Islamic State West Africa's Vast Weapons Arsenal
The Islamic State (IS), since losing the last of its caliphate territory in 2019, has been increasingly promoting its African branches and touting their battlefield successes. IS’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) has emerged as a formidable force capable of putting together sizable assaults and conducting terrorist attacks across the Lake Chad region.
Researcher Jacob Zenn told Militant Wire that ISWAP is the most powerful of IS’s ‘external provinces’ in terms of both offensive capability and propaganda production. Zenn notes that “ISWAP and the Nigerian army are locked in a stalemate unofficially with ISWAP controlling rural NE hinterlands and the army protecting populated centers.” Meanwhile, he says, ISWAP “has implanted cells in the center, NW, and most recently south of Nigeria, although their impact thus far has been limited.”
ISWAP continues to make noise as seen with the bombing/assassination attempt aimed at President Muhammadu Buhari while he was visiting Kogi. It has also persistently clashed with Nigerian military forces, and its networks stretch into neighboring states. Some part of what makes ISWAP so dangerous is its access to and use of a wide variety of weapons.
Weapons of ISWAP