A suicide bombing likely carried out by Boko Haram killed at least four people and wounded 44 others in Maiduguri on Wednesday, January 31. A second attack was launched few minutes later, although it did not result in any casualties. The attacks took place in the city’s Dalori refugee camp on Wednesday evening (local time). Further attacks are possible in Maiduguri in the coming days and weeks.
Maiduguri is considered the epicenter of Boko Haram's terrorist activity. The group has attacked camps for displaced persons on various occasions in recent years.
The counterinsurgency effort led by various West African states (Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger) against Boko Haram, which began in 2015, has greatly diminished the extent of Boko Haram's effective territorial control. However, the militant group still routinely carries out deadly attacks, particularly in the northeastern region of the country. In addition to targeting homes in Nigeria's northeastern villages, Boko Haram frequently attacks public venues (markets, places of worship, schools, bars, areas where broadcasts of sports competitions are displayed, etc.) as well as security forces and governmental buildings. The group's modus operandi frequently includes suicide bombings and kidnappings (regularly followed by assassinations and targeting primarily foreign nationals).
Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) in March 2015 and formally adopted the name of Islamic State in West Africa. Al-Barnaoui, son of Mohammed Yusuf - the founder of Boko Haram - was nominated by IS in August 2016 to replace Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram since 2009. Since then, the two leaders have been leading dissident factions with divergent ambitions, Al-Barnaoui blaming Shekau for massacring civilians rather than focusing on military targets.
The security environment in Nigeria is complex, and is particularly concerning in the northeast and extreme south of the country due to the presence of armed groups, high crime rates, and the risk of kidnapping. Some Western governments consequently advise against travel to certain areas of the northeast (e.g. states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Jigawa, and Kano states) and the southern Niger Delta region (e.g. states of Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers). Also avoid nonessential travel to Zamfara, Sokoto, Plateau, and Kaduna states. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel to these areas.