14th September 2018: The leader of the Boko Haram faction loyal to the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) Mamman Nur has been reportedly killed by his fighters who rebelled against him, according to reports in African media.
Nur was the brain behind the ties between Boko Haram and the Islamic State group. He was reportedly killed by his closest commanders on August 21. In 2014 Nur had led the rebellion against Abubakar Shekau, which saw the emergence of Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawy faction of the Boko Haram group.
The breakaway faction which moved to shores of Lake Chad region in Northern Borno was later recognised by the Islamic State group.
The new leader Al-Barnawy (real name Habib) is the son of Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf, who was killed in 2009.
Why Was Nur Killed?
According to various sources, Mamman Nur was killed after long period of disagreement with his associates, who became disenchanted with Nur’s style of leadership, who was apparently not as tough as Shekau for these militants. Some of those who rebelled against Nur said that after establishing his base in Lake Chad, Mamman Nur ‘deviated from the real course’ and compromised on so many occasions”.
A major disagreement broke after the release of the some 100 girls abducted in a secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State, in March.
Some close associates of Mamman Nur did not approve that they were ordered by Nur to release the girls unconditionally, following a directive by Al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State group.
It was learnt that Al-Barnawy had also lost firm control of the group which is now under the “guidance” of the former commander who was directly under the control of late Mamman Nur.
According to experts monitoring Africa region, Mamman Nur had lost control long before he was killed. His authority was frequently questioned and his group was slowly taken over by hardliners. His group had recently attacked several army facilities in northern Borno and also captured individuals for ransom.
The Nigerian military has yet to confirm the killing of Mamman Nur.
On January 6 2018, the Nigerian military said the wife of Mamman Nur was killed when troops attacked the group’s location in the Lake Chad region. The spokesman of the Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Command in Maiduguri, Onyema Nwachukwu, said at the time that about 250 Boko Haram fighters on the side of Mamman Nur had surrendered.
The announcement came hours after the military declared Nur as “fatally injured” during an operation. In a related development, the military said troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole have engaged Boko Haram militants and killed many of them. It added troops pursued others who attacked a military location in Damasak, the headquarters of Mobbar Local Government area in Northern part of Borno State.
It was gathered that the incident occurred on Wednesday.
The militants reportedly besieged the military facility in full force with the intention to dislodge soldiers of the 145 Battalion from their location but were repelled. Army spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Texas Chukwu, said in a statement yesterday that, “the terrorists were subdued following a superior fire power of troops in Damasak.” He said efforts are on by the troops to nab other fleeing members of the group, even as he announced that seven soldiers sustained injuries during the attack.
There is currently no factual evidence of his death. A high profile leader killed would have resulted in some responses, even on pro-ISIS telegram accounts. At most this is a reminder of the Nigerian Government announcing that Shekau has been killed during a time when Boko Haram was at its height of attacks – reports proven to be fake news. Following the recent attacks by Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) on the Nigerian military, scepticism remains that the Nigerian Government is following a similar tactic in a desperate attempt to discredit the group by reporting on internal divides as well as a prominent leader killed. The ISWA is one of the strongest Islamic State Wilayahs with about 3000 to 4000 and continued attacks on the Nigerian Government forces and barracks only a matter of time. Recent attacks include: •July 2018, Nigerian soldiers were killed during an attack on a military base in Jilli, in Yobe state; •September 2018, the group briefly gained control of Gudumbali, with reports that large quantities of weapons were seized; •12 September 2018, suspected ISWA fighters attacked a military barracks in Damasak. Whereas Shekau (Abu Muhammad Abubakar Bin Muhammad) leader of Boko Haram seems to be driven by a need of an individual contest with the Nigerian Government on showing that he is in good health, Wali of ISWA, is positioning the group within the Islamic State global network as one to be noticed. This is evident in the most recent al Naba Islamic State release dedicating a full length article on an attack by the ISWA.