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Who is ISWAP leader Abu Musab Al-Barnawi as Nigerian military confirmed his death

File Photo: Al-Barnawi

The Nigerian military has confirmed the death of Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the leader of the West African Islamic State (ISWAP).

"He is dead and will continue to be dead," said Chief of Defense Staff General Lucky Irabor.

However, General Irabor did not provide further details on Barnawi's death, which was first reported in September.

ISWAP has not commented on the incident, which has been seen as the strongest jihadist group in Nigeria since the death of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau earlier this year.

Boko Haram fighters have since surrendered to ISWAP and the Nigerian military.

Who is Abu Musab Al-Barnawi

Barnawi's background and age are not well known.

His nickname is Habib Yusuf, thought to be the son of Boko Haram's first founder, Muhammad Yusuf.

He was seen as a liberal, a dissident of Boko Haram extremism such as the use of children as extremists and attacks on Muslims.

Following the death of his father at the hands of the police in 2009, Shekau was appointed leader of the group.

Barnawi retained the post of Boko Haram spokesman, but clashed frequently with Shekau and other senior members of the group and in 2013 defected to Ansaru - a splinter group of Boko Haram linked to al-Qaeda.

But despite their differences, the two groups have worked together on several occasions.

To elevate Boko Haram's prestige in the eyes of the world, Shekau joined IS in 2015. The following year, IS appointed Barnawai as Boko Haram's new leader, or "wali", and this led to infighting within the group. Observers say the change of leadership is due to differences between Shekau and the IS leadership.

Credit: BBC News

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Abu Musab Al-Barnawi Boko Haram ISWAP Lucky Irabor Nigeria


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