He did not give details on how or when al-Barnawi had died.
Al-Barnawi is the son of the founder of Nigeria’s Boko Haram militant group which has been fighting a grinding Islamist insurgency in the northeast since 2009.
The ISWAP commander rose to prominence after splitting with Boko Haram in 2016 over differences with its commander Abubakar Shekau, who died earlier this year during infighting between the two factions.
Since Shekau’s death, security sources say, al-Barnawi had consolidated ISWAP’s control in the northeast and the Lake Chad region but pockets of Boko Haram loyalists have been fighting back.
More than 40,000 people have died in the Boko Haram conflict and around two million more people have been displaced from their homes by the violence.
The Nigerian Army on Tuesday said it does not enlist former terrorists as speculated in some quarters.
This is according to a communique by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu.
The Army spokesman noted that the statement is a reaction to a video making the rounds on the internet which attempted to “draw a conclusion from the collapse of the Afghan military and tried very hard to relate it to the ongoing surrender by the Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province terrorists in Nigeria”.
But the Army said that although the situation in Afghanistan calls for concerns, the security agency is not desperate and won’t recruit former terrorists.
“There are teeming able-bodied Nigerians that are willing to join the NA and genuinely help in the fight against terrorism and other violent crimes,” the Army added.
“The NA, therefore, is not desperate for prospective recruits to stoop so low and engage the services of former terrorists. As a general rule, it is not even recommended to absorb former fighters into the services of a regular military.”
“Surrendered terrorists will be received, processed, and passed to the appropriate government agencies saddled with the responsibility of handling them,” it further said.
While urging Nigerians to leave security matters for experts, the Army asked them to focus on contributing towards nation-building instead of engaging in a campaign of falsehood.
“The NA wishes to state that the campaign of falsehood embarked upon by some individuals who do not wish the nation well cannot distract its personnel from their resolve to bring an end to the violent crimes in the country,” General Nwachukwu’s communique stated.
More Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in Borno State have surrendered their arms and embraced amnesty.
According to a statement signed by Brigadier General, Director Army Public Relations, Onyema Nwachukwu, on Monday, the development which occurred on Saturday follows the recent escalation of offensive operations coupled with non-kinetic efforts by Nigerian Army troops of the operation HADIN KAI (OPHK).
Chief Bomb Expert of the terrorist group known as Musa Adamu a.k.a Mala Musa Abuja and his second in command, Usman Adamu a.k.a Abu Darda along with their families and followers, all totalling 335 fighters, 746 women and children including one of the abducted Chibok girls were among those who surrendered to the troops in Bama Local Government Area of the state.
They were seen carrying placards, kicking against terrorism and appealing to Nigerians to forgive them.
The acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division and Commander Sector 1 OPHK Brigadier General Abdulwahab Adelokun Eyitayo, was also present at the Headquarters 21 Special Armoured Brigade Bama on Saturday to receive them.
He commended their decision to drop their arms and urged them to also encourage their brothers and colleagues in the forests to come out and embrace the new life of peace and rehabilitation.
General Eyitayo who spoke through an interpreter further said they will undergo some rehabilitation at a government facility before their reintegration into the larger society.
In the meantime, new clothes, food items, groceries, and toiletries were distributed to them.
With banditry now on the increase, the Nigerian military has resolved to intensify both its kinetic and non-kinetic approach towards the ongoing fight against insurgency and particularly leverage the knowledge of Musa Adamu and Usman Adamu to achieve both short and long-term counter-insurgency gains in the North East.
The subject of amnesty has been met with controversy as many believe that granting pardons to the insurgents could compromise the country’s security architecture.
One of those who has been vocal against the idea is Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Ali Ndume.
He believes the provision of blanket amnesty to insurgents has the tendency to breed new forms of criminality in the country.
“I don’t think blanket amnesty is the solution because if you do that, another form of criminality may emerge (with insurgents) hoping that the government will bring them to the negotiating table,” he said when he made an appearance on Channels TV’s Politics Today in February.
Senator Ndume said the government must strive to get to the root of the situation to ascertain what the true cause of the banditry problem is.
Here is a factfile on Boko Haram and its rival ISWAP following the killing of 24 Chadian troops in the troubled Lake Chad area.
The insurgency initiated by Boko Haram in 2009 has left more than 36,000 dead, mainly in Nigeria, while three million people across the region have been forced to flee their homes, according to UN estimates.
The Chadian authorities said the troops “were attacked by Boko Haram” on Wednesday, but officials also use the term to refer to the group’s bitter rivals, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
– Anti-Western – Boko Haram launched its campaign with the goal of creating a hardline Islamic state in Nigeria.
