LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s military claimed Thursday that Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the leader of an Islamic State-linked extremist group blamed for killing hundreds in the northeast, is dead. There was no immediate confirmation from the militants.
Gen. Lucky Irabor, Nigeria’s chief of defense staff, told reporters: “I can authoritatively confirm to you that Abu Musab is dead.” He gave no further details. It was not possible to independently corroborate the claim and the military gave no further information about how it knew he had been killed.
Al-Barnawi’s father, Mohammed Yusuf, had been the founding leader of Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group that has been carrying out an insurgency for more than a decade now. The violence has spread to neighboring Niger, Cameroon and Chad as well, destabilizing the Lake Chad region.