The leader of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Abu Musab al-Barnawi, is dead, Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, has said.
Mr Irabor, a general, stated this on Thursday at the weekly briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Mr Irabor, who did not disclose details of the death, said the terrorist leader remains dead.
“I can authoritatively confirm to you that Abu Musab is dead. As simple as that. He is dead and remains dead,” he said.
The leadership of the late jihadist leader, al-Barnawi, made ISWAP a dominant terrorist group after it seized power from the late Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.
The group has been striking frequently at troops resulting in the death of more than 40,000 since it began in 2009.
Since splitting with Boko Haram in 2016, the group has shown its resilience and carried out large-scale ambushes on the military in the past weeks.
He said the troops have successfully limited the operations of bandits to only the areas where they are dominant.
“They are essentially where they are. That is the reason why we are pursuing them. But more seriously, a larger number of the bandits remain in the north-west.
“Of course, a few who are making inroads into the north-central, we are taking action, so that they do not spread beyond the known locations.
“But let me tell you also that threat as it were, whether terrorism, banditry, or any form of criminality, they are not confined to boundaries.
“And this is the reason why when we speak to issues that have to do with national security. It is placed in context with our neighbours, because, if all is well in our home and all is not well with our neighbour, then of course, we can’t have peace.
“So, this is the reason why kineticism has become an approach in this regard. And for many of you who have been very closed observers, I want you to know that there are greater interactions that we have with our neighbours and we do not also want to offset the good relations we have with our neighbours because, it is from the enlightened self-interest perspective that we would do that.
“So – bandits’ location, they remain largely in the northwest and we are scaling up our operations to ensure that they are essentially addressed,” he said.