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Nigeria is confronted by multiple security challenges, notably the resilient Boko Haram Islamist insurgency in the north east, long-running discontent and militancy in the Niger Delta, increasing violence between herders and farming communities spreading from the central belt southward, and separatist Biafra agitation in the Igbo south east. Violence, particularly by the Boko Haram insurgency, has displaced more than two million people, created a massive humanitarian crisis, and prompted the rise of civilian vigilante self-defence groups that pose new policy dilemmas and possible security risks. Crisis Group seeks to help the Nigerian government by shedding new light on the country’s security challenges, de-escalating risks and tension, and encouraging regional and gender-specific approaches toward ending the violence durably.

CrisisWatch Nigeria

Unchanged Situation

Armed group attacks on villages and military left over 100 dead in north west, and jihadist violence persisted in north east. In north west, security operations early Sept killed scores of armed group members in Zamfara and Katsina states’ forests, and angry residents 18 Sept lynched 13 armed group members detained at police facility in Tangaza area of Sokoto state; groups however continued attacks, killing over 100. In Sokoto, gunmen 24 or 25 Sept attacked military base in Sabon Birni area, killing 17 soldiers, police and civil defence corps: military blamed attack on “suspected ISWAP terrorists and bandits”; 28 Sept killed at least 20 people in same area. In Kaduna state, gunmen 26-27 Sept killed at least 51 people in attacks on villages in Kaura and Zangon Kataf areas. In Niger state, gunmen 28 Sept killed over 30 in three villages in Munyan area. Meanwhile in Borno state (north east), troops 1 Sept repelled insurgents’ attack on military base in Rann town; 17 including aid worker reportedly killed. Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) 16 Sept ambushed military convoy in Monguno town, killing unconfirmed number. In neighbouring Yobe state, airstrike on village in Yunusari area 15 Sept killed scores including civilians; ISWAP had reportedly used location as hideout. Militants mostly from embattled Boko Haram (BH) faction of late Abubakar Shekau (JAS) continued to surrender: military 2 Sept said 6,000 combatants had laid down arms in recent weeks. Intelligence agency 14 Sept warned JAS elements were relocating to and setting up camps in Kaduna state. Military 19 Sept reported ISWAP had started mass recruitment drive, apparently in preparation for major offensives in coming months. In Middle Belt, armed group 12-13 Sept stormed prison in Kabba town, Kogi state, freeing about 240 inmates, but state govt 27 Sept said 132 escapees rearrested; attack reportedly meant to free incarcerated BH/ISWAP commander. In south east, violence persisted between security forces and outlawed separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Notably, police blamed IPOB for 19 Sept attack on police post in Idemili North area of Anambra state, which left three dead.
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Reports & Briefings

In The News

5 Jul 2021
The persistent targeting of schools in [Kaduna] suggests the armed groups may be trying to break the state government’s resolve not to pay ransom to criminal groups. The Guardian

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
16 Mar 2021
The [Nigerian] military [has] yet to achieve decisive results against the insurgents in the northeast and various armed groups in the northwest. Al Jazeera

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
1 Mar 2021
Les gouverneurs locaux [au Nigéria] insistent pour dire qu’aucune rançon n’a jamais été versée, mais c’est très difficile à croire. Le Monde Afrique

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
28 May 2019
Massive unemployment [in Nigeria] has created a growing army of unemployed youth, vulnerable to recruitment in the criminal industry. BBC

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria
12 Feb 2019
Stakes are high for Nigeria and the region. A vote marred in controversy and violence inevitably would hinder efforts to address the country’s security and economic challenges. African Arguments

Robert Malley

Former President & CEO
14 Jan 2019
While ending the insurgency and countering the militants’ appeal is obviously vital, it is also essential to recognise what precisely has guided women to join [Boko Haram] in the first place. The Guardian

Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender

Latest Updates

EU Watch List / Global

Watch List 2021 – Spring Update

Every year Crisis Group publishes two additional Watch List updates that complement its annual Watch List for the EU, most recently published in January 2021. These publications identify major crises and conflict situations where the European Union and its member states can generate stronger prospects for peace. The Spring Update of the Watch List 2021 includes entries on Bolivia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Ukraine and Yemen.

Briefing / Africa

An Exit from Boko Haram? Assessing Nigeria’s Operation Safe Corridor

In 2016, Nigeria launched a program to help Boko Haram defectors reintegrate into civilian life. Rare interviews with the “deradicalisation” facility’s graduates reveal some encouraging signs but also troubling patterns that – if not addressed – could endanger the initiative’s future.

Our People

Nnamdi Obasi

Senior Adviser, Nigeria