The menacing Boko Haram and its allies are bracing for a fresh wave of deadly attacks that will see the North-East axis of Nigeria and the entire Lake Chad region reeling in bloodbath in 2021.
Their attacks will be directed against soft civilian and hard military targets. The dare0devil terrorists are said to be planning to target military positions, routes and vulnerable towns in and around the Timbuktu triangle and the Lake Chad basin states.
The Timbuktu Triangle is however, the battleground area. There, you have Boko Haram forces at the middle while the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) which comprises the armies of Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger are surrounding them. Already, the terrorists routes to Cameroon, Chad and Niger had been blocked.
Disturbingly, Boko Haram forces are said to have infiltrated the communities, making the operation very difficult for the MNJTF. In view of the present situation, the MNJTF will have to thread with caution. Launching an all-out assault against Boko Haram forces may result in the killing of civilians. This calls for discretion and professionalism on the part of the MNJTF as they keep closing in on the Boko Haram forces.
However, the Shura Council of ISIS, the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) has appointed Aliyu Chakkar as its new Governor of the Lake Chad region
Chakkar replaces Amir Goni Maina, after the ISWAP warlord was reportedly killed in a Nigerian Army and Nigerian Air Force coordinated military bombardment. He was said to have been killed while the jihadists were in the process of conducting a strategic leadership and operational meeting at a Sabon Tumbu on December 1, 2020.
Sources say the newly appointed governor and Lake Chad basin warlord was spotted enroute to ”debrief” Amir Ba-Lawan, the ISWAP leader, in KOYOWA, the known headquarters and strong hold of the ISIS-affiliated West Africa province branch.
Chakkar was accompanied by three of his trusted lieutenants: Mohd Maluma, Ali Hussaini Ali Musak, all high ranking ISWAP field Commanders.
According to sources, while at Kayowa, the ISWAP headquarters, Ba-Lawan handed over the mantle of leadership of the Lake Chad region to the new governor who was said to have sworn to consolidate on the command and control successes recorded by late Goni Maina.
Upon assuming the new role, he allegedly “vowed to launch attacks before the end of the month.” Sources further disclosed that on December 12, Chakkar and his group of loyalists fighters returned to Sabon Tumbu and Jubularam for a familiarisation tour.
He is reported to have proceeded to his newly established command and control base at Doron Buhari which is situated around North of Kirta and East of Bakkassi town, where he was received by some other key ISWAP leaders, including Malam Abubakar Dan Buduma, Amir Bin Umar, and Commander Hakilu.
There was a crisis in the group in February when Ba’a Idirisa, son of late Muhammed Yusuf, leader of the group in Nigeria, was killed. Yusuf is the founder of the sect. His son was reportedly killed alongside three other commanders.
The ISWAP leaders were killed for “driving an idea” which was considered too soft for the insurgents.
In the mean time, 4.6 million people in the Lake Chad Basin still require emergency food assistance. Violence continues to disrupt agricultural production and livelihoods across the region.
According to the US Agency for International Development (USAID), violence continues to endanger civilians and prompt displacement across the Lake Chad Basin region, comprising Cameroon’s Far North Region, Chad’s Lac Region, Niger’s Diffa Region, and North-Eastern Nigeria’s Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states.
Conflict-affected populations throughout the Lake Chad Basin continue to face acute food insecurity. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) projects that many vulnerable populations in Diffa, Far North, and North-East may experience worse levels of acute food insecurity.
In addition, efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 have negatively affected livelihoods, restricting access to food and other essential goods and services, according to food security actors.
In June, the UN released revised 2020 Humanitarian Response Plans (HRP) for Cameroon and North-East Nigeria, which request $386 million and nearly $1.1 billion, respectively.
The Cameroon HRP aims to target 3.4 million people with emergency assistance, while the northeastern Nigeria appeal plans to provide aid to 7.8 million people—a total increase of 2.7 million people compared to the HRPs released in March, prior to the onset of COVID-19 in the region.