The group’s name is Jama’tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (JAS) but it is commonly called Boko Haram, which loosely translates from the Hausa language as “Western education is forbidden”.
Its founder and spiritual leader Mohammed Yusuf blamed Nigeria’s ills on western values left by former colonial master Britain. He also accused the country’s secular leaders of corruption and neglecting northern Muslim regions.
Yusuf built a following among disaffected youths.
He was killed in police custody in July 2009 after an uprising in Maiduguri, Borno state, that prompted a fierce military assault.
Some 800 people died in the action, and Boko Haram’s mosque and headquarters were left in ruins.
Many of its supporters fled the country.
– Descent into killing – After Yusuf died his successor, Abubakar Shekau, undertook a violent campaign of attacks on schools, churches, mosques and state security forces.
Some Boko Haram members are thought to have trained with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in northern Mali in 2012 and 2013.
Among the group’s most notorious acts was the April 2014 kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from the remote town of Chibok.
The mass abduction brought worldwide notoriety and came as Boko Haram was turning swathes of northeast Nigeria into a no-go area.
In August 2014 Shekau proclaimed a “caliphate” in the Borno town of Gwoza, and in March 2015 pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
– Crackdown – The violence sparked a humanitarian crisis and acute food shortages in the mainly rural northeast.
An offensive launched in 2015 by Nigerian troops backed by soldiers from Cameroon, Chad and Niger drove jihadists from most of the area.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari declared in December that year that Boko Haram was “technically” defeated.
But the group and its dissident offshoot, ISWAP, still staged deadly attacks on both military targets and civilians.
Mass trials of suspects started in 2017 but most were released due to lack of evidence, with some 100 locked up.
– Split and resurgence – Boko Haram splintered in 2016 over disagreements about Shekau’s indiscriminate targeting of Muslim civilians and use of children and women as suicide bombers.
The dissenting faction ISWAP, originally established by Muhammad Yusuf’s son Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi, has the backing of the Islamic State group.
ISWAP is particularly active on the Chad and Niger borders and has since 2018 carried out numerous attacks on military bases.
The group is also behind the abduction and killing of Christians and aid workers.
Boko Haram claimed in 2020 to have been responsible for abducting hundreds of young boys from a school in Kankara in the northwest, far from its Sambisa forest base. They were released after a week.
Over the past few months mass abductions have increased in Nigeria, mostly carried out by criminal groups for ransom, some of which are believed to have forged links with jihadists.
Boko Haram confirmed in mid-June 2021 that Shekau had been killed in fighting with ISWAP.
Troops of the Nigerian Army 152 Task Force Battalion in conjunction with the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai on Sunday neutralised 12 Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists.
A statement issued on Monday by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, said the terrorists, who attempted to infiltrate the Forward Operational Base at Bula Yobe in Borno State came mounted on gun trucks and several motorcycles but were met with heavy volume of fire from the vigilant troops, subsequently forcing them to retreat.
The troops sustained the firefight and successfully neutralised 12 terrorists, with several others fleeing with gunshot wounds.
Two soldiers were, however, killed in the process, while five others sustained varying degrees of injury and have been evacuated by the Air component of OPHK to a medical facility, where they are currently receiving medical attention.
The troops seized some items such as one gun truck, one Self Propelled Gun-9, one Dushika gun, one mounted QJC Machine Gun, one Light Machine Gun and five AK 47 Rifles.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Faruk Yahaya, has lauded the land troops and the air component for their synergy and quick response.
He charged the troops to maintain the tempo and vehemently hold their ground, to deny the terrorists freedom of action.
Brigadier General Nwachukwu noted that the general area within FOB Bula Yobe is now calm and under the control of troops of the battalion as further exploitation by the resilient troops is ongoing.
Nigerian Army troops of Sector 2 Joint Task Force North East Operation HADIN KAI in conjunction with the Air Task Force on Sunday 20 June 2021 inflicted heavy casualty on Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) Terrorist groups who were camping around Wartek in the general area of Lambom Forest.
Acting on credible intelligence, the troops with close air support from the Nigerian Air Task Force component swiftly carried out a simultaneous land and air offensive, penetrating deep into Lambom forest in Borno state.
“The troops overran the position of the terrorists with a heavy volume of fire from both land and air, killing over 20 insurgents,” army spokesman, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu stated in a communique early on Monday.
The troops also captured heavy fire weapons and arms, including three Anti Aircraft Guns, three AK 47 Rifles, and two Gun Trucks, aside from two other Gun Trucks that were destroyed by the troops.
General Nwachukwu disclosed that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Major General Faruk Yahaya has congratulated the troops for the successful conduct of the operation.
