The Weaponry of IS West Africa (Pt. 4): Attrition Continues in 2021

The Weaponry of IS West Africa (Pt. 4):  Attrition Continues in 2021

By now, readers and followers of my website and social media will be aware of the losses that the Nigerian Army continues to sustain in it's fight against both the Islamic State in West Africa (Known as ISWA, ISWAP etc), and the "original" Shekau-led faction, JAS (Jamaat Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da'wah wa'l-Jihad).

Since the first 3 articles I wrote dealing with ISWA and it's subsidiary, ISGS, the group has evolved it's strategy, improving it's ability to avoid air power, subvert the famed Nigerian Army "super camps", and continue the use of IED, VBIED and indirect fire weapons. The points noted in the previous articles still remain, and although ISWA has taken serious human and materiel losses, the Nigerian Army has failed to make any significant progress against the group, with NA's "Operation Tura Takaibango" (and it's successor) stuttering since February 2021. For it's side, ISWA has been busy regrouping and developing it's governance project, as JAS has taken heavy losses; including the death of Abubakar Shekau.

For those interested in NA captures from ISWA and ISWA captures from Cameroonian/Chadian/Nigerien or other forces, these will be in another post to come in the series.

In an effort to demonstrate the intensity of the conflict in the area of Lake Chad, I have formed a list of Nigerian Army, Police, and CJTF weaponry captured (and often destroyed) by ISWA since Jan 1st 2021 until December 18th 2021. The list is significant but not exhaustive- only weapons and vehicles verified on camera are listed, whereas the full amount captured is likely to be larger, particularly when dealing with smaller weapons such as rifles, hand grenades, etc. All dates given are when IS first posted images or video, not when the event happened.

This post is intended to show to the interested reader how ISWA procures it's stocks of military hardware, enabling the terrorist group to pursue both defensive and offensive complex operations, and to show visually verified destruction of NA/Police/CJTF assets.

January 2021

Februrary 2021

March 2021

April 2021

May 2021

June 2021

July 2021

August 2021

September 2021

October 2021

At the end of October, a large ISWA video release revealed some previously unseen capture and revealed further TTPs in use. I covered the video in a thread at the time.

Capture (undated but likely from 2021) that wasn't seen previously is listed here but was likely not from October.

November 2021

December 2021


As can be seen above, the NA, CJTF and to a lesser extent civilian police in Nigeria have suffered dramatic losses to ISWA, including to hundreds of small arms (Including assault rifles, light, medium and heavy machine guns, RPGs, mortars, handguns, etc), and vehicles including MBT (Main Battle Tanks), MRAPs, IVFs, APCS, Technicals and more. However, not all capture has been shown on camera; as an example of this, a D-30 122mm howitzer shown in use against the NA in early November was not documented in IS photosets in 2021 (and does not appear to have been shown in years prior either).

ISWA captures serve to fuel a potent battlefield force against security forces which is able to operate in a semi-conventional fashion, despite confident assurances of constant success from NA and NA-linked social media figures.

For future articles in this series, I will be covering recent battlefield innovations of ISWA (Such as truck mounting seen above), their semi-standardised troop transport programme, and more. I will also cover visually verified NA capture from ISWA, and ISWA capture from Cameroonian, Chadian and Nigerien forces.

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