RULAC Classifies the Armed Violence between the Nigerian Armed Forces and the Islamic State in West Africa Province as a Non-International Armed Conflict

Map of the RULAC online portal with the pop-up window showing the NIACs in Nigeria. Map of the RULAC online portal with the pop-up window showing the NIACs in Nigeria.

19 March 2020

The Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), a splinter of Boko Haram, has been operating in northeastern Nigeria and along Lake Chad, since it left Boko Haram back in 2016, is engaged in protracted armed violence against the government.

In 2019, armed confrontations between ISWAP and the Nigerian armed forces took place consistently over the year. Since the beginning of 2020, ISWAP has conducted a number of deadly attacks against the Nigerian army, while clashes between ISWAP and the governmental forces resulted in the death of several Nigerian soldiers and ISWAP fighters.

Research conducted led to the conclusion that the level of armed violence and of organization of ISWAP allows classifying this situation as a non-international armed conflict (NIAC).

Our Rule of Law in Armed Conflict (RULAC) website, therefore, provides a detailed analysis and legal classification of this conflict, including information about parties, its classification and applicable international law.

This new NIAC complements the Nigeria entry, which already entails information about the NIAC between the Nigerian armed forces and Boko Haram, which has also been updated to reflect recent development.

Armed Violence between Boko Haram and ISWAP: Low Intensity

‘We also analysed the clashes between Boko Haram and ISWAP and concluded that, while occasional fighting still takes place between these two armed groups, the intensity was never high enough to conclude that there is a NIAC between ISWAP and Boko Haram. However, that fighting clearly demonstrates that Boko Haram and ISWAP are distinct armed groups involved in distinct armed conflicts against the government.’ explains Dr Chiara Redaelli, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy.

Monitoring Developments related to Ansaru

Ansaru is an armed group also known as the Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa and al-Qaeda in the Lands Beyond the Sahel. It is a Jihadist splinter group of Boko Haram and is based in the northeastern part of Nigeria. Following fighting in 2012 and 2013, armed confrontations between Ansaru and the government have substantially decreased. Furthermore, in 2016 Ansaru’s leader was arrested by Nigerian armed forces. However, since January 2020, Ansaru has started operating again and has claimed armed attacks for the first time since 2013.

‘While the intensity of violence is not enough to conclude that there is a NIAC between the government of Nigeria and Ansaru, we will continue to monitor this development and the evolution of the situation.’ stresses Dr Chiara Redaelli.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Kutum, North Darfur: Members of the Sudanese army patrol Kutum market News

Does the Recent Peace Agreement Put an End to the Non-International Armed Conflicts in Sudan?

7 September 2020

Our RULAC online portal provides a detailed analysis and legal classification of the various non-international armed conflicts that are taking place in Sudan. In this interview, our Research Fellow Dr Chiara Redaelli explains why the recent peace agreement does not put an end to them.

Read more

A labtop and the book of the 1949 Geneva Conventions News

Applications for our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict are Open!

30 March 2020

Designed for professionals, our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict is one of the few part-time, innovative and intellectually challenging programmes in the law of armed conflict offered today.

Read more

Catherine Marchi-Uhel, Head of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) for the Crimes Committed in Syria, briefs journalists ahead of the first informal debate on the IIIM. Event

Opening Lecture: Navigating a Career in International Law

28 September 2020, 18:30-20:00

In this opening lecture of the academic year, Catherine Marchi-Uhel, Head of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism on international crimes committed in Syria, will share her experience on a career in international law.

Read more

Policeofficer from the back Event

Swiss Counter-Terrorism Laws: What are the Legal and Policy Challenges?

29 September 2020, 18:30-20:00

This panel will discuss the legal and policy challenges of the new Swiss laws in light of international law.

Read more

An aerial view of camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), which have appeared following latest attacks by M23 rebels and other armed groups in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Short Course

International Refugee Law

30 April - 21 May 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Read more

Côte d'Ivoire,  Abidjan, military instruction center in Akandjé. An ICRC dissemination session on international humanitarian law for the 1st bataillon of commando paratroopers. Short Course

The Implementation of International Humanitarian Law

8-28 January 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, will cover the ‘nuts and bolts’ of implementation, including national legislation, dissemination and training, and discuss the mechanisms such as the International Fact-Finding Commission, as set out in the treaties.

Read more

A wheelchair completely destroyed after the bombing of a civilian area Project

Disability and Armed Conflict

Started in May 2016

This project aims to ensure better protection of and assistance for persons with disabilities in situations of armed conflict or its aftermath by identifying legal obligations to protect and assist persons with disabilities during conflict, and the policies and practices required to put these obligations into effect.

Read more

Computer screen with warning: civilian infrastucture: do not attack Project

Digitalization of Conflict Joint Initiative: Humanitarian Impact and Legal Protection

Started in September 2020

This project will explore humanitarian consequences and protection needs caused by the digitalization of armed conflicts and the extent to which these needs are addressed by international law, especially international humanitarian law.

Read more

Cover page of the Annual Report 2019 Publication

Annual Report 2019

published on May 2020

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

From Words to Deeds: A Study of Armed Non-State Actors’ Practice and Interpretations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Norms

published on December 2019

Annyssa Bellal, Pascal Bongard, Ezequiel Heffes

Read more