Video showing the indoctrination and training of young Africans by ISIS
  • On January 18, 2022, ISIS’s West Africa Province Information Office released a video titled “The Empowerment Generation” (jil al-tamkine).[1] The 27-minute video depicts the indoctrination and training of young Africans at an ISIS training camp called “The Caliphate Cub Institute” (Telegram, January 18, 2022). The location of the camp is not indicated, it is probably located in northeast Nigeria, where ISIS’s West Africa Province operates.

The opening shot of the video (Telegram January 18, 2022).
  • The video shows the cadets’ daily life, which includes a wide variety of activities, including Islamic studies and ideological indoctrination, physical training and hand-to-hand combat, shooting practice and warfare techniques urban. They all wear yellow uniforms when in class and black combat jackets and pants during semi-military training.
  • Photos and interviews with instructors and cadets shed light on how ISIS is preparing its “empowerment generation”. The video provided the following information:
  • Program duration: The indoctrination program lasts more than a year. It begins with theoretical studies and the memorization of the Koran in centers spread throughout the Province. Cadets who have excelled take exams to find the best candidates, who are then sent to the organization’s institute for Sharia study. An instructor said the first class of Shariah students are about to graduate and the effort invested in them has apparently started to pay off. After about a year of religious studies, they begin military training.
The instructor explains that the cadets were chosen from students excelling in studying and memorizing the Quran after passing the entrance exams (Telegram, January 18, 2022).
The instructor explains that the cadets were chosen from students excelling in studying and memorizing the Quran after passing the entrance exams (Telegram, January 18, 2022).
  • The general course: An instructor speaking the local language, apparently Swahili, said the cadets received both spiritual and physical training. They study Sharia and Arabic [the language of the Qur’an of the Prophet Muhammad and the hadiths, i.e., the Islamic oral tradition]. They undergo physical training which includes drills and exercises in mounting, dismounting and using weapons. They expect to use everything they have learned to fight all forms of heresy.
    A cadet said he was receiving spiritual and physical training (Telegram, January 18, 2022).
A cadet said he was receiving spiritual and physical training (Telegram, January 18, 2022).
  • Special aspects of the course: The video gives details of the program as reflected in the cadet instruction. For example, an instructor is filmed telling the class, in Arabic, that male-determined parliaments and laws are unacceptable. According to Islam, democracy is not legitimate and the soldiers of the Islamic State Caliphate must fight the “tyrants of democracy”, who are Western and Christian (“crusaders”) or belong to local administrations (“agents of democracy who have abandoned Islam”). He also stressed the importance of following Islamic religious law (Sharia) and of the “war against the infidels” (Telegram, January 18, 2022). Another instructor said that the Christian West should know that the younger generation of ISIS were brought up in love of death as martyrdom and fighting for the love of Allah and that with the help of ‘Allah, they will conquer their cities and camps and cleanse them of pollution.
The instructor teaches them Arabic.  On the left is an ISIS flag (Telegram, January 18, 2022). Cadets in class.
Right: Cadets in class. Left: The instructor teaches them Arabic. On the left is an ISIS flag (Telegram, January 18, 2022).
An instructor says, "The crusaders should know that these generations were brought up in love of death as a martyr and fighting for the love of Allah...and with the help of Allah they will conquer your cities and your camps and will purify them of your pollution." (Telegram, January 18, 2022).
An instructor says: “Crusaders should know that these generations were brought up in love of death as a martyr and fighting for the love of Allah…and with the help of Allah they will conquer your cities and your camps and purify them of your pollution” (Telegram, January 18, 2022).
  • Indoctrination of ISIS ideology: Interviews with indicate that they have been indoctrinated with the radical ideology of the Islamic State. One of them, who spoke Arabic, said that the only way to free the [Palestinian terrorist] prisoners [in Israeli jails]restore the al-Aqsa Mosque and the two holy cities of Islam [Mecca and al-Madinah]and conquer Rome and Andalusia [Spain] was by jihad.
  • Strengthening ties with the Islamic State: Cadets swear loyalty to ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi and watch an ISIS propaganda video showing ISIS fighting for its last outpost in al-Baghouz, in the southeast Syria.
Cadets watch an ISIS propaganda film (Telegram, January 18, 2022). Cadets swear loyalty to ISIS.
Right: Cadets swear loyalty to ISIS. Left: Cadets watch an ISIS propaganda film (Telegram, January 18, 2022).
  • Use what they have been taught: Towards the end of the video, a graduate says that once they graduate, they will start fighting jihad and will continue until all the infidels are dead. He then fires a mortar shell. Finally, masked cadets execute three Nigerian soldiers, including a special ops fighter.
Execution of a fighter from a Nigerian army special forces unit (Telegram, January 18, 2022). A graduate of the course says they will now begin their jihad.  Then he fires a mortar shell.
Right: A graduate of the course says that they will now start their jihad. Then he fires a mortar shell. Left: Execution of a fighter from a Nigerian army special forces unit (Telegram, January 18, 2022).
Execution of other soldiers (Telegram, January 18, 2022).
Execution of other soldiers (Telegram, January 18, 2022).
  • ISIS’s indoctrination and training in its West Africa Province offers further evidence of the organization’s assessment that Africa in general (and Nigeria in particular) is a region where it can base and continue to expand its presence. Recruiting young men and giving them extensive training is another way to fulfill ISIS’s aspiration to spread and establish itself throughout Africa. It is also possible that after the younger generation absorbs the ideology of the Islamic State, its influence extends beyond the borders of the continent.
Documentation of ISIS military training[2]
Hand-to-hand combat exercises. Physical education
Right: Hand-to-hand combat exercises. Left: Physical training
Combat readiness training Combat readiness training
Combat readiness training
shooting training shooting training
shooting training
Guerrilla and urban warfare training Guerrilla and urban warfare training
Guerrilla and urban warfare training

[1] The video itself provides the translation, “empowerment generation”. The Arabic word tamkin has a broader meaning and also includes the realization of the conceptual and political power, influence and hegemony of Islam by means of a political entity operating by implementing Sharia, that is- i.e. the Caliphate.
[2] All photos from Telegram, January 18, 2022.