Authorities of the Multinational Joint Task Force, MNJTF, fighting to rid the Lake Chad Basin Countries of Islamic State West Africa Province, ISWAP, have denied the contents of a purported video being circulated by the group as propaganda.
The purported video claimed that heavy weapons were seized from troops of the MNJTF while soldiers were killed in recent attacks on troop locations.
However a statement, titled ‘Re-ISWAP Propaganda Video: Terrorists Aiming to Manipulate Public Opinion’’, signed by Col Timothy Antigha, Chief Information Officer, MNJTF said,
“The attention of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) has been drawn to a propaganda video being orchestrated online by agents of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), purporting to show personnel and equipment allegedly captured in the ongoing conflict in the Lake Chad Area.
“As usual, the ISWAP video is largely make believe and without any substance, as their claims are substantially debatable, while a few are pieces of information already in the public domain. It would be recalled that in previous press releases, the MNJTF had referenced a couple of ISWAP attacks on troop’s locations in Metele and Baga between December 2018 and January 2019. In the said press releases, the MNJTF had made it known that there were personnel casualties and others missing in Action.
“Therefore, other than sheer mis-information and crass propaganda which are aimed at causing panic and manipulating public opinion, the ISWAP video has not introduced any new dimension into the conflict discourse surrounding the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the Lake Chad Area.
Islamic State-backed Boko Haram faction claims Borno attack “It would be recalled that following ISWAP attack on troop’s locations in Baga and surrounding localities between December 2018 and January 2019, the MNJTF launched Operation Yancin Tafki to among other objectives, rescue missing personnel and recover lost equipment.
“Consequently, a sizeable number of the equipment shown in the video have since been recovered or destroyed in situ (please, refer to previous MNJTF press releases from February to April 2019). The Operation which is progressing steadily is committed to rescuing all MNJTF personnel who were declared Missing in Action.
“The MNJTF therefore wishes to assure the good people of the Lake Chad Region that the Force will never leave any personnel behind, as Operation Yancin Tafki continues. “It is essential to state that contrary to the fatuous and dubious claims to expansion in the Lake Chad Region, ISWAP’s influence has been curtailed considerably due to relentless pursuits by the MNJTF and national forces, as well as rejection by populations in the region. Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset (ACLED) April 2019, sheds more light on the decline of ISWAP.
“From the foregoing, it is clear that while the MNJTF is growing stronger operationally, ISWAP is losing ground and influence, growing weaker and having to rely on the manipulation of public opinion to advance it’s sinister objectives. The public is therefore urged to disregard the spurious claims by the agents of destabilization. “The video shows the destruction of some of the platforms referred to.
The altitude from which the video was shot does not allow a clearer view, but given the green vegetation in the area, only equipment laden with combustible elements could burn with such intensity.”