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Boko Haram: Mutiny in ISWAP Camp Sees Overthrow of Powerful Jihadist Warlord

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Jude Johnson

The senior leadership of Boko Haram terrorists splinter group, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) and members of the Shura council have sacked the most powerful jihadist warlord in-charge of all terrorist activities and operations along the Tunbums of Lake Chad axis – Amir Baba Kaka. 

Sources revealed that the  jihadist structural shake up emerged after mediators and sponsors linked to Mali (JNIM) and Libya group AZWAJ were drafted in to rescue the turmoil and bitter rivalry between Al-Qaida linked and ISIS most active affiliates in Africa – Boko Haram JAS Abubakar Shekau faction and ISWAP Amir Abba Gana faction.

Who Is Amir Baba Kaka?

Baba Kaka, is an indigent of Marte Local government area (LGA). Until his dismissal, he was 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 is well respected and fierce battlefield commander amongst jihadist circles. 

Amir Baba Kaka (doubling 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 has direct access to the top leadership without passing through the governor of the Tumbuns.

The governor is 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 directing the June 8th attack on the Nigerian Army military base in Auno – about 25 km from Maiduguri, capital of Borno state.

Why Baba Kaka Was Dismissed?

Impeccable sources say Amir Baba Kaka was accused of losing operational command and control of jihadist remote camps in the lake chad axis. after failing to retain trust and loyalty of several unit commanders.

He was also found guilty of failing to organise a defence mechanism against Chadian and MNJTF security and Armed Forces during the ‘Operation Boma Wrath’ battle. ‘Operation Boma Wrath’ was launched under the direct battlefield command of President Idriss Deby after 98 Chadian soldiers were ambushed by armed gunmen suspected to be linked to Boko Haram and ISWAP in Boma Island. The Chadian army claimed they killed about 1000 Boko Haram ISWAP jihadist including unit commanders in the Lac Islands.

The dismissal of Amir Baba-Kaka was sealed after troops of the Nigerian Army coordinating with the Nigerian Air Force mounted one of the deadliest offensives against Boko Haram ISWAP strongholds in Tumbu Jini/Gini. More than 1200 jihadist including unit commanders who had gathered in Tumbun Jini were killed.

What Next For Baba-Kaka?

Amir Baba-Kaka is a wounded jihadist commander without a command and control base. He retains some support from his loyal fighters. He was last spotted around Monguno road flanked by his loyal fighters with about 12-gun trucks. Sources believe he may be heading to the Southern Flanks of Adamawa where he may likely establish a permanent base. The deposed commander could be the latest jihadist casualty to remove his official jihadist badge and revert to an organised criminal group. 

To survive, maintain power, control over his loyalist, Amir Baba Kaka is likely to join the ranks of several Boko Haram ISWAP unit commanders that have fallen out with the main Boko Haram and ISWAP Leadership factions and have diverted their capacity to operate in the North East and North West regions as organised Bandits. These bandits ‘for hire’ specialise in kidnap for ransom, looting and cattle rustling from the most vulnerable communities – blurring the dynamics of the crime-terror nexus.

The intensified intelligence led COIN ground and aerial offensives by the Nigerian Army; Nigerian Air- Force and regional states Chad , Niger and Cameroon must be sustained. The battlefield impact is setting ‘the cat amongst the pidgins’ targeting mainly Jihadist hideouts in the complex mountain and deep forest of the Lake Chad Axis. Local communities must be protected under civil-military relationships – if the local population feel unprotected and in constant fear of jihadist terror , the security and armed forces will continue to suffer deficit of timely information flow. See something – say something.

Credits| EIntel


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