ISWAP planning to use drones for attacks – ISS hints Nigeria


Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) is preparing to
use drones for attacks in the Lake Chad Basin, according to the Institute for
Security Studies (ISS).


In an attempt to strike undetected, the unmanned aerial
vehicles (UAVs) will fly improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to targeted
locations in Nigeria and neighbouring countries.


The ISS noted that the Nigerian military had inflicted
losses on Boko Haram factions, Jama’atu Ahlis-Sunna Lidda’Awati Wal-Jihad (JAS)
and ISWAP, forcing the latter to re-strategize.


The research, comprising analysis of propaganda materials
and interviews with former combatants and associates, shows an elaborate use of
communication technology.


This includes satellite phones, drones, social media,
high-speed printers, laptops, cameras, Wi-Fi, clip-on microphones,
walkie-talkies, and data compression and archiving software.


The research found that the tools are used by ISWAP’s media
team led by Abba Yusuf (aka Abu Rumaisa), son of the late Boko Haram founder
Mohammed Yusuf.


Former fighters who volunteered information recalled how
staff were recruited from within the sect and taught how to position
themselves, and take photos and videos during attacks.


ISS was informed ISWAP used Thuraya Wi-Fi and spent about
$6,000 monthly on data and that Lagos was the main supply source before a
switch to Chad, where satellite phones are illegal.


On how to curb the drone attacks, the security policy
think-tank charged security agencies to sustain surveillance on supply routes
through checkpoint searches which “have proved successful”.


“Those bringing in equipment and accessories should explain
their destinations; collaboration among security forces in the four affected
Lake Chad Basin countries can help,” it noted.


Regarding military collaborators who assist terrorists, the
military was encouraged to “hold their personnel to the highest standards and
use an independent ombudsman to deter corruption”.


On civilians colluding with terror groups, the authorities
were advised to liaise with community leaders and relevant groups to identify
and disrupt networks helping terrorists.


With insurgents likely to engage in cybercrime, the research
further recommended increased government investment in technology and
partnership with tech companies.


“Going after ISWAP’s money is vital…to its major revenue
base. Curtailing access to technology will prevent it from using tech to plan
and execute attacks, spread propaganda and recruit,” ISS added.


Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC) has warned Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) against terrorism financing
and money laundering.


At a meeting on Wednesday, EFCC Maiduguri Zonal Commander,
Oshodi Johnson advised them to be committed to humanitarian work and shun acts
against the laws of Nigeria.


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