The COAS enjoined the troops to sustain the ongoing offensive under Operation HADIN KAI, until the insurgents are completely surmounted.
He reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian Army under his leadership to bring terrorism and insurgency to an end in the North East.
In a similar vein, troops of the Joint Task Force North East Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK) deployed at the Forward Operational Base (FOB) of 152 Battalion, Kumshe in Borno State have on Sunday, foiled an attempted attack by Boko Haram terrorists.
The terrorists mounted on four gun trucks and several motorcycles attempted to infiltrate and attack the camp through the northern part of the troops’ deployment but were met with fierce fire by the highly alert troops, resulting in the instant killing of six terrorists.
Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.
According to Nwachukwu, the troops, who remained dogged and sustained heavy gunfire on the terrorists during the encounter, routed and forced the terrorists to flee in total disarray, leading to the capture of six AK 47 Rifles, one handheld grenade, assorted drugs, and other first aid items.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Major General Faruk Yahaya was at the Theatre Headquarters Joint Task Force North East Operation HADIN KAI (OPHK) on his maiden operational visit to the Theatre from 16-19 June to assess the operational and welfare state of the troops.
During his visit to the hospitals, he assured troops of adequate medicare and support in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations.
The COAS gave the assurances on Friday, 18 June 2021 when he visited the 7 Division Hospital and University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) to commiserate with the sick and wounded in action troops recuperating at the medical facilities.
The COAS also prayed for their speedy recovery.
While at the hospital, the COAS took time to interact with the soldiers and assured them of proper medical care and welfare, adding that their medical care is of utmost importance to him.
He averred that the nation is indeed proud of the soldiers’ selfless service and sacrifices towards restoring peace to the North East region.
Troops of the Nigerian Army under the Operation Hadin Kai have killed several ISWAP Terrorists in Dikwa town, Borno State.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, the gallant troops decisively dealt with the terrorists who were attempting to infiltrate the town on Tuesday.
The terrorist elements were said to have mounted five gun trucks, others mounted motorcycles, while others moved by foot.
They were, however, met with superior fire power by troops in conjunction with air bombardment by Air Task Force.
“The marauding terrorists were thoroughly vanquished forcing them to withdraw in high state of confusion abandoning their truck, guns and ammunition,” the statement read.
“During the encounter, six members of the terrorists groups were neutralized, several others were severely injured while the survivors withdrew in total disarray leaving behind their deceased colleagues”.
Three soldiers, however, sustained various degrees of injuries but have now been stabilised.
Items recovered during the encounter included one gun truck, eight AK 47 rifles, 40 rounds of 7.62mm Special, 39 special ammo, three motorcycles and six magazines.
To mop up the area, troops conducted exploitation in the early hours of Wednesday in conjunction with the Civilian Joint Task Force and hunters along the terrorists’ withdrawal routes and recovered 90 rounds of 7.62 mm x 54 on links belonging to the fleeing terrorists.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Faruk Yahaya, has commended the gallant troops over the feat and charged them to remain resolute and steadfast.
He urged them to maintain the tempo in order to ensure total obliteration of terrorist groups within the North East region.
Over 50 members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorist group have been killed in Borno State, the military authorities confirmed on Wednesday.
The Army spokesman, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, who confirmed this via a statement said the terrorists were killed while launching a futile attack on Damboa Local Government Area of the northeastern state.
Troops involved in today’s exercise were part of Operation Hadin Kai in conjunction with Air Component of the Operation
“The terrorists attacked the town in multiple waves with Armoured Personnel Carriers and 12 Gun Trucks all mounted with Anti-Aircraft Guns, as well as Locally Fabricated Armoured-plated Vehicles loaded with explosives and motorcycles,” the statement partly read.
“The gallant troops successfully defeated the attack, destroyed the locally fabricated armoured-plated vehicles and neutralised over 50 ISWAP terrorists forcing the survivors to run in disarray under heavy gunfire from the resilient troops and Nigerian Air Force attack platforms.
“The so-called suicide bombers had to abandon their vehicles primed with explosives as they could not withstand the overwhelming firepower from the highly motivated troops. Several weapons and ammunition were recovered from the depleted terrorists.”
Reacting, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Major General Faruk Yahaya congratulated the troops including the Air Component for this great achievement.
He also restated the commitment of the Nigerian Army under his leadership to ending terrorism and other violent crimes in the North East and the rest of the country, charging the troops to sustain the ongoing offensive under Operation Tura Takaibango the goal is attained.
Islamic State-linked jihadists in Nigeria attacked humanitarian facilities in the restive northeastern town of Damasak, aid workers told AFP on Saturday.
