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Disarray in Boko Haram, 18 War Commanders Die in Air Strikes in Lake Chad

In a scale never reported by an independent source, HumAngle has exclusively obtained information that documents the pattern of fatalities suffered in recent months by the leadership cadres of the various terrorist groups in the Lake Chad Basin. Fundamentally, the terrorist groups include Jama’atu Ahlil Sunnah, (JAS) also known as Boko Haram, and the Islamic State West Africa State, (ISWAP).

The Abubakar Shekau led Boko Haram is dominantly operating in the Southern Borno and the Mandara mountain areas covering parts of Nigeria and Cameroon, with a branch outpost in the Lake Chad basin between Tumur in Niger Republic and Kangar in Northern Borno, Nigeria. On the other hand, the Ba Lawan led ISWAP dominates Northern parts of Borno and the islands in the Lake Chad basin covering Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad and currently pushing downwards to Southern Borno, strategically creating a ring around Shekau’s Boko Haram.

Nigerian Airforce bombardments of the positions of the insurgents in the months between January and March 2020 has taken out no less than 18 of the prime war commanders of ISWAP. There have been a series of sustained targeted airstrikes of the positions of ISWAP and Boko Haram following a return of the dry season. Fatalities have hit hard on the leadership of the insurgents, extending beyond casualties from airstrikes in the past few months going by the exclusive intelligence information obtained by HumAngle.

Further exclusive information on fatalities within the leadership cadres of the insurgents obtained by HumAngle points to further 25 leaders losing their lives between October 2019 and March 2020. The 25 fatalities, according to the records, they died from either injury sustained in combat or other grave medical conditions.

ISWAP particularly, following a sustained period of internal feuds, has lost 13 additional prime leaders between January and March 2020. These are leaders who were executed by their associates for falling out of political favour. Leadership feud has fed a hunger for bloody revolt within the top echelon of the group’s leadership over the past few months. This has resulted in the dramatic and bitter emergence of three leaders in the group within the past year.

With the air of uncertainty overshadowing its future, many of its leading lights and members are reconsidering a continued committal of their future to a cause that seems not to assure them of a victory over the ‘infidel’ state. HumAngle further obtained exclusively that ISWAP has been hit hard by an explosion of defections in the past three months.

According to the records obtained by HumAngle, no less than 400 members and leaders of the two major insurgency groups have voted with their feet. Our information, however, holds that over 70 percent of the defections are members of ISWAP.

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Ahmad Salkida

Ahmad Salkida is a renowned investigative reporter with over 23 years experience in conflict and development reporting. He is regarded as one of the best knowledge experts on the decade-long Boko Haram insurgency. He has done groundbreaking reporting on the multiple conflict situations in the Lake Chad region, a territory overshadowed by terrorism and famine.

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