There has been a major power reshuffle in the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP). ISWAP and members of the Shura council have executed three top commanders including the once most powerful jihadist warlord in-charge of all terrorists activities and operations along the Tumbus of Lake Chad axis for four years, Amir Baba Kaka.
The ISWAP Chief Judge and his Council also pronounced death sentence to Ba’a Masta, an Islamic Scholar who preached in the Tumbus and 14 others.
It was reported that those knowledgeable about the leadership struggle of the group disclosed that a separate date for their execution has been fixed for July 31st 2020, immediately after Eid-El-Kabir prayers at a location given as Tunbum Kurna – Lake Chad axis.
There had been reports that Amir Baba Kaka was sacked and replaced by Amir Goni Maina in a major ISWAP leadership shakeup following the appointment of Amir Abubakar Lawan as the new Wali of ISWAP.
“Amir Baba Kaka was killed at Kwalaram on the evening of Sunday 26th July 2020 along with two of his lieutenants; Amir Muhammed Lawal AKA Abba Lawal and Amir Musa.
“The decision to investigate and execute Amir Baba Kaka and two of his men took about four (4) weeks.
“The panel in charge was headed by the New Chief Judge of ISWAP, Amir Malumma and his team comprising of Malam Ibrahim, a top Boko Haram/ISWAP Scholar, Malam Sa’ad and Bako Fulgori, amongst others,” Vanguard reported
It quoted sources as confirming that “This is the first time in Boko Haram /ISWAP history, that the ISIS linked insurgents have conducted what appears to be a systematic political cleansing of top commanders and fighters.
“Ostensibly, with the aim of consolidating power and control by the most recent ISWAP leadership of Amir Abubakar Lawan and his close ally Abu Musab Al-Barnawi.
“Recall that the latter was one of the surviving sons of Boko Haram founder Muhammed Yusuf killed in July 2009 while in Police custody in Maiduguri – Borno State AKA the ‘Home of Peace’.
“It is understood that most of the top commanders executed and marked for death played a major role in the overthrow and demotion of ISIS preferred leader of West Africa Province, Abu-Musab Al-Barnawi.
On why Baba Kaka was Executed, it reported, “Proceedings confirmed that the chief Judge found Amir Baba-kaka guilty of several offences.
“These include; insubordination, injustice, corruption, embezzlement of taxes, instigating mutiny and extra Judicial killings. Others include failure to uphold operational command and control of jihadist camps and unit commanders during his 4 years reign as ‘governor’ of the Lake Chad Tumbus – crimes which led to splits and the death of many commanders and fighters in the hands of the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Air Force, the Chadian Army and troops from the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
“It is believed that some of the offences of Amir Baba Kaka created an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust between unit commanders and the notorious warlord with his closest allies.
“Amir Baba-Kaka, was found guilty of the summary execution of one Goni Mustapha, another notorious war lord in the Tumbuns.
“Goni Mustapha was arrested by Abu Imrana (the late ‘3 star General’) on the directive of Baba Kaka.
“Despite plea from one Ali Abdullah, also a top Commander, Goni Mustapha was subjected to a gruesome execution.
“The “extra-judicial killing” led to massive outrage among young fighters who demanded for immediate justice.
“Few months after Goni Mustapha was executed, the ‘governor’ ordered for the killing of Ba’ana Gana, an ISWAP community police commander.
“Two of his blood brothers named as Bulama and Muhammed had their hands amputated over unfounded allegations of robbery from one of his subjects named in the trial as Sani Gadusu.
“Baba-kaka also killed Malam Ibrahim, who was an Amir of Jubularam, for alleged unremitted tax collected from locals in the area. The notorious ISWAP ‘governor’, killed a young Buduma boy named only as “Kuru” for simply getting into an argument with him.
“The no-nonsense warlord ordered for the killing of one Amir Waziri – in charge of Hizbah police – for allowing his men to loot property that had been stolen from the military after an ambush attack in Marte Local Government Area (LGA).
“He was also accused of murdering the ISWAP Chief Mechanic, known as Falloja, a 34-year-old, from Marte. Falloja was reputed amongst jihadists’ circles for his rare expertise in assembling and disassembling stolen military vehicles – turning them into gun-mounted trucks and Vehicle Bound Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIEDs).
“The jihadist leadership was furious when Amir Baba Kaka ordered for his killing on the pretext that he was found in possession of banned substance – drugs.
“The Chief Judge concluded that these accusations culminated to the overall failure of Amir Baba Kaka to organise any formidable resistance front against Nigerian, Chadian and MNJTF security and Armed Forces during ‘Operation Boma Wrath’ ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’ and ‘Operation Yancin Tafki’ battles.
Giving a profile of Amir Baba Kaka, the Vanguard wrote; “Amir Baba Kaka was an indigene of Marte LGA , born in Yobe, Damaturu. Until his dismissal , he held the rank of the most senior Boko Haram ISWAP ‘administrator’ given the title of ‘governor’ of Lake Chad axis where his command and control base was located. Sources say he was well respected and feared amongst jihadists circles.
“Amir Baba Kaka (doubled as a commander with his own loyal fighters) was the direct link in the chain of command between Boko Haram/ISWAP unit commanders and the senior leadership.
“No unit commander had direct access to the top leadership without passing through the governor of the Tumbuns.
“As the governor, he was responsible for the organisation and collection of access fees and business taxation from farmers, fishermen and cattle merchants.
“His role was to account for all generated funds of the organisation and report to the leadership.
“As head of jihadist administration, he was responsible for the distribution of all funds to various unit commanders depending on the size of their fighters and planned operations.
“He is notorious for personally directing the June 8th attack on the Nigerian Army military base in Auno – about 25 km from Maiduguri.
“He was one of the first loyalists of late Muhammad Yusuf, the founder of the Boko Haram terrorists group.
“Before joining the group, Baba Kaka was a contractor in Yobe state. Sources say he was the first Boko Haram commander to lead an attack in Yobe state.
“He also supervised the execution of students at Government Secondary School Buni Yadi in May 2014 by one Abu Fatima, a dreaded Boko Haram Commander who doubled as a close friend of Baba Kaka. Abu Fatima was later killed by Nigerian Special Forces at Buni Yadi.
“Baba-kaka also led one of the deadliest Boko Haram invasions in Damaturu, where the jihadists succeeded in penetrating through the government house.
“He also led his jihadists unit to dislodge Bulabulin Ngarnam, Marte, Kukawa and Baga where they massacred more than 2000 people in January 2015.
“Baba-kaka was among the commanders that relocated with JAS leader Abubakar Shekau to Sambisa forest when they were driven out of Gwange, Maiduguri.
“After the major split of the group announced by ISIS in 2016, he relocated to the Lake Chad along with Mamman Nur, Abu Musad Al-Barnawi and other top commanders – abandoning Abubakar Shekau with Boko Haram.
“He was first appointed as the Operations Commander of Tumbumma known as Tumbuktu in Marte when it was a self-proclaimed jihadist caliphate.
“He rose from the ranks of Amir, Niqab, Khaid, Munzur and Wali in the ranking of the terrorist group.”
With this major reshuffling, the appeasement for the militants would most probably be to carry out an attack to signal the rise of a new power base amongst the ranks of ISWAP terrorists. Hopefully, the Nigerian military would be well prepared to repel this attack in the future.
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