Three of the most senior leaders of the violent Nigerian extremist group Islamic State West Africa Province have reportedly been killed by their own men.
Idris al-Barnawi, believed to be ISWAP’s leader in Nigeria, and two members – Abu Maryam and Abu Zainab – who were believed to have led the rebellion that fractured Boko Haram under Abubakar Shekau, were killed for allegedly “going soft,” Audu Bulama Bukarti, an analyst studying the extremist group said.
Bukarti said the trio were killed by commanders that opposed a change in the group’s modus operandi which the trio introduced.
“The new regulation required fighters to stop pursuing soldiers that run away during attacks and stop killing captured soldiers,” he said.
“The commanders felt the rules were too soft and accused the trio of compromising. This led to their summary and execution,” Bulama, who has incurred the wrath of Shekau a couple of times, said.
The news of the execution of the ISWAP leaders came the same day residents of Borno State embarked on a day of fasting and prayer after Governor Babagana Zulum called for inter-faith spiritual intervention for peace to return to the troubled state.
“Before these recent incidents, many communities also came under varying degrees of murderous attacks in the north, south and central parts of Borno State,” Zulum said while announcing the fast.
“I know we have ceaselessly sought divine intervention in our individual and group prayer sessions,” he added.
This is the first time the state would embark on officially-sanctioned spiritual exercise since the beginning of the Boko Haram crisis about a decade ago.
The state has witnessed series of fatal attack lately. Chibok, a suburb of the state where the over 200 girls were kidnapped on April 14, 2014, was attacked last Thursday.
Before then, Auno, town in Konduga, saw one of the deadliest terror attacks since the turn of the year.