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05/02/2022 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – The Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) armed group has claimed responsibility for an explosion that killed or injured 30 people at a market where alcohol was sold in Nigeria’s eastern Taraba state. This attack marks an expansion of the area where the ISIS-affiliated group operates in the country.  

The attack took place on Tuesday, April 20, in the rural town of Iware. Local police initially said three people were killed and 19 injured. They could not immediately be reached on Thursday to comment on the ISWAP claim or casualty count.  

In a statement posted late on Wednesday on a Telegram messaging channel used by ISWAP, the group described those who detonated the bomb in the market as “soldiers of the caliphate in central Nigeria.”  

The statement said the attack had struck “a gathering of infidel Christians” and expressed satisfaction that the place where alcohol could be purchased had been destroyed.  

Northeast Nigeria has been in the grip of rebellions for more than a decade. Still, at the eastern end of Nigeria’s central region, Taraba has not witnessed such violence before.  

Across Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, there has been a rise in crime and violence exacerbated by the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Armed robberies occur often, and kidnappings for ransom have become increasingly common. The northwestern parts of the country have seen mass abductions of children from schools and indiscriminate attacks on towns and villages by armed gangs.  

However, the worst and longest-running security crisis remains the one in the northeast, where Boko Haram and ISWAP, which broke out of the former, have killed, abducted, and looted on a massive scale while fighting against the Nigerian military.  

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