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June 14, 2019

Iraq
Where Will Islamic State Detainees End Up?

With the Islamic State’s retreat, thousands of people who left their countries to join the terrorist group are being detained in camps and prisons. Many governments are not willing to take them back…

A woman is pictured at al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria.

June 13, 2019

Boko Haram
New Audio Offers Potential Window Into ISWA Decision-Making

Abdulbasit Kassim, leading Boko Haram scholar, recently discovered a thirty-eight-minute recording of a purported Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) communique. I translated it from the original Kanuri. It provides a particular version and explanation of ISWA's immediate history, and sheds light on why the group executed Mamman Nur, one of the Boko Haram’s founding fathers and an influential ideologue, its internal decision-making, and ISWA’s relationship with the Islamic State (IS). It is not clear, however, the extent to which what is described in the audio is true to what actually happened. 

Islamic-State-Al-Baghdadi-West-Africa-ISWA

June 12, 2019

Nigeria
Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: April 1–7

This update represents violence in Nigeria and related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger from April 1 to 7, 2019.

Map of Nigeria shaded to reflect NST-documented deaths per state.

June 7, 2019

Nigeria
Difficulties Continue for Nigerian Journalists Covering Government

At the end of May, new rules were introduced, to take effect on June 11, that would have severely limited the press’s access to the National Assembly. According to the Nigerian Guild of Editors, the rules are “primitive, undemocratic, and blatantly anti-press and anti-people.” Happily, the proposed rules seem to have been withdrawn, however coverage of the swearing-in of members of the National Assembly will still be unusually restricted.

Nigeria-National-Assembly-Press

June 3, 2019

Nigeria
Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: May 25–31

This update represents violence in Nigeria and related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger from May 25 to 31, 2019.

Nigeria-Boko-Haram-Terrorism-Security-Tracker

May 29, 2019

Nigeria
Strapped for Cash, Nigeria Plans to Close Some Embassies

Nigeria, the “Giant of Africa,” has a long history of diplomatic leadership. It was one of the founders of the African Union and of the Economic Community of West African States. It regularly occupie…

Nigeria-Oslo-Foreign-Affairs-Minister-Onyeama

May 28, 2019

Nigeria
Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: May 18–24

This update represents violence in Nigeria and related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger from May 18 to 24, 2019.

Nigeria-Boko-Haram-Terrorism-Security-Tracker

May 24, 2019

Islamic State
Where Exactly is the Islamic State in West Africa?

The Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) claimed a May 16 attack near Tongo Tongo, Niger, killing more than 20 soldiers not far from the Malian border. In March it issued a photo of its members in Burkina Faso and in April it claimed an attack on a militia in Mali. But, it is not clear that the ISWA group based primarily in Nigeria is behind those attacks. 

Cameroon-Boko-Haram-Islamic-State-Terrorism-West-Africa

May 23, 2019

Nigeria
ISWA Tries to Win Over Some Nigerians While Killing Others

The conventional wisdom is that the Boko Haram faction that calls itself the Islamic State in West African (ISWA) is less brutal than Abubakar Shekau’s rival faction, notorious for the Chibok school girl kidnapping and the targeting of civilians. There is some truth to this: ISWA has avoided using female and child suicide bombers and it does not seem to indiscriminately murder entire villages. Its rhetoric does not glory in murder like Shekau’s.

Nigeria-ISWA-Boko-Haram-Military-Bomb

May 21, 2019

Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Women and Terrorism: Hidden Threats, Forgotten Partners

A new report from the Women and Foreign Policy program, launched this week, highlights the roles that women play in violent extremism—including as perpetrators, mitigators, and victims—and offers rec…

A woman embraces a Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter after she was evacuated with others by the SDF from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016.