Country Report on Terrorism 2018 - Chapter 5 - ISIS-West Africa

Aka Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP); Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-West Africa (ISIS-WA); Islamic State of Iraq and Syria West Africa Province; ISIS West Africa Province; ISIS West Africa; ISIS-West Africa (ISIS-WA).

Description: ISIS-West Africa (ISIS-WA) was designated as a FTO on February 28, 2018. In March 2015, a faction of Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS in an audiotape message. ISIS accepted the group’s pledge and the group began calling itself ISIS-West Africa. In August 2016, ISIS announced that Abu Musab al-Barnawi was to become the new leader of ISIS-WA.

Activities: ISIS-WA has been responsible for numerous attacks in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region since 2016. In January 2017, ISIS-WA conducted a midnight attack against Nigerian troops in the village of Kamuya resulting in the death of three Nigerian soldiers. In February 2018, ISIS-WA abducted a Christian student in Nigeria and in March kidnapped three aid workers during an attack that killed dozens of other people. ISIS-WA killed one of the three aid workers in September and another in October. In November, ISIS-WA claimed responsibility for five attacks in Chad and Nigeria that resulted in 118 deaths. Throughout 2018, ISIS-WA was involved in numerous attacks on Nigerian army bases.

Strength: ISIS-WA has an estimated 3,500 members.

Location/Area of Operation: ISIS-WA operates in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.

Funding and External Aid: ISIS-WA receives funding from local sources, the capture of military supplies, taxes, and kidnapping-for-ransom payments.