Abu Musab al-Barnawi

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Abu Musab al-Barnawi
Allegiance  ISIL (2015?)
Boko Haram (2002–2015)
Rank Leader
Unit Wilayat Gharb Afriqiya
Battles/wars Boko Haram insurgency

Abu Mus'ab Habeeb Bin Muhammad Bin Yusuf al-Barnawi is the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's branch in West Africa, which split with Boko Haram in 2016. He was the spokesperson for Boko Haram before it pledged allegiance to ISIL.

Early life[edit]

He is the first surviving son of the founder of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf.[1]

Boko Haram[edit]

On 27 January 2015, he released a propaganda video as the spokesman for Boko Haram.[2][3]

Islamic State[edit]

On 7 March 2015, Abubakar Shekau released an audio message in which he pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State. Abubakar Shekau was reaffirmed as the leader of the branch in an ISIL video released in April 2016. On 21 June 2016, Reuters reported Marine Lieutenant General Thomas Waldhauser as saying "Several months ago, about half of Boko Haram broke off to a separate group because they were not happy with the amount of buy-in, if you will, from Boko Haram into the ISIL brand," Shekau ignored ISIL orders to stop using children as suicide bombers. "He's been told by ISIL to stop doing that. But he has not done so. And that's one of the reasons why this splinter group has broken off," he said, adding Islamic State was trying to "reconcile those two groups."[4]

On 3 August 2016, the Islamic State reported in the 41st issue of its newspaper al-Naba, that Abu Musab al-Barnawi had been appointed as the new leader of their West African branch.[5] In response, Shekau declared that he and his followers were the in right, and that "[they] will not accept any emissary except the one we can attest he is sincere and truthful for Allah and His cause".[1] Al-Barnawi promised in an interview with al-Naba that he would not target mosques or markets in northern Nigeria. The difference in these approaches is due to Barnawi considering the general population in the region to be Muslim whereas Shekau considered them to be non-believers.[6] On 27 February 2018 he was made a 'Specially Designated National' by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control.[7][8]