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The fighting in Nigeria, and specifically in the northeastern region of Lake Chad is turning into a bloody three-way conflict.
On one side are the Nigerian Armed Forces and whatever support they can muster from their allies, fighting against terrorists who often also clash among themselves.
In recent days heavy infighting has been reported between Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
Recently, ISWAP emerged as the dominant faction in Nigeria’s conflict.
This is especially true after the death of rival Boko Haram commander Abubakar Shekau in May during infighting between the groups.
Additionally, on September 26th, Abubakar Dogo Daawa, a Boko Haram leader was killed by ISWAP in Babangida.
Heavy fighting broke out between the two terrorist factions, with scores being killed and injured on both sides.
Boko Haram jihadists on September 25th launched an attack on rival ISWAP militants on the Nigerian side of Lake Chad, ISWAP’s bastion.
Large numbers of heavily armed Boko Haram insurgents in speed boats invaded Kirta Wulgo island after dislodging ISWAP security checkpoints in a multi hour long fight.
The seizure of Kirta Wulgo would be a huge setback to ISWAP as the island served as a port for the importation weapons and supplies into its territory.
ISWAP split from Boko Haram in 2016 and rose to become the dominant jihadist group, focusing on attacking military bases and ambushing troops.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army’s Joint Task Force is attempting to contain both groups, with limited success.
On September 30th, the army reported that an operation had resulted in the killing of 85 terrorists from both factions after a month, which is fewer than what infighting had resulted in.
More impressive, or rather more worrisome is that the terrorists keep surrendering, and it is questionable what will happen to those people.
Throughout the month, a total of 2,783 terrorists and their family members surrendered to the troops as a result of the intensity of fire from artillery and air bombardment during the period as part of an ongoing mass surrender by the Boko Haram members in Borno State.
It is unclear what will happen to them, as if they’re not imprisoned in some way, radicalized militants are certain to continue to cause upsets.
Still, not all army operations conclude with such success.
On September 25th, at least 20 fishermen were killed in a botched Nigerian military airstrike on a suspected jihadist camp in the Lake Chad area.
The reports of casualties came less than two weeks after officials say another air strike on a village killed 9 civilians in the same area.
As a result, it seems that in addition to barely carrying out a successful operation against the terrorists themselves, the Nigerian Armed Forces are also harming the civilians they’re supposed to protect.
The jihadist infighting is indeed more successful in culling their numbers than the army’s operations.