Weekly Analyst Review
BOTTOM LINE UPFRONT: TRAC's Senior Analyst Daniel Lebowitz continues his monthly global round-up of Islamic State's activity with 146 claimed attacks for the shortest month of the year, February. The latest reporting shows that Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) and Islamic State Central Africa (ISCA) are arguably the most capable affiliates in the Islamic State network if one considers the impunity by which they conduct raids on villages, plant IEDS/ initiate ambushes on roadways and undertake large-scale attacks on military barracks or camps in rural areas. Suicide bombings, a once common tactic of the group that has become rare in Iraq and Syria are utilized in Nigeria, with two SVBIED attacks recorded so far in 2021. In fact, the total of claimed operations in West Africa (Nigeria, Niger) eclipsed the number of attacks in Iraq during the month of February. Claimed attacks also dramatically increased in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). ISCA insurgents active in two neighboring provinces (Ituri and North Kivu) in the northeast near Uganda waged war on Christian populations, destroying dozens of homes and a number of churches during raids on villages in the Rwenzori sector of Beni district, North Kivu province. The ISCA branch in nearby Cabo Delgado, Mozambique did report any claimed attacks, but still controls the port of Mocimboa da Praia and has held off counter-operations from the Mozambican Security Forces. Islamic State Khurasan (ISK) in Afghanistan and Pakistan remain mostly active in Jalalabad and Kabul via the planting of magnetic, or sticky bombs to police, government employee and civilian vehicles. In Iraq, security forces s are pursuing their operational response to the Islamic State-claimed suicide bombings in Baghdad from January, with continual counter-terror raids and the elimination of Islamic State leaders across Iraq. In Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad, an Islamic State safehouse was dismantled and the emir of the region killed. It is too early to tell if these counterterrorism successes fully explain why the total claimed Islamic State attacks in Iraq decreased in February when compared to last month. Our report lists each claimed attack by country/region and provides a link to more full reporting including photos, claims of credit, and audio/video of many of the attacks.
Top Analysis Last Seven Days
Images (Above): Claims of credit: "The Nigerian military camp at Dikwa was attacked with various weapons yesterday, and 6 soldiers were killed. Weapons and ammunition were seized, the barracks was 4 vehicles were burnt."
TRAC Incident Report: Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) Conduct Multiple Raids in 48 Hour Span on Dikwa, Aid Workers Feared Captured, Borno, Nigeria
As soon as we completed the roll-up of February's IS activity as reported above, ISWA attacks started off a new month. Islamic State West Africa (ISWA / ISWAP) militants attacked the garrison town of Dikwa from multiple directions, causing chaos amongst the town's defenders. Troops sent from another military base were ambushed 02 March. Based on local reports, ISWA contingents allegedly bribed civilians, who fled in droves to Maiduguri, not to leave the area as the group was only interested in fighting the military. In the claim confirming the operation published by Islamic State, six soldiers were allegedly killed, the barracks and four vehicles burnt down, and weapons/ammo seized.The Islamic State affiliate also managed to attack Dikwa and Marte (New Marte) over the past week, putting immense pressure on the Nigerian Security Forces stationed at the 'super camps' housed there. Dikwa also houses a United Nations Humanitarian Office, complete with an enforced bunker. Civilians and aid workers reportedly sought refuge at the site and there are fears that ISWA took UN personnel hostage.
TRAC INCIDENT REPORT: Unidentified Gunmen Assassinate Female Journalist Mursal Waheedi & Two Other Female Employees of Enikass Local TV Network in PD 4, Jalalabad, Nangarhar, Afghanistan
Journalists in Afghanistan continue to be targeted for assassination with the latest attack in Jalalabad. On 02 March 2021, around 04:00pm local time, gunmen opened fire on three female employees of Enikass Local TV Network who were out on assignment in PD 4, Jalalabad, Nangarhar. Two of the victims operated the TV dubbing equipment and the third was a respected female journalist, Mursal Vahidi.Islamic State Khurasan (ISK) routinely targets journalists in both Jalalabad and Kabul. Both Tolo TV and Enikass communications networks are easy to spot especially in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province. For example in May 2017, ISK attacked the Enikass facility in Jalalabad, only to be repeated again in December 2017. In December 2020, another Enikass female journalist was the subject of an ISK assassination. Malalai Maiwan was targeted due to her support for the government and female empowerment. Clearly, the three women journalists killed in the most recent attack also represent female empowerment. The Taliban issued a statement denying involvement for the assassinations.
Image (above): Basir Khan, a known assassin, was arrested by ANDSF over the killing of the three women.
Images: (Above) Sinaloa Cartel statement; (Below) Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) Statement 
TRAC INCIDENT REPORT: Sinaloa Cartel and Los Choneros Cartel Turf War with Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) Over Prisons (SNAI) in Ecuador
In the latest folly in their ongoing turf war, two rival gangs issued statements capitalizing on recent riots in Ecuador. The competing statements from Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) and Sinaloa Cartel come in the form of posters and though it maybe easy to dismiss the statements from the two Mexican cartels as merely opportunistic, however, reports dating back to December 2018 indicate that Mexican cartels have been reaching out to cartels in Ecuador. A year later, a submarine was caught carrying a ton of cocaine were caught at the borders between Ecuador and Peru bound for Mexico in December 2019. Based on the statements released, the Sinaloa Cartel is attempting to wield its power to assist the Los Choneros cartel; while Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) appears to be attempting to assume power over the Los Choneros cartel. Two days prior to the rival statement releases, Ecuador's prison system SNAI suffered from riots across the nation - leaving 79 inmates dead. The riots were said to have been caused by a leadership tussle for the Los Choneros cartel, though the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) seems to blame the Los Aguila prison gang. The riots started at the bigger prison in Guayaquil where inmates purportedly paid guards to smuggle in at least two guns meant to assassinate the Los Choneros leaders incarcerated there. At least 10 inmates were caught outside the prison walls in an attempted escape at the larger Guayaquil prison.
The Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) statement was found at entrance of the parking lots of the TC Televisión channel in Guayaquil City where the riots began.
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