The Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor has said that Abu Musad Al-Barnawi, a leader of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), is dead.
The military chief confirmed the development on Thursday, while fielding questions from journalists at the State House.
“I can authoritatively confirm to you that Al-Barnawi is dead. He is dead, and he remains dead,” he said.
The development comes months after Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram leader, was reported to have been killed by ISWAP fighters in a gun battle.
Both factions have been at war since 2016 when ISWAP broke out of the Shekau-led group over leadership issues.
Al-Barnawi, the then leader of ISWAP, had said Shekau’s faction would be defeated by the Nigerian military.
The crisis between the factions had broken out in Sunawa, a town on the Nigeria-Niger border, where many of the fighters killed each other.
When asked when military operations would end in the north-east, Irabor said the army is still assessing the situation, and cannot say when the operations would be concluded.
“For the state of peace, as long as we monitor the state of peace, of course, there are benchmarks and it’s not for me at this forum to give you a terminal date,” he said.
“You do also know as we move in the upward trend in the state of peace, then of course, that should give you an indication that at some point, we are going to have a review of the setting and whether there is going to be a scaling down of military actions.
“But under the current setting, we have not made such a plan, and we have not assessed that time has come for us to undertake that kind of assessment.”