Where do the weapons used by terrorist groups in the Lake Chad region come from?

The Conflict Armament Research (CAR) has studied nearly 200 weapons and thousands of munitions seized by the Niger authorities, from militants of Boko Haram and the Islamic State group in West Africa to try to analyze their provenance.

(illustrative image) © REUTERS

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The Conflict Armament Research (CAR) has studied material (nearly 200 weapons and thousands of munitions) seized by the Nigerien authorities, mainly in the Diffa region, in the south-east of Niger, from militants of Boko Haram and of the Islamic State group in West Africa.

The organization points to a diversity of types and models of equipment, which is explained by the combination of several supply strategies, which CAR often deems “opportunistic”.


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Among the sources of supply for these armed groups, the organization cites the national arsenals of the states bordering Lake Chad.

17% of the sample of weapons studied were diverted from the arsenals of Niger, Nigeria and Chad, in an involuntary way, specifies CAR since they were obtained during attacks against the security forces.

A paradoxical situation 

", for the head of the organization in West Africa, Claudio Gramizzi, "

 the States which fight these groups finding themselves, in spite of themselves, among their main sources of supply


The weapons seized from combatants of Boko Haram and the Islamic State group in West Africa also come from previous regional conflicts, from clandestine markets, especially local ones or, in a more minority way, from more distant sources.

The organization notes that certain batches of weapons are used both in the area of ​​the three borders and in that of Lake Chad.

This tends to show a permeability between different groups.

Finally, nearly half of the were manufactured in Africa, or exported to West or North Africa.

For CAR, this seems to indicate that a significant proportion of the material circulating in the Sahel can be attributed to African military production and activities.


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  • Niger

  • Terrorism

  • IS

  • Boko Haram

  • Chad

  • Nigeria