Malam Bako

Malam Bako was the former leader of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP)—the Boko Haram faction loyal to ISIS. Bako succeeded former ISWAP leader Abu Musab al-Barnawi in October 2021, after the Nigerian military killed al-Barnawi in an operation. Later that month, Nigerian security forces claimed to have killed Bako.“Nigerian official says new leader of ISIL-linked group killed,” Al Jazeera, October 22, 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/10/22/nigerian-official-says-new-leader-of-isil-linked-group-killed.

Al-Barnawi assumed leadership of ISWAP in August 2016.Omar Mahmood and Ndubuisi Christian Ani, “Fractional Dynamics within Boko Haram,” Institute for Security Studies,” July 2018, p. 15, https://issafrica.s3.amazonaws.com/site/uploads/2018-07-06-research-report-2.pdf. