Iswap leader executes deputy after Nigeria army kills 41 militants

Wednesday March 29 2023
nigeria forces

Nigeria troops patrolling in the north of Borno state. The Iswap commander is reported to have executed his deputy on March 27, 2023 over military raids that left 41 of his fighters dead. PHOTO | QUENTIN LEBOUCHER | AFP


Furious over a Nigerian military raid that killed 41 fighters on March 19, Islamic State West African Province (Iswap) commander has executed his deputy for failing to stop the attack.

Deputy Iswap commander Abu Darda was on Monday executed by his boss Abu Muhammed, in the presence of other fighters in Kajeri Dogumba village in Mafa Local Government Area (LGA) of Northeast Borno State.  

Abu Muhammed said he was mostly hurt because the Nigerian forces killed scores of his fighters, burnt foodstuffs and some newly acquired furniture meant for his wedding. He was also enraged by the attack that led to the seizure of their only three gun trucks.

'Failed attacks'

Mr Zagazola Makama, a counter-insurgency expert and security analyst covering insurgency in the Lake Chad region of northeast Borno state, said that the Iswap commander had also accused his deputy of leading failed attacks of March 19 in Mafa, which resulted in the killing of scores of the terrorists and capturing of two of their gun trucks.

He said that Abu Darda was killed by the angry commander in the presence of other fighters in Kajeri Dogumba village in Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State. 


Mr Makama reported that the said was furious because the only three gun trucks they had were taken by the military which he blamed on the failure of Darda to execute attacks.

He said the Iswap commander said that his executed deputy was unable to watch his boss’s back as the military traced his footsteps to attack them in their camp while they were sleeping.

Insurgents killed

Nigerian troops attacked an Iswap hideout in Mukdolo in Dikwa LGA of Borno State, killing 41 insurgents together with one of their their commander, Abu Zahra, as many injured extremists fled during the attack.

The troops carried out the attack on the platform of Operation Hadin Kai in collaboration with the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and were coordinated by Maj- Gen Shaibu Waidi.

Nigerian troops in Awka

Nigerian troops in Awka on February 24, 2023. PHOTO | PATRICK MEINHARDT | AFP

The raid followed attacks by the Iswap terrorists on March 10 that led to the death of 36 fishermen in Gupdilo.

The Nigerian army on March 25 also killed Boko Haram fighters during a raid on six militia camps on the fringes of Sambisa Forest. In addition, the troops discovered and destroyed a large cache of arms belonging to Boko Haram.

Read: 133 militants killed in Nigeria military attacks

Ex-militias apologise  

Meanwhile, former militias who have completed a deradicalisation programme have begged Nigerians for forgiveness for attempting to destabilise the country.

The 594 former insurgents completed a six-month deradicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration (DRR) programme in Kwami LGA of Northeast Gombe State.

They appealed for forgiveness during their graduation which took place at Malam Sidi camp which is run by the Nigerian army under Operation Safe Corridor.

“We apologise to Nigerians, our state governments, communities as well as everyone seated here and we are not going back to this atrocities,” said Muhammad Abba who spoke on behalf of the former militia members.

Abba further gave the assurance that they would remain loyal and faithful to Nigeria as well as work for peace and stability.

According to the camp commandant, Col Uche Nnabuihe, three of the former insurgents are from Niger Republic and one is from Chad.

Read: Nigeria launches counter-terrorism centre

80,000 militias surrenders

The Nigerian army reported that more than 80,000 extremists have so far surrendered since the insurgency started in 2009. 

“Between July 2021 and May 2022, 54,000 extremists and their families surrendered,” Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff Lt-Gen Lucky Irabor said in a report at the 7th Founders’ Day of the Edo State University.  

The report titled “National Defence Policy and Transitional Justice Approach in the War Against Insurgency in Nigeria”, said that 1,543 former Boko Haram members graduated from the Mallam Sidi camp in Gombe between 2016 and 2022.