Terrorist snipers linked to the so-called Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), have reportedly mistakenly killed one of its own top Commander, Ba’ana Okocha, who claimed responsibility for Coordinating the recent Jihadist attack on Nigerian Military formation in Marte Local Government Area – Northeastern Borno state – Nigeria.
Impeccable sources who confirmed the incidence, said Okocha, known to be an indigene of Gamboru, was shot and killed alongside four other jihadist at a fortified headquarters of ISWAP – a location given as “Arinna Sorro”. OKocha and his armed companions are said to have been wrongly identified by the ISWAP special treetop snipers as an approaching enemy from the Abubakar Shekau JAS faction.
Most JAS fighters were chased out of ISWAP strong holds. ISWAP created fortified camps where nobody was allowed to have without permission.
Other sources have attributed his death to the panic and apprehensiveness generated by the ongoing onward offensive by the Nigerian Military under Operations TURA TAKAI BANGO.
The highly fortified Jihadist location serves as an Armoury depot and hideouts for top ISWAP militant commanders including foreign ISIS mercenaries who often visit from Mali and other neighbouring states – these camps can only be accessed freely by approved persons.
The assassination of the notorious war lord has thrown the ISWAP families into dreadful mourning and further diminished their leadership fighting morale.
Sources familiar with the activities of Boko Haram ISWAP terrorist, disclosed that the Insurgents have recorded increasing inter factional clashes between Boko Haram JAS, ISIS backed ISWAP factions and the Al-Qaida wiyalats within the past two months.
A situation made severe by the continuation of the week-long highly-intensified offensive operations by troops of Operation Tura Takai Bango – an operation targeted at completely eliminating Boko Haram ISWAP terrorists in their strong holds in Sambisa forest, Mandara mountains, Timbuktu triangle and lake Chad basin tunbûns. These relentless operations have pushed jihadist factional fighters and their families to migrate to other safer parts of North East of Lake Chad to seek refuge.
These forced displacements caused by fleeing jihadist has generated to a push back by other ISWAP jihadist factions following the banning of Abubakar Shekau in 2020 by the ISIS Shura Council.
Boko Haram and ISWAP continue to maintain an extensive operational network with local organised crime groups and other Al-Qaida and ISIS groups (JNIM and ISGS) in the triangle of Liptako Gourma (Sahel), Libya (AZWAJ) and Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
These groups now train ISWAP child soldiers in its newly established institution in Somalia known as “Darul Ilm”. Fighters who graduate from these institutions were trained on ambush Operation, bomb making and planting, modern assymetric warfare skills.
•David Otto is a Europe-based counter-terrorism expert.