This Islamic State released a video Wednesday touting the successes of its African affiliate, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), the terror group more popularly known as Boko Haram. The jihadists in the video vow to enslave the entire continent, beginning with the conquest of Niger.
The video titled “Invading Niger” shows Boko Haram jihadists in training, speaking in what appears to be the regional Hausa language. With a jihadist nasheed, or fight song, playing in the background, the video also shows Islamic State jihadists attacking Bosso, a Nigerien town on the Niger-Nigeria border. The terrorists attacked a military camp in the town, directly threatening troops deployed to help Nigeria contain the Islamist insurgency.
Boko Haram repeatedly attacked Bosso in May and June due to the military presence there. In response, neighboring Chad deployed 2,000 troops to the town in June, with Chadian authorities noting that the troops that would be operating in the town would not only be Chadian but “multi-national.” Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger have had an extended cooperation agreement to fight Boko Haram since 2014.
Boko Haram is headquartered in Borno, Nigeria, with its leaders believed to be hiding in the dense Sambisa forest in the northeastern Nigerian state. The government of President Muhammadu Buhari launched an extended campaign to eradicate the terrorist group in late 2015, and the president himself announced in December that “technically, we have won the war” against Boko Haram.
Boko Haram has repeatedly managed to stage terrorist attacks since then, however, forcing the Nigerian government to insist that every new successful attack is a sign that the organization has been destroyed.
The group has also managed successes not necessarily associated with the battlefield. For example, the Nigerian government last week arrested one of President Buhari’s bodyguards for having ties to Boko Haram, a sign that the group has managed to infiltrate the highest levels of the Nigerian government.
This week, three female suicide bombers attempted to attack a refugee camp in Borno. Soldiers thwarted two of the women, but the third detonated herself near two civilians, injuring them.
Boko Haram has also expanded its reach. On Wednesday, more than 100 jihadists attacked the Cameroonian border, attacking multiple villages and robbing them of food and vital supplies. In response, national troops are going village by village destroying hidden Boko Haram supplies and looking for fugitive terrorists.
Last week, a Boko Haram terrorist blew himself up, killing seven in Cameroon, as well. The attack appears to have been retribution against local anti-jihadist vigilante groups.
The destruction of villages has created a dire humanitarian situation in the region’s refugee camps. The United Nations warned this year that up to 50,000 children could die of starvation in Borno state without further action, if people are not allowed to return home and peacefully rebuild their villages.