Report warns of relocation of terrorists from Sahel to northern Nigeria

Report warns of relocation of terrorists from Sahel to northern Nigeria

Nigeria should brace for tough times ahead in the fight against terrorism as armed groups relocate from northern Benin to its north, a report warned.

Armed extremists are increasingly settling in Kainji Lake National Park, one of Nigeria’s largest, where other armed groups have also gained access, the Clingendael Institute think tank said in a report.

Violent extremist groups, some of them affiliated to Al Qaeda, are taking advantage of loose Nigerian security in the north western region, the report mentions.

As military rulers continue to crackdown on armed banditry and extremist groups in the Sahel, many groups head south to northern Benin or northern Nigeria to engage in banditry as they also find fertile ground for recruitment among the poverty-stricken communities.

“A link between Lake Chad and the Sahel is a major opportunity for al-Qaida and the Islamic State to boast about their profiles as leaders of global jihad,” the report said.

“In northwest Nigeria, security analysts have in the past warned that the region’s remote territories, where the government is largely absent but have rich mineral resources and high poverty levels, present an opportunity for expansion for jihadi groups that had operated mainly in the Sahel, as well as the Islamic State group, whose fighters hold sway in the Lake Chad basin,” AP wrote in a recent report.

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