By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The son of Boko Haram founder, Mohammed Yusuf, Abu Musab Al-Barnawi, has been reported killed in the crisis in the Northeast.
Al-Barnawi, trained by ISIS for years ahead of his ascension to power, until his untimely death was the leader of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
Sources said that Al-Barnawi, who the Islamic State (IS) militant group announced as the leader of its West African affiliate, Boko Haram was killed in the last week of August 2021 in Borno State.
How he was killed could however not be confirmed, with one version 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 said he was ambushed and killed with four or five top ISWAP leaders and many foot terrorists loyal to him around Bula Yobe, a community near the Borno/Yobe States border along Mobbar and Abadam axis that leads to the Lake Chad Basin area.
Some other source insists A-Barnawi fell to the supremacy battle among the top Commanders of Boko Haram/ISWAP which climaxed between August 14 and 26, 2021. The source added that the leadership tussle also claimed the lives of 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.
Until his death, Al-Barnawi led his fighters in 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 asides from 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
The Nigerian high command is yet to comment on the death.