“A bit of news about #ISWAP… More and more sources are telling me that Habib Yusuf aka Abu Musab al-Barnawi is still alive, that he was indeed wounded some time after the death of Shekau, probably by the Bakura group, but has recovered.” – Vincent Foucher.
It’s always difficult to confirm the death of a suspected terrorist leader in the troubled North East Nigeria.
Blame it on the fog of war, shaky local intelligence, or excessive media reports, but every now and then a high-profile extremist is pronounced dead only to reappear alive and well in public or online, mocking his foes.
Abubakar Shekau, a well known Boko Haram terrorist leader was pronounced dead on many occasions, only to resurface out of nowhere to mock his foes.
Many other terrorist commanders, like Abubakar Shekau, have been declared killed only to be discovered alive.
Al Qaeda commander Ayman al-Zawahiri and American-born jihadist rapper Omar Hammami are two examples of such terrorist leaders.
Abu Musab Al-barnawi, the former leader of the insurgent group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and the son of Boko Haram’s founder, Muhammed Yusuf, whose assassination by police in 2009 was one of the catalysts for the group’s full-scale insurgency in northeast Nigeria, is the most recent addition to the list.
More than 4 months after the Nigerian military claimed that the terror leader Abu Musab Al-barnawi had been killed, Vincent Foucher (@VincentFoucher), a researcher with the French National Center for Science Research and a consulting senior analyst on West Africa for International Crisis Group has revealed that the former ISWAP leader is still alive.
In a series of tweets, Vincent revealed that he is hearing from a growing number of sources that Habib Yusuf aka Abu Musab al-Barnawi is still alive, and that he was wounded after Shekau’s death, most likely by the Bakura group (another ISWAP faction), but has since recovered.
Even if he was a sort of wali ad interim in 2021, he revealed that Abu Musab Al-Barnawi is no longer the wali of ISWAP.
However, according to Vincent, Al-Barnawi now appears to have a larger Africa-based and Africa-centered role in the Islamic State.
See his tweets below;
Abu Musab al-Barnawi died in late August 2021, according to the Daily Trust, a northern Nigerian daily. It said that many sources had given conflicting stories of how the ISWAP leader died.
Al-Barnawi was the third leader of an Islamist militant group in West Africa to die this year, following Boko Haram’s Abubakar Shekau in May and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara’s Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi in August (ISGS).
Al-Barnawi was the son of Muhammed Yusuf, the founder of Boko Haram, whose assassination by police in 2009 was one of the catalysts for the group’s full-scale insurgency in northeast Nigeria.
Shekau took over as the leader of Boko Haram after Yusuf’s death. It carried out a campaign of bombings, assassinations, and mass kidnappings when he was in charge.