Road to Abuja Faced with a New Threat of Hidden Bombs: Nigerian Authorities

Security officials admitted on April 26 that roadside bombs, a jihadist asymmetric game changer in the northeastern part of the country, are now threatening Nigerian roads and railroads across northern states.

“The Department of State (DSS) is drawing public attention to its criminal elemental plans to return the country to pre-2015 eras, reminiscent of IED attacks on soft and hard targets in parts of the country.” An agency that functions like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to a press release from the United States Department of State.

The statement implies that the terrorist group Boko Haram frequently used suicide bombers and vehicle-mounted explosive devices between 2011 and 2015.

Boko Haram first attacked the Western government on August 26, 2011 in a vehicle bomb attack on UN headquarters in Abuja, killing 23 people and injuring more than 80.

The DSS warning was issued a month after a group of thieves derailed a passenger train using an improvised explosive device (IED) on the way from Abuja to the city of Kaduna on March 28, killing eight passengers. Occurs. An additional 165 people were kidnapped for ransom.

The ingenuity of the attack sent a shock wave throughout Nigeria.

Epoch Times Photo
Multinational forces set fire to a shelter used by Boko Haram terrorists on March 30 on the southern shore of Lake Chad. (Provided by Colonel Muhammed Dole)

“It wasn’t a normal kidnapping attack,” said Professor Murtala Rufa’i of Usmanu Danfodiyo University. Rufa’i is an expert on a large bandit that terrorizes the five northwestern states of Nigeria.

A government spokesman admitted that the northwestern bandits had formed some alliance with jihadist terrorists, who until recently had been confined to the northeastern part of the country.

“Although cases of such incidents have already been reported in some areas, the service has launched further attacks on critical infrastructure and frequently used public places such as worship and relaxation centers. For the purpose of doing so, it has revealed plans to form an alliance on suspicion of criminal gangs, especially during and after holidays and celebrations, according to a DSS statement.

IEDs are increasingly being deployed by elements of Boko Haram and ISIS (ISWAP) in West Africa, which are being attacked by multinational forces in the Lake Chad region, but are not frequently used in northwestern Nigeria.

“But a new alliance between jihadists and bandits should be widely used. [of] Roadside bombs, vehicle bombs, and bombs can have a huge impact, “Brig retired. General Arnie Audino told The Epoch Times.

“IED is an asymmetric feature,” Audino added. “Creating an IED costs little, but its employment can have a significantly disproportionate impact.”

“For example, when used in a road network, no one wants to use those roads. Extensive use of IEDs in the populous areas of Nigeria can have a significant impact on the country’s economy. . “

Epoch Times Photo
A man passing by a newly completed Abuja-Kaduna night train on July 21, 2016 in Abuja. (Stringer via Getty Images / AFP)

The US military has decades of experience and acquired skills to defeat IED users.

“Every Iraqi bomb manufacturing plant had its own signature. The Iraqi coalition tracked and targeted the plant based on its unique characteristics. It also supplies explosives and parts. I also learned how to attack the network, “added Audino.

“It is in the United States’ interest to help Nigerians deal with this threat,” he said.

On April 25, Nigerian troops claimed victory in the Lake Chad campaign. Known as Operation Sanity Lake, it killed more than 100 terrorists and released 50 women and children who were hostages.

However, IEDs are increasingly cited as murderers of Nigerian soldiers and civilians.

According to media reports, Maj. Gen. Christopher Musa, the chief commander of the operation against the Boko Haram rebels still evacuated to the southern part of the Lake Chad basin, said the detection and disarmament of the IED was a major challenge. Stated.

According to, Nigerian and multinational forces in several parts of Borno have been hit by 81 roadside bombs in recent months.

During a clearing operation in March, troops discovered 21 hidden IEDs on a 100-mile road leading to the vast Sanvisa Forest, where rebels evacuated to an underground complex.

“Locally made improvised explosive devices account for more than half of the deaths recorded in ongoing rebellion suppression operations in the northeast,” security expert Zagazora Makama quoted military sources. Said.

The IED bomb manufacturing facility was one of the awards won by the multinational forces to drive out terrorist excursions in March and April.

“Sophisticated weapons of various calibers, including 105mm cannons, several canoes, boats, motorcycles, bicycles and other terrorist equipment, have been destroyed or captured. Multinational spokesman Muhammed Doll The captain said in a press release.

“Armed forces now rely entirely on the use of IEDs,” says Makama.

“Terrorists have continued to perfect the means of improvising the components used to make explosives and the way they camouflage their detection,” he added. “Some of these instant explosives were seen throughout the northeastern theater by the explosives disposal team.”

According to London-based defense consultant David Otto, rival ISWAP groups have become dominant in the northeast, causing terrorists working with Boko Haram to flee northwestern Nigeria for over a year.

Some terrorist crime groups have moved to northwestern states to escape the deadly battle between ISWAP and enthusiastic Boko Haram supporters after the death of their leader a year ago.

Epoch Times Photo
David Otto, a West African security expert based in London.

“The battle and hunting of rival leaders has disrupted the unity of ISWAP jihadists and forced rival groups to escape from the outskirts of Lake Chad,” Otto wrote.

“Some have been captured by security forces. Some experienced commanders have fled elsewhere for security or to neighboring countries for sanctuary.” People have formed an alliance with the crime network in the northwest, “Written Otto.

Douglas Burton


Douglas Burton is a former US State Department employee stationed in Kirkuk, Iraq.He writes news and commentary from Washington DC