In 2022, operations carried out by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Nigeria resulted in a total of 259 casualties from 39 attacks across the country.
This is according to a report by SBM Intelligence, a geopolitical intelligence platform in Nigeria.
Evolving from Boko Haram, ISWAP, also known as the Islamic State West Africa Province, is a regional group affiliated with ISIS. Their main objective is to establish an Islamic state in West Africa, aligning themselves with the extremist ideology and methods of ISIS.
ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), is a radical extremist organisation that seeks to create a self-declared Islamic caliphate based on their rigid interpretation of Sunni Islam. They employ violent and terror tactics to further their goals.
A particularly shocking event occurred in June when a Catholic church in Ondo, South West Nigeria was targeted in an attack.
The SBM Intelligence report highlighted this incident, noting, “Although the government was quick to blame Boko Haram’s breakaway faction, the ISIS-backed Islamic State West Africa Province (who are yet to claim responsibility for the attack), 2022 has been quite a successful year for the group in its expansion goals as it carried out successful attacks in the FCT, Kano, Kaduna, and set up bases in Niger and neighbouring states.”
Both ISWAP and ISIS have established their presence in eight states out of the 36 in Nigeria. These states include Niger, Kogi, Yobe, Borno, Kano, Ondo, Taraba, Adamawa, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The two terrorist organisations collectively executed 39 attacks in these locations, indicating their active reach.