The Nigerian Army chief, General Lucky Irabor has authoritatively confirmed that top Islamic State And West African Province (ISWAP) leader, Abu-Musab Al-Barnawi’s is DEAD and remains dead.
“I can authoritatively confirm to you that al-Barnawi is dead. As simple as that. He is dead and remains dead,” General Lucky Irabor told reporters, without providing any more details as to how or when the dreaded ISWAP leader had died.
It would be recalled that Al-Barnawi’s death was first reported in September with ISWAP disputing the clams. This time ISWAP is yet to comment on the Nigerian Army chief’s declaration.
Abu Musab Al-Barnawi who is the son of late Boko Haram’s founder was once the spokesperson of the insurgency group. However, In August 2016, Al-Baghdadi an Al-Qaeda leader declared him as the Waly of ISWAP, after removing Abubakar Shekau from his position.
The decision was taken after Khalid Al-Barnawi and Mamman Nur (former Boko Haram chieftains) sent letters to the leadership of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), criticizing Shekau’s leadership and extremist views.
This decision led the group to split into two factions: Abu-Bakr Shekau’s group, which returned to its old name “Jamatu Ahli Al-Sunna lil Da’wa Wal Jihad” (JAS); and Barnawi and Nur’s group as “ISWAP”.
Although, the insurgency group has not confirmed al-Barnawi’s death, this is not the first time that the Nigerian military will claim they have killed commanders of armed groups only for them to show up again.
According to a report by Guardian, under al-Barnawi, ISWAP became the dominant jihadist force in Nigeria’s conflict, striking frequently at troops in an insurgency that has killed more than 40,000 since it begun in 2009.
If the Army chief’s confirmation is true, then the demise of Al-barnawi will be a major blow to the insurgency group.
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