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How ISWAP Leader, Al-Barnawi, Was Killed in Factional Battle for Power

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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.”

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Senegal Records First African Win at Qatar 2022 World Cup

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Senegal have become the first African country to win a game in the ongoing World Cup after a 3-1 win over the host nation, Qatar, on Friday.

With Senegal’s win, the hope of the host nation appears to be hanging, as their qualification to the next round is becoming really slim.

Goals from Boulaye Dia, Famara Diedhiou and Bamba Dieng were enough to beat Qatar, who will be eliminated if Group A leaders, The Netherlands, avoid defeat to Ecuador later on Friday.

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Unlawful Imprisonment: Kanu Sues NIA DG, Demands N20bn

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The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has sued the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar, for imprisoning him (Kanu) in Kenya for eight days, before his extradition to Nigeria.

The special counsel to the IPOB leader, Alloy Ejimakor, disclosed this on Wednesday morning, via his Twitter handle, were he posted a pictures containing the suit filed, where he described Kanu’s detention in Kenya as “false imprisonment.”

Ejimakor said the suit was prompted by new evidence gathered implicating the DG beyond the “infamous extraordinary rendition.”

Ejimakor said, “Yesterday (Wednesday) I filed a suit against Ahmed Abubakar, the DG of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) for his eight days ‘false imprisonment’ of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in discovered evidence that implicated the DG/NIA beyond the infamous extraordinary rendition.”

According to the suit, the court gave Abubakar 14 days to appear or be represented in court, adding that failure to show up would mean that judgment would be given in the DG’s absence.

The suit filed in the High Court of Abia State reads in part, “You are hereby commanded that within 14 days after the service of this Writ on you inclusive of the day of such service, you do cause an appearance to be entered for you in the Umuahia Judicial Division of the High Court in Abia State in an action at this suit of Mazi Nnnamdi Kanu….and take notice that in default of your so doing, the claimant may proceed therein and judgment may be given in your absence.

“The claimant’s claim is for (i) A declaration of this Honorable Court that the defendant’s arrest of the claimant and his imprisonment of the claimant at said location in Nairobi, Kenya amounted to false arrest and false imprisonment.

“(ii) A declaration that the defendant acted in bad faith and/or abused his public office in falsely imprisoning the claimant at the said location in Kenya. (iii) An order of this Honorable Court directing the defendant to pay the claimant the sum of N20,000,000,000.00 (Twenty Billion Naira only) being general and exemplary damages…”

This comes just few days after Kanu’s N20bn suit against the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami was thrown out by the Federal High Court in Abuja.

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The Story Behind Peter Obi’s Grounded Plane in Lagos

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There was a mild drama at the Lagos airport on Wednesday when supporters of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party and some party chieftains were prevented from boarding a campaign plane for their rally in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.

The Deputy Director-General and Campaign Manager for LP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Oseloka Obaze, was the first to raise the alarm following a report that the plane had been grounded.

The former Nigerian diplomat took to his verified Twitter handle on Wednesday to tweet that the ‘Obi-dent aircraft’ was grounded by the ‘powers that be,’ citing “regulatory reasons.”

When contacted, the National Chairman of the party, Julius Abure, confirmed the report.

He said, “We have just finished our rally in Ibadan. It is true that the plane meant to convey our NWC and NEC members for campaign was grounded by the powers that be. But we were not deterred by the plane that was grounded.

“This is what we have been saying about this country. It is not the first time it is happening. They have been using every opportunity to ensure we don’t get to do anything in this country.”

Also, the Head of Media for Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Organisation, Diran Onifade, released a statement to express the PCC’s displeasure at the turn of event.

However, in their response, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority denied the allegations and explained that the plane belonged to a scheduled operator.

It said, “The so-called grounded plane belongs to a scheduled operator i.e. normal commercial flight. The flight crew of the said aircraft returned to the base on their own to check on an issue that developed soon after it took off.  This is the normal and right thing to do. What they did is what we termed safety precautionary flight measures. NCAA was not involved in this decision.”

Meanwhile, Obi promised citizens that he would not build on tribalism and religion if elected in 2023 and assured them of his plan to secure the country and unite its citizenry.

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