ISIS attacks an international aid center in Nigeria … and captures 25 employees

On Monday, armed men launched an attack on a United Nations aid center in the city of Dikwa in northeastern Nigeria and surrounded an animal shelter in which, according to security and aid sources, 25 helpers were seeking protection.

A military source said dozens of ISIS militants in West Africa stormed the city of Dikwa and stormed a military base after soldiers escaped and set a UN relief center on fire, resulting in its complete burn. He added, “ISIS terrorists in West Africa launched two simultaneous attacks on the large camp (a military base) and the United Nations humanitarian center.”

A source of aid, unsolicited, said: “The armed men burned the entire humanitarian center, but no employee has been injured so far.” “We have 25 employees who are housed by the militants in the beleaguered shelter,” he added.

Air support

According to the military source, the army sent reinforcements from the city of Marti, 40 kilometers away, to break the siege of the aid workers. He said, “Two fighter jets and a helicopter are providing air support to keep the terrorists away from the burning humanitarian center.”

This attack comes exactly three years after an attack by militants of the organization in West Africa on March 1, 2018 on a United Nations humanitarian center in the city of Rann (northeast), in which three helpers were killed and a fourth kidnapped, in addition to the killing of eight Nigerian soldiers.

Northeast Nigeria has been plagued by violence since the extremist group Boko Haram launched an armed uprising in 2009. In 2016, ISIS split from Boko Haram in West Africa and became the main threat in Nigeria.

Since it erupted in 2009, the conflict has killed more than 36,000 people and displaced two million others.

On Friday, ISIS fighters in West Africa attacked the city of Dikwa aboard machine-gun trucks, causing its residents to flee.

The city is 90 kilometers from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, and is home to more than 130,000 people, including 75,000 displaced people who have fled other parts of the region, live in camps and rely on food aid from humanitarian organizations.

Hit and run

On February 15, IS fighters in West Africa captured Marti, the strategic city from which the military reinforcements sent to Dikwa were launched on Monday evening. After a week, the army regained control of the city.

That same week, the other organization, Boko Haram, launched a mortar attack on Maiduguri, killing at least 16 people and injuring dozens.

Since the end of 2020, the two organizations have intensified their attacks in the region and prompted President Muhammadu Buhari, who is subject to severe criticism of his management of the security situation in the country, to dismiss the four main commanders of the army and appoint their successors at the end of January.

Bukhari, the former general, promised to put down the uprising in the north-east of the country when he was elected president in 2015, but his armed forces are fighting with the militants.

Six years after Buhari came to power, the two organizations still control large rural areas as well as the many strategic methods they use to launch attacks and set up fake checkpoints to kidnap military personnel, civilians and employees of non-military government organizations.

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