The Nigerian Army on Monday said its “gallant” troops killed nine “social media personalities” who were operating online on behalf of the Islamic State for West African Province.
ISIS West Africa formed out of the Boko Haram split in 2016.
“The terrorist group is known for its online media propaganda and quest to maintain a virtual caliphate,” the army continued in a statement. “The annihilation of members of its media team further confirms that the NA has decimated the group and they no longer have freedom of action.”
The names of those reportedly killed were released by the army: Abu Hurayra al-Barnawi, Ali al-Ghalam al-Kajiri, Abu Musab Muhammed Mustafa al-Maiduguri, Abu Abdullah Ali al-Barnawi, Abu Musa al-Camerooni, Ahmed al-Muhajir, Abu Ali al-Bamawi, Abu Khubayb bin Ahmed al-Barnawi, and Abu al-Qa’qa’ al-Maiduguri.
Nigerian Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai recently declared that ISIS West Africa had been defeated. Analysts, though, have reported throughout the year to date that ISIS West Africa, territorially based on the banks and islands of Lake Chad, has been growing in power and influence.
“By filling gaps in governance and service delivery, it has cultivated a level of support among local civilians that Boko Haram never enjoyed and has turned neglected communities in the area and islands in Lake Chad into a source of economic support,” the International Crisis Group noted in a mid-May assessment.