ISWAP Terror Group Holds Public Meetings With Borno Residents To Recruit New Members, Stresses Plan To Have Separate Islamic Country

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Da‘wāt is the act of inviting or calling people to embrace Islam.

Militants belonging to the Islamic State-backed faction of Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), formerly known as Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād have organised da‘wāt in some villages in Borno.

Da‘wāt is the act of inviting or calling people to embrace Islam.

In pictures released by ISWAP, sect members were seen publicly engaging with residents of the state around Lake Chad.

The images may be part of the sect’s efforts to counter statements by the Nigerian military that the Islamist insurgent fighters were on a steady retreat, with troops seizing a sizeable territory hitherto occupied and controlled by members of the terrorist sect.

Media gathered that during the Da’wat programme, the insurgents appealed to villagers to join the group as militants and support their cause to establish an Islamic caliphate.

They assured them of good governance, better security and basic amenities as soon as they had a new country.

The group also distributed welfare packages to many households in a new recruitment drive.

Packages said to have been distributed by ISWAP included rice, beans, millet, maize, sugar, spaghetti and cash gifts.

A 2019 report by the International Crisis Group, a non-profit think tank, observed that ISWAP’s approach to recruiting new fighters proved effective.

Despite breaking away from the Abubakar Shekau-led Boko Haram faction in 2016, the population of its fighters had increased, according to estimates.

“Although its leadership has been largely ethnic Kanuri, ISWAP has recruited significantly among lacustrine communities, notably the ethnic Buduma, many of whom earn a living from fishing,” the group wrote.

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The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has made similar observations.

“As part of this approach, the ideological aspect of the crisis must be dealt with. The ability of the group to recruit is one of the biggest reasons for its expansion, and so a deeper understanding of its recruitment patterns and operating mechanisms is crucial,” ISS senior researcher Remadji Hoinathy warned in May 2019.

Often ISWAP exploits gaps in governance by trying to prove that it can provide essential services in the areas under its control.

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