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Varying Perspectives of the Current Threat in Nigeria

30 Nov 2011

This was compiled from sources within U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense sources as well as sources inside Nigeria. The Nigeria sources have close contact with both high level MEND and government leaders.  All sources are non-attribution but can be covered in a personal dialogue.

There is no open source information to determine is ammonium nitrate was used in recent IED attacks. However, Nigeria has a number of companies who are major producers / regional exporters of Ammonia Nitrate so access to this compound would be relatively easy. Given the rural nature of the country and low threshold for corruption it would be difficult to track purchases of this compound.

In the recent arrests in Nigeria, police seized a large number of detonators and blasting cord so access to both industrial (mining / agricultural) as well as military explosives should be considered likely.

Most sub-Saharan African governments lack the control, organization and professionalization to prevent or even track the purchase / theft of the explosives and military hardware needed to conduct attacks on the continent. Obtaining AN for this use would be easy within the region.

Globally extremist groups are transferring IED Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) to their Al Qaeda Associates in North Africa (AQIM), Boko Haram (BH) in Nigeria, and Al Shabaab (AS) are key players.  It is only a matter of time until IEDs are used by gangs in the United States. Taken together this amounts to a global epidemic of IED use.

The Department of State at the country level is still working to learn chemical composition of IEDs being used by Islamic groups in Northeastern Nigeria.  They have a couple IED related mil-to-mil engagements with the Nigerian army in Jan 2012 and “hope” they will be able to learn more.  They requested Partners International Foundation provide them any notes and information the Global Campaign Against IEDs is able to compile on the situation.

Partners International Foundation (PIF) sources in Nigeria are working to obtain an official perspective on IEDs. But it is highly classified and the Foundation is being told on the condition the source remain non-attribution. According to a high ranking official close to the issue who spoke to PIF under this agreement, "Improvised explosive devices(IEDs) in the Niger Delta were mainly from empty gas containers, pieces of metals including nails and remotely controlled by

GSM signals. Some could be made from fertilizers but no records of such in the Niger Delta." This is from a source who knows about the Niger Delta as a former JTF Commander. PIF is currently working to obtain the Boko Haram perspective, but it appears they are using ammonium nitrate and working with Al Qaeda (as they recently admitted publically).

Within the last few weeks, the Nigerian government retrieved a large quantity of dynamite from the Niger Delta that are some of the explosive ingredients.


As a neutral party Partners International Foundation has the ability to gather important information unavailable to government agencies, but must be supported in order to do so. As the September 2010 Assessment report documents, many militant groups are willing to work with PIF and is concerned about the rise of violent Islamic Militant groups.

Copyright and proprietary to Partners International Foundation 2011. Not for distribution without permission