sunday morning service, before setting it and several other nearby buildings on fire.
Borno police commissioner Lawan Tanko was cited by the French news agency Agence France-Presse on 27 January as blaming the attack on “the Boko Haram Sect”, further stating that the toll “could increase as our men are still in the village searching for more casualties”.
The federal government declared a six-month state of emergency in the northeast states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa on 14 May 2013 in response to high levels of Islamist militant activities in the region. Mobile phone networks in the three states were temporarily shut down, along with the deployment of over 2,000 additional police and army forces to the area.
Despite this, and with an extension of the state of emergency for a further six months approved on 20 November, Boko Haram’s operational activity has persisted in the region. Although militants have been pushed from key urban centres in the states, the group’s units have regrouped in rural areas and continued to launch punitive attacks targeting the local population. According to data recorded in open sources by IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre (JTIC), at least 177 people have been killed in 12 attacks attributed to Boko Haram in these three states since the state of emergency was extended, including the two attacks on 26 January.
The continuing failure to bring an end to Nigeria’s Islamist insurgency was probably a contributing factor in President Goodluck Jonathan‘s decision to replace his military high command on 16 January, with new military chief Air Marshal Alex Badeh on 20 January stating his aim was to defeat the insurgency by the end of April. However, the two attacks less than a week later indicate that this may prove to be difficult to achieve.