EXCLUSIVE: BLOODY WAR IN BOKO BARAM AS ABU MUSAB AND SHEKAU FACTIONS KILL EACH OTHER
Impeccable sources with insight into Boko Haram ISWAP jihadist activities in the Lake Chad basin and Northern Nigeria confirm a fierce intra-jihadist battle has broken out between the old Mamman Nur (deceased) led ISWAP unit and units loyal to veteran and weakened JAS factional leader Abubakar Shekau. A bloody gun fight erupted between commanding units of the inherently bitter rival factions in a location given as Jaskoro axis of Jabullam.
Initial reports say the old Mamman Nur led faction overpowered the JAS units - eliminating an unknown number of Shekau’s men. With a high casualty rate on both sides, tension within JAS and ISWAP hiding camps is reported to be very high after each side declared the other wanted.
Sources say the immediate trigger of the current violent rift began after the Abubakar Shekau leadership accused ISWAP leadership of continuously luring JAS unit commanders and fighters through blackmail and other malicious techniques. The accusations precede recent massive defections of loyal fighters from the JAS unit to the old Mamman Nur faction now led by Amir Ba Lawan and Abu Musab Al Barnawi - one of the surviving sons of Boko Haram founding father - Mohammed Yusuf.
The JAS and ISWAP factions are running out of experienced unit Commanders, fighters and functional weapons. Both sides have been embarking on desperate recruitment tactics to fill their ranks including children and stealing fighters from each other through carefully crafted leadership propaganda - with Shekau portrayed by ISWAP leadership as old , weak , irrelevant, wrongly interprets the Holy Quran, erratic and a dictator.
The most recent elimination of a huge number of JAS and ISWAP battlefield commanders and fighters by a coordinated Nigerian Army and Nigerian Air Force ground and aerial operations across the lake Chad basin borders, the Sambisa Forest and the Mandara mountain has reduced the capacity of JAS and ISWAP to a desperate level of bare survival. This was made worse by recent cholera outbreak in JAS camps - the ISWAP leadership blamed the Shekau faction when the deadly waterborne disease spread to ISWAP camps killing some of its fighters and their families.
Recent ISWAP logistics routes revealed - Cameroon:
In a similar threat alert with regional borderline implications, sources spotted a logistic route used by some commanders of ISWAP named as Ali Kwaya and Mohammed Maluma on Oct 22nd 2020. The Jihadist leaders received a large supply of arms (included more than 100 Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG's), 50 Jerry-cans of 50 liters conveying bullets) accompanied by about 100 hundred newly recruited Militant fighters from a location given as Cikka town, located around the border axis of Cameroon at 10:00pm. The militants and catchments of arms were later moved to Kwatan Sabon Tumbu.
Sources revealed that ISWAP may have entered into an alliance with locals in the border town of Bulgaram - Cameroon to facilitate supplies of essential items such as foodstuff, fuel and arms. In exchange, the locals will be allowed to engage in socio-economic activities, like fishing without restriction while the town would be completely under ISWAP protection and spared from any attacks.
The new militants could soon be deployed on multiple attacks against soft civilian and hard military locations and towns in the North of Borno – areas of particular target may include, Malam Fatori, Baga town, MJTF sector 3 Baga, Gubio, Monguno, Cross kwawa, Damasak, Marte military formations.
Bitter leadership rivalry and violent battlefield exchanges are common between the old AlQaeda affiliate JAS and the new ISWAP faction affiliated to ISIS core. Internal jihadist rivalry alone rarely amounts to a significant battlefield advantage to Lake Chad basin state counter insurgency efforts. A combination of civil-military coordinated soft and hard engagement with regional stakeholders will continue to yield trust needed for an intelligence led successful operation.