Quick Assessment: Ngala IDP Camp - December 2016
Date of the mission: 13th December, 2016.
Location: Ngala IDP Camp (Ngala LGA, Borno State, North-East Nigeria)
a. Military HQ (3rd battalion): 12°21'28.68"N 14°10'49.60"E A: 291m
b. Helipad: 12°21'24.70"N 14°10'42.40"E A: 292m
c. IDP camp: 12°21'34.87"N 14°10'19.57"E A: 288m
Security and logistics
(source: SIF and UN Joint Security Assessment)
Ngala has been liberated by NAF on March 2016. Fighting against insurgents has been ongoing until summer 2016. The road and the border are now open and UNHAS helicopters are currently serving Ngala since December 2016.
LGA level: On June, a clearance operation has been conducted by 3rd Battalion from Ngala towards North of the LGA, along the Cameroonian border to push away insurgents groups present in this zone of Ngala LGA.
This LGA is part of the Area of Operations of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). This group remains active in the North of Ngala – due to the presence of bases in Lake Chad area – and in Kala Balge LGA where it has a freedom of movement in the southern part of the LGA. ISWAP groups are very mobile and base their actions on guerrilla warfare (ambushes, IED’s, hit-and-run tactic). Skirmishes with NAF can occur during the patrols.
The actual NAF deployment is centered on:
- The control of the road Dikwa – Ngala to keep it open for commercial convoys,
- The control of the LGA’s Headquarters,
- The capability to conduct combat patrols from bases in order to conduct a zone control deeply inside the LGA’s.
The overall security situation is assessed to be safe by the UN in the towns where NAF are deployed, and under control along the main axis (Dikwa – Ngala and Ngala – Rann).
Conclusions of UN Joint Security Assessment (11/11/2016): “Ngala Town is assessed to be safe for humanitarian operations including the deployment of staff for overnights”.
Road access: Main trans-Sahara trade route. Straight highway leading from Maiduguri towards Ngala and the Cameroonian border, then to N’Djamena and further. No asphalt. 3 sensitive points (bridges) are identified on this portion: Gajibo, Logomane and Ngala Bridge. Troops are deployed to secure the spots.
Dikwa – Ngala is open but remains under threat of ISWAP (attack at Logomane bridge in the night of 11th December, 2016) - escorted convoys.
Ngala bridge: damaged but substitute bridge in place, highway tarmacked with sand in some locations, escorted truck movement along highway visible from the air, checkpoints.
Border crossing: Fotokol town on the Cameroonian side across the river. Frontier is materialized by Elbeid Bridge. Nigerian Customs and Immigration Services have a presence and relationship with Cameroonian security services are good. Commercial convoys can pass but have to transship goods on donkey carts which are the only one allowed to cross. Untill now no custom fees were applied but it might change very soon. Lobbying should be done towards Nigerian and Cameroonian authorities to allow humanitarian transit at minimum cost and procedures.
State services: Police, Customs, Immigration and Department of State Services are present in Ngala/Gambaru.
Weather: Dry with a rainy season. Warmer than Maiduguri.
Terrain: Flat, sandy. No trees or bushes, fertile thanks to irrigation channels, agricultural land, vegetation is burnt off on wide stretches of land, vegetation near the highway burnt off strategically.