Nigeria’s chief of defense staff on Thursday confirmed the death of Abu Musab Al-Barnawi, the leader of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorist group.
“I can authoritatively confirm to you that al-Barnawi is dead. As simple as that. He is dead and remains dead,” General Lucky Irabor told reporters at the presidential villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
He did not provide further details on the incident leading to al-Barnawi’s death.
The terrorist leader, said to be in his 20s, was declared wanted by the Nigerian military in 2017.
Local media had reported the killing of al-Barnawi by his colleagues during fierce in-fighting in late August at a location along the border between Nigeria and Niger without official confirmation.
The killing of al-Barnawi came a few months after the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, was reported to have been slain in a battle with ISWAP fighters.
A group of terrorists broke away from Boko Haram in 2016 to pledge allegiance to ISWAP and Daesh/ISIS. Since then, there has been a strong rivalry between the two groups, with each group carrying out terrorist attacks in the nation’s vast northeast region
Around 300,000 people have been killed and 3 million civilians displaced in the over a decade of terrorism in the country, according to the UN Humanitarian Affairs office in Nigeria.