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Fears Over Aid Workers’ Safety As ISWAP Overruns Dikwa 

This is at least the fourth attack by ISWAP targeting Dikwa, a town in Northeast Nigeria, this year — twice in less than 24 hours. 

An infiltration squad of the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) launched the second wave of attacks on Tuesday morning and subsequently swarmed Dikwa, hours after an initial raid the previous day. 

The insurgents infiltrated and entered the town in Northeast Nigeria while the military engaged a distraction squad. 

HumAngle understands that two ISWAP squads entered the town through different points. One group laid a siege on the United Nations compound in Dikwa and engaged in a fierce clash with troops. 

A military reinforcement team from Maiduguri dispatched on Tuesday morning was ambushed by the insurgents.

Residents and displaced persons have begun to flee to Maiduguri and Cameroon despite ISWAP’s assurance that the attack was targeting only the military. The group further asked people to choose between staying in the town and going to Maiduguri, while providing cash to encourage them to pick the former option.

The status of the United Nations humanitarian hub and persons seeking refuge in its bunker during yesterday’s attack is unknown at this time. HumAngle learned that the insurgents assembled locals and also took individuals believed to be aid workers. 

Dikwa is a vital garrison town and humanitarian hub in Borno State. 

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the estimated Dikwa Local Government population is 113,902, including 75,470 internally displaced persons.

Following New Marte’s recent overrunning, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) report covering Feb. 15 to Feb. 21 stated that almost 3,380 people arrived in Dikwa from Marte local government area. 

This is at least the fourth attack by ISWAP targeting Dikwa in 2021, twice in less than 24 hours. 

Gilles Michaud Gilles U.N Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security visit to displaced person camp Dikwa, via UNOCHA Nigeria

In January, UN Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, Gilles Michaud Gilles, visited an IDP camp in Dikwa, where he met with aid workers to better understand the challenges faced by United Nations and humanitarian partners.


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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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