Leader of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Abu Musab Al-Barnawi, has been reported killed in Borno State.
He was reportedly killed in the last week of August this year.
Al-Barnawi was the son of Boko Haram founder, Mohammed Yusuf, who was also killed by security forces in 2009 when he launched a war against Nigerian.
In 2016, the Islamic State (IS) militant group announced Al-Barnawi as the leader of its West African affiliate, Boko Haram, which was hitherto led by Abubakar Shekau.
Shekau took over as the group’s leader after the death of Mohammed Yusuf.
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 dislodgement 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 bounty 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 besides 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.
They said despite the massive surrender by Boko Haram fighters, nothing should be taken for granted, because there are many fighters who still believe in the cause they are pursuing, and could recover lost grounds if they get the slightest opportunity.
How Al-Barnawi was killed
There are two versions of the story of Al-Barnawi’s death with one saying he was killed by Nigerian troops and the other version saying he died during a rival war within the ISWAP camp.
The first version revolved around the information shared among some security operatives in the theatre of operation, which indicated 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 could be accessed from Yale, Bama, Banki junction through the Kashimbri-Gulumba.
Other sources told the Daily Trust that it was leadership tussle that led to the death of Al-Barnawi.
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, said he could not confirm when Al-Barnawi was killed because troops had no link with them.
He was quoted as saying: “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.”
Al-Barnawi fell less than two months after he consolidated his grip following the death of Shekau.
He had in an audio released in Kanuri language confirmed the death of Shekau and the triumph of his faction.
This is what he said in the 28-minute audio, “He (Shekau) never thought this would happen to him even in his dream, but by the power of God, we destabilised him.
“He became confused and fled to the forest where he spent five days, wandering and stranded. We followed him again where we faced him with heavy fire. He ran away.
“Then our troops called on him to surrender so that he would be punished. We kept assuring him that we were not out to kill him but he was adamant and confused. As a cantankerous fellow, he believed it was better for him to die than to surrender,” he said.
Shekau reportedly killed himself with a bomb “When he observed that the ISWAP fighters wanted to capture him alive.”
UN Deputy Sec Gen Condemns Gruesome Killing of Deborah, Demands Justice
Amina Muhammed, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, has called for justice following the killing of Deborah Yakubu in Sokoto over blasphemy.
Muhammed spoke out via her official Twitter page on Tuesday, stating that religions should not be “misinterpreted to preach violence”.
“Justice must be done for the senseless, brutal killing of the young Deborah Yakubu in Nigeria. Religions should not be misinterpreted to preach violence when they promote peace.
“My prayers are with the family and for the repose of her soul,” she tweeted.
On Monday, the Sokoto Police Command arraigned two suspects, Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci, before a Chief Magistrate’s Court in the state, for their alleged participation in the crime.
The suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges while the defence counsel, Prof. Mansur Ibrahim, applied for their bail on liberal terms, citing constitutional provisions and sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.
The trial judge reserved the ruling on the bail application and ordered the accused to be remanded at a correctional centre.
AfDB’s Adesina Not Contesting for Presidency – Report
The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina, will not be contesting the Presidency of Nigeria.
A support group had purchased and submitted the N100m Presidential form of the All Progressives Congress for the top banker last week.
Some had also reported that Adesina visited Mamman Daura, the influential nephew of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) last week to seek his support.
But The PUNCH confirmed that Adesina will not be taking part in the Presidential screening of the APC slated for May 23.
Adesina’s office is expected to issue a statement in a few hours distancing himself from Nigeria’s partisan politics.
The AfDB regulations bar its President from partisan politics.
Specifically, Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the agreement establishing AfDB, titled ‘Prohibition of Political Activity; the International Character of the Bank’, states that “The Bank, its President, Vice Presidents, officers and staff shall not interfere in the political affairs of any member (country); nor shall they be influenced in their decisions by the political character of the member (country) concerned.”
Paragraph 3 of the article states that “The President, Vice Presidents, officers and staff of the Bank, in discharge of their offices, owe their duty entirely to the Bank and to no other authority.”
Similarly, the AfDB code of conduct bars its executive from partisan politics. Section 10 of the Code reads: “Although Executive Directors are elected representatives of governments from their constituencies, they shall during their tenure of office as executive directors refrain from participating in active politics in their home countries or elsewhere.”
Should Adesina seek to run for the office of President of Nigeria, he would need to resign his current position permanently, a risk it was learnt the top banker was not willing to take.
There are at least 25 other aspirants running for President on the platform of the APC.
Some of them include APC stalwart, Bola Tinubu; Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; former Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi; Senate President Ahmad Lawan; oil mogul, Tein Jack-Rich; Senator Ajayi Boroffice; Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State; Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State and many others.
N80bn Fraud: EFCC Arrests Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris
Nigeria’s Accountant-General, Ahmed Idris, has been arrested over alleged money laundering and diversion of public funds, according to a report by PREMIUM TIMES.
According to the report, Idris was intercepted in Kano by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday evening and flown to Abuja, the nation’s capital, for interrogation.
Sources said the EFCC has for sometime now been investigating a case of diversion of at least N80 billion in public funds which was allegedly laundered through some bogus contracts.
The companies used in laundering the funds have allegedly been linked to family members and associates of the accountant-general, investigators said.
The sources further said that after progress was made in the investigation, Idris was summoned repeatedly for interrogation but he failed to honour the invitations.
“We kept inviting him but he kept dodging us,” one of our sources said. “We were left with no choice than to keep him under watch and arrest him.”
However, a top EFCC confirmed the development but asked not to be named because he had no permission to discuss the matter with the media.
President Muhammed Buhari appointed Mr Idris accountant-general on June 25, 2015.