The attack, ongoing late on Saturday, is the second in two months affecting one of the United Nations nine hubs in the country.
Fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) stormed Damasak, in Borno state, setting fire to facilities of international aid organisations.
“ISWAP fighters are still inside Damasak, moving on the streets, firing guns and setting humanitarian facilities on fire,” said an aid worker who asked not to be identified.
The UN hub was gutted after fire set on the nearby office of an international charity spread to the UN facility, said a second aid worker.
The offices of three other international NGOs were also burnt by the insurgents who took over the town, the second aid worker added.
Ongoing fire burning in the vicinity of an NGO warehouse has escalated into humanitarian hub facilities, read a UN memo seen by AFP.
A military source confirmed the Saturday attack on Damasak but said militants failed to overrun the town.
“They came through the town towards the Brigade but they were repelled,” the military officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity, without providing details.
Some residents were reported to be fleeing from the town towards neighbouring Niger.
Damasak has repeatedly been targeted by ISWAP militants who have made several failed attempts to overrun a military outpost outside the town.
ISWAP, which split from the jihadist group Boko Haram in 2016, has become a dominant threat in Nigeria, attacking soldiers and bases while killing and kidnapping passengers at bogus checkpoints.
On March 1, ISWAP jihadists overran a UN hub in Dikwa, killing six civilians and forcing aid workers to temporarily retreat from the town despite urgent humanitarian needs.
Due to worsening security, humanitarian workers in Nigeria are struggling to provide aid, with the number of people requiring urgent assistance forecast to rise to 8.7 million this year.
President Muhammadu Buhari reshuffled the military command this year, raising hopes of a shift in strategy to end a 12-year-old conflict that has killed 36,000 people and forced around two million to flee their homes.
Four security operatives and many insurgents were killed in a firefight on Saturday in Borno State, the Nigerian Army has said.
In a statement shared on social media on Monday, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, noted that the combined troops of Sector 3 Operation Lafiya Dole were on clearance patrol along the fringes of the Lake Chad before the incident occurred.
He explained that the security operatives had advanced and cleared Daban Massara and Ali Sherifti villages, among other settlements before they harboured for replenishment and retrofitting.
As they commenced the second phase of their operations and advance along the Kukawa – Monguno Road which was about 14 kilometres to their base, Yerima said the troops sighted some gun trucks of the Boko Haram terrorist group and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the area.
He added that the soldiers swiftly commenced pursuit of the insurgents with heavy fire and deft manoeuvre.
“In the course of the hot pursuit which was aided by air cover provided by the Air Task Team of Operation Lafia Dole, several terrorists were neutralised and their gun trucks destroyed.
“Unfortunately, however, one officer and three gallant soldiers paid the supreme sacrifices while those wounded in action are currently receiving medical attention at 7 Division Medical Services and Hospital in Maimalari Cantonment,” the statement said.
According to the army spokesman, the report was an on-the-spot account of the encounter between the troops and the insurgents in the Monguno area and its environment.
He assured residents in the area and other parts of the country that the troops were on top of the situation and working assiduously to end insurgency in the country.
Yerima explained that this was in line with the directives of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru.
Members of the Senate on Tuesday called for the provision of enough state-of-the-art weapons and equipment to effectively combat the insurgents in the North East.
This formed part of the resolutions reached after a thorough deliberation on national security, especially as it relates to the security challenges in the region.
The lawmaker representing Borno Central, Senator Kashim Shettima, had cited Order 42 and 52 to seek the leave of the Senate to move a motion on the beheading of 67 farmers by Boko Haram insurgents.
The number given by the lawmaker is one of the conflicting figures that trailed the incident which occurred on Saturday last week at Koshobe, a village in Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State.
While the military said it counted 43 bodies, the Boko Haram terrorist group which claimed responsibility for the killing put the death toll at 78.
Recruit 10,000 JTF Memebrs
During Tuesday’s plenary at the Red Chamber of the National Assembly, the lawmakers took turns to contribute to the debate which led to the adoption of nine resolutions.
In no particular order, they resolved to impress on the Federal Government to urgently recruit at least 10,000 members of the civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), as well as massive recruitment of personnel into the army and police.
The lawmakers stated that such recruits should be versatile with the local terrain in Borno and engaged as agro-rangers under the aegis of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), to complement the efforts of the military.
They asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately initiate the transitionary process of phasing out the current ‘over-stayed’ security chiefs and replacing them with new ones with new ideas and solutions.
The lawmakers urged him to take immediate steps to restructure, remodel and revamp the nation’s entire security architecture.
They also urged the President to immediately initiate a probe into widespread allegations of corruption and leakages within the security structure.
