The year 2021 was not an ideal one for the branch of ISIS in Africa.
The terrorist group lost many of its main leaders to successive and painful security strikes during this year.
Two big hits
The organization received two strong blows in the Sahel region in West Africa, after the killing of the two leaders of the organization in the two regions.
These two regions turned into a new stronghold for the organization’s leadership after the collapse of their strongholds in the Middle East and North Africa.
On October 15, the Nigerian army confirmed the killing of Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the leader of ISIS West Africa.
The army first announced Barnawi’s death in September 2021.
Nigerian Chief of Defense Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, said Barnawi is dead, even without providing details about how he was killed.
France confirmed on September 15 the death of Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the leader of ISIS in the Greater Sahara.
It added that he succumbed to wounds he sustained in a strike by Operation Barkhane in August 2021.
Although ISIS acknowledged the killing of Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, it has not yet confirmed or denied the killing of al-Barnawi at the hands of the Nigerian army.
The same applies to the United States and its official institutions which follow the terrorism file closely, and have not issued a statement in this regard.
On October 22, Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, announced the killing of Malam Baku, who had recently succeeded Abu Musab al-Barnawi as leader of ISIS in West Africa.
If al-Barnawi and Baku were confirmed dead along with Abu al-Walid al-Sahrawi, then ISIS would have received a painful blow at its top in its two most important new strongholds in Africa, after the collapse of its strongholds in Syria, Iraq and Libya.