Islamic State militants targeted the convoy of the governor of Borno state which was traveling from the state capital Maiduguri to the market town of Gamboru on Wednesday, February 13. The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) claimed responsibility for the attack. According to Nigerian officials, between three and ten people were killed in the assault; however, ISWAP released a contradictory statement saying 42 people were killed. Some members of the APC ruling party (All Progressives Congress) were also reportedly kidnapped. Similar militant attacks are possible in Borno state over the coming weeks, especially during the presidential elections on February 16.
The northeastern region of Nigeria (i.e. the states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa) is highly susceptible to attacks by Islamist militants, including from Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). Though Nigerian military forces have pushed insurgents from much of their previously claimed territory, attacks have been on the rise since June 2017.
Furthermore, Boko Haram and ISWAP militants have threatened to disrupt the elections by conducting attacks on Nigerian security forces and infrastructure, as well as public gathering places such as markets, hotels, and malls. Attacks targeting polling stations cannot be ruled out.
Individuals in Borno state are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
The security environment in Nigeria remains complex. Although travel is permissible in some areas, other areas should be considered strictly off limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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