The senators demanded that mechanisms be put in place to foster transparency and ensure all resources meant and deployed for security were actually spent on the needs on the ground.
According to them, it is important for the government to aggressively explore multilateral and bilateral options of partnership with the neighbouring nations of Chad, Niger Republic, and Cameroon to revive and strengthen the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and finding a lasting solution to the scourge of insurgency in the Lake Chad region.
Time To Take New Blood
The lawmakers demanded provision of proper welfare for security personnel fighting in the frontlines and prime attention to the compensation and welfare of fallen soldiers, saying that would boost the troops’ morale and aid their concentration.
They resolved to direct the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and relevant government agencies to compensate the families of the farmers killed and provide succour and psychological support to their families.
As a way of proffering long-term solution to the nation’s existential security challenges, the lawmakers stressed the need for the Federal and state governments to adequately address all immediate and remote causes of insecurity.
This, according to them, must include comprehensive packages on education, employment and other social vices.
Among the lawmakers that contributed to the debate was Senator Ahmed Baba-Kaita who stated that it was no longer acceptable to any Nigerian on the present security situation in the country.
He added that the explanation by the military was no longer acceptable, stressing that it was time for the Senate to critically engage the security agencies.
“If nothing is done, then we must be prepared for another mourning. Mr President is doing his best but if there is no result, then his best is not good enough,” Senator Baba-Kaita said.
Senator Adamu Aliero, in his remarks, condemned the killing of innocent people who met their end while trying to make a living.
He insisted that there was nowhere in the world where such an ugly incident occurred, saying the killing of the farmers was the height of insecurity.
“Mr President should have gone to Borno State to condole with the government and people of the state and not to send a delegation.
“It is now time to act. The Service Chiefs have outlived their usefulness. It is now time to take new blood,” the lawmaker stated.
Enough Of Many Excuses!
On his part, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele urged his colleagues to stand on existing resolutions in addition to the prayers, with an emphasis on the call to sack the service chiefs.
For Senator George Sekibo, the primary function of a government is to protect the people and where that is not the case, it amounts to a failure.
He said, “Have we not failed? … We swore to this Constitution to protect lives and property. We have deprived Nigerians who want to farm of farming. We are crying about food shortage.
“The President is the Commander-In-Chief. If there is a failure in the military, it means the President is not doing enough. It is time we take the issue of community policing seriously.”
“If you take an Ijaw man to Borno State, and there is an attack, he or she will not know where to run to. Let us use those who know the work to do the work,” the lawmaker added.
The Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, commended Senator Shetima for bringing the motion to the Senate.
He stated that the National Assembly, particularly the Senate, has taken the issue of insecurity very seriously urged the lawmakers not to get frustrated that nothing has happened yet.
“I believe that this is one set of resolutions that the Executive must find a way of quickly implementing them. Enough of many excuses!
“We are responsible to citizens and the first responsibility is to secure their lives. The security of Nigeria should take centre stage much more than anything else,” the lawmaker said.
He added, “Let us secure the people first and no investment in security is too much, most especially when we are faced with insecurity.”
Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has given six recommendations to the Federal Government on how to win the war against Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) insurgents terrorising the north-eastern region of Nigeria.
He made the suggestions on Monday when he received members of a presidential delegation who visited Borno to commiserate with the people of the state following the killing of 43 farmers in Koshobe Village.
The governor believes engaging mercenaries, as well as the immediate recruitment of youths into the military to boost its strength, will go a long way to defeat the insurgents.
He stressed that it was also important to engage the services of neighbouring Niger Republic, Chad, and Cameroon to clear the remnants of the insurgents in the Lake Chad region and the Mandara mountains.
Governor Zulum also urged the Federal Government to ensure the provision of mine resistance armoured personnel carriers and other equipment for the military, police, and other security agencies involved in the insurgency fight.
He also asked the government to support the repatriation of internally displaced people in Cameroon and Niger Republic, as well as increase the livelihood support for the people of Borno State.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, who led the delegation, condoled with the government and people of the state over the ugly incident.
He informed the governor that President Muhammadu Buhari has asked him to assure the people of Borno of his commitment to fighting insurgency.
The Senate President added that the armed forces have been given marching orders to go and fight the insurgents wherever they were hiding.
According to him, the Federal Government is intensifying bilateral cooperation to ensure insurgents have nowhere to hide when they are chased out of Nigeria.
Members of the delegation included the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari; the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello; the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Ali Pantami, and the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mustapha Shehuri.
Other members were the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno, and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
The delegation was received on arrival at the airport by the Borno State Deputy Governor, Usman Gadafu.