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Ripples as ISIS core restructures ISWAP into ISISAFRICA, appoints new leader, commanders

  • ISIS core ignores Boko Haram commanders in new appointments

There are ripples as the international terrorists group, Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIS) moved to restructure the terrorist network in the Lake Chad Basin, appointing Amir Abbah Gana aka Ba-Lawan as leader of the Nigerian affiliate formed between the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) and remnants of the Abubakar Shekau JAS faction of Boko Haram JAS faction.

Ba-Lawan, reappointed as new leader of ISWAP six months after his removal by the Shura Council for losing the confidence of most of his loyalists and top commanders, is leading what ISIS terms ISIS Islamic Caliphate of Africa (Wilaya of Africa) covering parts of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon. 

The coalition emerged when the JAS fighters, who were left with leadership vacuum after the death of Shekau, pledged allegiance to ISIS Core under the leadership of Abu Ibrahim Al-Qurashi.

Also, details of the restructure of the terrorists’ group in Nigeria shows that they now has a new name, ISISAFRICA as ISIS international annuls the name #ISWAP while dissolving the Shekau Boko Haram #JAS group, just as it declared the #Bakura faction, which has refused to merge with ISWAP, as ‘#Enemy of #ISISAFRICA.’

ISIS, sensing a new momentum to consolidate its terrorists’ operations in the Lake Chad Basin area, after renaming ISWAP #ISISAFRICA, appointed new commanders for the group.

This was days after the Armed Forces of Nigeria launched successful and destructive land and air operations against the terrorists in the Lake Chad Basin region. 

But the new appointments is said to be causing tension as no former commander of the ‘defeated’ #JAS faction who switched sides to ISWAP was favoured with any position in the new #ISISAFRICA structure.

Sources said that the inability to be assimilated into the main structure is basically because of trust while others said promises have been made to the former #JAS commanders for their control over lesser and unsettled areas in the Sambisa Forest area where they are already masters of the terrain.

There was also misgivings on the emergence of Ba Lawan who was selected over AlBarnawi necause of the antecedents of the new leader. In January 2021, @eonsintelligenc had reported how Ba Lawan was dismissed by the then ISWAP Shura Council after he was accused of failing to contain the rampaging wrath of the Armed Forces of Nigeria ground and air offensive strikes.

He was also found guilty of instigating the increasing and growing insurrection among fighters, regular bloodshed, bringing dishonour within ISWAP. He was replaced by the Shura Council with #Abu-Dawud, also known as Abu Hafsa Al-Ansari, after a bloody mutiny.

But the restructuring was reportedly in line with directive from ISIS Headquarters in Iraq especially with the loss of key commanders from destructive military air strikes.

The new appointments were spearheaded by the Interim Council of the ISWAP-Boko Haram terrorists’ coalition group, headed by Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi, the son of the founder of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf. The interim Council meeting was attended by all potential Wali’s (Leaders), Qa’ids (Chiefs), Commanders and all other recognised structures of both ISWAP and Boko Haram.

Sources have also revealed that one Malam Bako was appointed Deputy (Na’ib) to Command the ISIS Caliphate Command of Nigeria, (Wilaya of Nigeria), recently established at Timbuktu Triangle in Southern Borno. Other key JAS/ ISWAP appointments include Abba-Kaka as Governor of Tumbumma, Commanding Marte, Abadam, Kukawa, Magumeri and other parts of the Lake Chad; and Abubakar Dan-Buduma as the Operation Commander, Timbuktu Triangle. Baba Isa who was in charge of Taxation and Revenue on Fishing activities was posted to Kangar in Abadam to relieve Abu Abdallah. Ibn Umar is now Chief Prosecutor, Abu Umama becomes Amir of Tudun Wulgo, while Muhammed Maina is the Commander of Sabon Tumbu, among others. 

Sources revealed that the Interim Council also introduced Mobile Courts and some policies to harmonise all insurgents activities and groups under the leadership of ISIS core, as well as to establish two Wilaya’s (Caliphates) at Lake Chad and Sambisa forest to sustain its war against countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. It has also lifted the ban imposed on fishing and farming activities in the Lake Chad area, three years after chasing people out of Marte, Abadam, Kukawa and Guzamala, over alleged spying for Nigerian troops.

It nevertheless, imposed new taxes and levies in the areas controlled by ISWAP-Boko Haram, to regulate trades and agricultural activities. Henceforth, members of the terrorist sect will be collecting N5,000 monthly from traders and farmers, while the fishermen will be expected to pay N2,000 per bag of fish among other levies. Several fishermen, farmers and merchants have returned to the Lake-Chad area to engage in socio-economic activities, under the arrangement of the new ISWAP-Boko Haram Leadership, according to impeccable sources. 

Sources said that the Armed Forces of Nigeria would continue to dominate the Northeast region especially the Lake Chad Basin as it escalates the targeting of ISWAP and JAS terrorists’ groups as they mass in their hiding camps in Sabon Tumbu, Jibularam, Kwalaram, Timbuktu Triangle and Parisu and other targets in the Lake Chad.

Already, Nigeria Army ground troops had already engaged the terrorists after air bombardments were reported at Lamboa Forest, Bula Yobe, Jabullam, Yauma Wango, Mainok and Dikwa axis where ISWAP fighters and commanders were eliminated including Umar Tela, Modu Sulum and One-Eye ISWAP Commander, Modu Kennami.

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