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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).

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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.

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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.

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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 won 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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