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5 things you didn’t know about ISWAP



Reports concerning the death of the leader of terrorist sect Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, have been linked to the invasion of his lair by Islamic State West Africa Province fighters..

Here are five things you didn’t know about ISWAP:


ISWAP is a splinter from the Shekau-led Boko Haram faction. The break-away occured in 2016 after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.

2. Leadership

Abu al-Barnawi was appointed as the first leader of ISWAP in 2016 and this is one of the factors that led to the break-out since Shekau refused to be under any other leader.

According to experts, al-Barnawi is the son of Boko Haram’s original founder, Mohammed Yusuf, and previously served as the spokesman for Boko Haram under Shekau.

In March 2019, however, another relative moderate known as Ba Idrisa became ISWAP leader and al-Barnawi was demoted to shura (consultative council) member.

3. Territory

ISWAP forms its territorial base on the banks and islands of Lake Chad and across Nothern-eastern Nigeria. The group specialises in waging war across these areas.

ISWAP is also deepening its roots in the civilian population across Cameroon and Niger.

4. Terrorism

As faction groups, ISWAP has clashed with Boko-haram leading to multiple deaths from both groups.

The group has also waged war in the North Eastern area of Nigeria. In May last year, Nigerian defense troops reportedly killed 78 members of the ISWAP armed group.

5. Governance

Though ISWAP employs violence and forceful methods in their operations, the jihadist group has a strong hold on communities in the area and islands in Lake Chad, standing in the gap of governance and support. The ISWAP has turned Lake Chad into a source of economic support as the people are now loyal to them.

ISWAP governs Lake Chad area’s inhabitants, standing in the place of government by offering health care, cattle rustling, well digging and tax control.

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