Wednesday, September 15, 2021 2:37 pm
Barely four months after the death of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, the terrorists camp may have been decimated further, following reports of the killing of Islamic State of West Africa, ISWAP leader Abu Musab al-Barnawi in a recent battle.
Quoting sources, Daily Trust reported that Al-Barnawi was killed at about the end of August.
Al-Barnawi was the son of Boko Haram founder, Mohammed Yusuf who was killed in 2009 while in custody of security operatives.
The death of Al- Barnawi has left the camp of the terrorists group in utter confusion and disarray, according to the report.
There are two accounts on how Al-Barnawi was killed. While one source claimed he was killed in an operation by soldiers, another said he was killed by fellow insurgents in an infighting.
Shekau who ruled with iron hands around the Sambisa forest in Borno State, and killed thousands of innocent citizens committed suicide in May following a leadership struggle among the insurgents.
Shekau took over as the group’s leader after the death of Yusuf, its founder
Before his dethronement, Shekau had sworn allegiance to IS in March 2015 and had killed thousands of people and destroyed countless communities during his reign of terror that extended up to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
His exit in 2016 heralded the rise of the relatively young Al-Barnawi as ISWAP leader and at the same time, the split of the terrorist group into two factions.
It was reported that ISIS partly chose Al-Barnawi as leader in the Lake Chad region in order to punish Shekau who reportedly “violated all known norms” and to also retain the confidence of Boko Haram fighters who were loyal to his father, Yusuf, amid threats from other factional groups.
Al-Barnawi was also said to have been trained by ISIS for years ahead of his ascension to power.
Shekau, who was declared wanted by the United States with a price on his head, had led the Boko Haram faction with solid footing around the Sambisa forest and part of the Mandara Mountains bordering the Cameroon Republic.
On the other hand, Al-Barnawi sustained vicious attacks especially on military facilities and troops in the Lake Chad region while at the same time strategising on how to subdue Shekau.
He controlled large swathes of territory in Northern Borno, imposed taxes on the local population and earned serious income from fishing asides from the financial and material support he got from ISIS.
Al-Barnawi’s fighters had also destroyed many military super camps in Dikwa, Monguno, Abadam and Marte in Borno; and other military facilities around Geidam in Yobe State.
He equally established many cells on the Lake Chad islands and surrounding villages from where his fighters launched attacks on Nigeria, Niger and Chad.
His death in August, after that of Shekau in May 2021, was seen as a turning point in the war against terror even as security experts had called for sustained offensive towards decimating the two rival groups to have a lasting peace after twelve years of uncertainty and carnage.