A report by the United Nations (UN) has claimed that the federal government paid huge ransom for the release of Dapchi school girls kidnapped in February.
|Released Dapchi girls|
Signed by the Coordinator, Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, Edmund Fitton-Brown, and the Chair, Security Council Committee, it stated that Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) have had similar impact in their areas of control, including the Lake Chad basin.
In paragraph 43 of the 25-page report, the UN said: “The predominance in the region of the cash economy, without controls, is conducive to terrorist groups funded by extortion, charitable donations, smuggling, remittances and kidnapping.
“In Nigeria, 111 schoolgirls from the town of Dapchi were kidnapped on 18 February 2018 and released by ISWAP on 21 March 2018 in exchange for a large ransom payment.”
This is coming months after the federal government refuted reports that ransom was paid to the extremist sect for the release of the student hostages.
According to the report, the number of doctrinally based non-governmental organizations sending funds to local terrorist groups was growing, and Member States were concerned that radicalization was increasing the threat level in the Sahel region and Lake Chad Basin.
It said Jama‘at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) successfully combined regional terrorist groups in an Al-Qaida-affiliated coalition in West Africa, which increased attacks and propaganda against French, United States of America and others.
In Lybia, the report said the numerical strength of ISIL was estimated to vary between 3,000 and 4,000 individuals dispersed across the country.
“Its central command in Libya may lie in the triangle between Bani Walid, southern Sirte and Jufrah district. The leadership structure is headed by Abu Moaz Al-Tikriti (not listed), an Iraqi national who is reportedly still alive despite reports of his death in an airstrike.
“Al-Qaida continues to resurge in Libya, its ranks composed of elements of its historical component, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, as well as Shura councils in Darnah, Benghazi and Ajdabiya.
“AQIM in the Sahel, led by Yahya Abu al-Hamam (not listed), maintains networks of mutual financial support and arms supply with Al-Qaida in Libya. The mountainous areas in the west of Tunisia continue to harbour elements of ISIL and Al-Qaida. The country is affected by the fluid situation in Libya.
“In April 2018, the Tunisian Armed Forces began counter-terrorism operations around Kasserine against the AQIM affiliate Uqba Ibn Nafi Battalion and Jund al-Khilafah in Tunisia, during which it dismantled several ISIL sleeper cells in the region.
“In Egypt, military operations, which began in Sinai in February 2018, continue against Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM). The group pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in November 2014. Some Member States assess that the group may consist of up to 1,000 fighters and are concerned that it continues to exhibit signs of resilience.
“Member States assess that returning foreign terrorist fighters, particularly those of North African origin, continue to pose a threat to the region. One Member State in the region noted that those returnees buoyed the ranks of Jund al-Khilafa in Algeria and Al Mourabitoun, renewing the ability of those organizations to carry out operations.