Flag of Islamic State – ALAA AL-MARJANI / SYRIA – Archive
The jihadist group Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) announced this Friday the execution of four workers of the non-governmental organization Action Against Hunger (ACH) kidnapped in July in northeastern Nigeria.
ISWA kidnapped six NGO workers – five men and one woman – on July 18 near the town of Damasak, in Borno state, in an attack that resulted in the death of another humanitarian worker.
Action against Hunger has expressed its “deep condolences” to the loved ones of the fatalities, who join another worker who was executed at the end of September by the group.
“ACH condemns these latest murders in the strongest terms and deeply regrets that its calls for the release of the hostages have not been answered,” he said.
He has also expressed concern about the situation of the abducted woman, Grace Taku, who remains in the hands of the group.
The NGO has reiterated that “any attack against humanitarian workers impacts on vulnerable civilians” and recalled that it delivers food aid every month to about 300,000 people in the northeast of the African country.
“Action against Hunger asks the public and the media to respect the dignity of the victims and the privacy of their families and not to share the images or videos that may circulate on the Internet,” he said.
In September, the Nigerian Government ordered the suspension of the Action against Hunger and Mercy Corps activities in the northeast of the country after accusing them of collaborating with ISWA and Boko Haram. The measure was lifted on October 31, although with conditions.
Ado Isa, one of the spokesmen for the Nigerian Army, said in announcing the decision that the authorities had seen suspicious “activities” by organizations working in the northeast of the country.
Thus, he stressed that the Armed Forces had “credible information” that indicated that “ACH is one of the NGOs operating in the Northeast that is known for delivering food and medicine to criminals in the area.”
The United Nations estimates that in the northeastern part of Nigeria alone, especially punished by Islamist violence, there are 7.1 million people in need of help.
On the other hand, ISWA has claimed to have killed 15 members of a self-defense group in an attack executed Thursday in the Nigerian town of Mamuri, also located in the state of Borno.
In its statement, collected by the SITE Intelligence Group, an agency specialized in monitoring terrorist groups, the jihadist group has indicated that “the caliphate soldiers attacked a pro-government militia headquarters loyal to the Nigerian apostate government.”
This jihadist group on Thursday claimed responsibility for the attack carried out at night on Tuesday against a Niger Army base in the city of Inates (west), which resulted in the death of at least 71 soldiers.
ISWA was split in 2016 by the jihadist group Boko Haram, which started in 2009 an insurgency in northeastern Nigeria that later extended to neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
The faction that maintains the name of Boko Haram is led by Abubakar Shekau, who swore allegiance to the Islamic State in 2015 but was set aside as leader by the terrorist organization a year later.
ISWA was led by Abú Musab al Barnaui – son of Buko Haram's founder, Mohamed Yusuf -, who was removed this year from office and replaced by Abú Abdulá ibn Umar al Barnaui.
According to a study published by the think-tank Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), under the US Department of Defense, Boko Haram committed 444 acts of violence in 2018, 25 percent less activity compared to the previous year, and killed 2,052 people in 2018.
For its part, ISWA increased its activity and tripled its actions, from 27 in 2017 to 83 last year. This also increased their victims, who reached 687, 58 percent more, according to the study.