Security

ISWAP: Conflicting reports as Boko Haram founder’s son, Al-Barnawi, killed

Abu Musab Al-Barnawi, the leader of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and son of the Boko Haram founder, Mohammed Yusuf, has been killed.

Al-Barnawi’s father who was also known as Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf founded the Islamist group, Boko Haram in 2002 and was killed by security forces in 2009.

Mohammed-Yusuf.jpg
Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf

According to a report by Daily Trust, there were different versions of the cause of the death of Al-Barnawi.

One account claimed that he was ambushed by troops during which four or five top ISWAP leaders and many foot terrorists loyal to him were also killed.

A source said he was killed around Bula Yobe, a community near the Borno/Yobe states border along Mobbar and Abadam axis that leads to the Lake Chad area.

However, a different source said he was ambushed and killed at a place that could be accessed from Yale, Bama, Banki junction through the Kashimbri-Gulumba.

Other sources claimed that that it was the leadership tussle that led to the death of Al-Barnawi.

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One of them said the battle of supremacy climaxed between August 14 and 26, 2021, and that the fight had claimed many commanders on both sides.

Yet, another source said the other camp had mobilised some terrorists from Central Africa to overthrow Al-Barnawi and they succeeded.

The military high command in Nigeria rarely confirms or denies the killing of high profile Boko Haram/ISWAP commanders because of the sensitivity of the issues.

This might not be unconnected with the multiple announcements of the killing of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau over the years only for him to resurface again and again.

It was until May 2021, when ISWAP fighters engaged Shekau in a fierce battle that led him to kill himself at one of his enclaves at the Sambisa forest.

The Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Benjamin Sawyer, was also quoted could not confirm when Al-Barnawi was killed because troops had no link with them.

He said, “If there is a problem in their (Boko Haram) camp, how will I know? We normally have a fortnightly brief on operations. If ISWAP or BHTs are fighting among themselves, it is the media that always gives the entire nation the information. It is not us, because we are not in their camps.”

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