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Islamic State’s Malam Dako ‘Taken Out’

Oct 23, 2021

Staff Writer

Nigeria’s National Security Advisor, Babagana Monguno, on Friday announced that the army had ‘taken out’ the Islamic State’s West African Province (ISWAP) leader, Malam Dako. This followed an announcement the week before, that the group’s long-time leader, Abu Musab Al Barnawi, was also killed. ISWAP, which usually acknowledges the deaths of its leaders has thus far issued no statement confirming nor denying both deaths, with some attributing this to the consternation within the group.

Meanwhile, the other Boko Haram faction saw its long-time leader, Abubakar Shekao, killed in fighting with ISWAP earlier this year. Over 6000 fighters have since surrendered, with most of these not actually having been combatants, but rather those who had previously been captured by Boko Haram. ISWAP has since taken control of much of the areas wherein Boko Haram formerly resided. The group now comprises around 3000 fighters, with Boko Haram constituting only around half this size, in an inversion of previous group combatant levels.

Monguno had praised the ‘excellent’ work of the Nigerian Army, arguing that ISWAP, like Boko Haram, was now under pressure. The Nigerian army has since August instituted a telecommunications blackout in much of the North as it tries to crackdown on fighters, and armed bandits, who have killed hundreds, and captured thousands, in recent years. A recent attack in September killed 19 soldiers, while gunman raided a market in Sokoto on Monday, killing 43. The Nigerian military has often been out numbered and outgunned, with intelligence breaches often resulting in it being isolated. The line between ISWAP, Boko Haram and the gunmen has been blurred. ISWAP, however, does not normally target civilians.

The UN reports that the now 12-year long violence in the North has led to the deaths of over 40 000, and forced the migration of over 350 000. Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad have instituted a mechanism aimed at jointly confronting fighters in the Lake Chad basin, which has had some success. However, the region’s porous nature, combined with its difficult terrain, has seen fighters easily evade capture by escaping to the country’s Sambisa Forest.




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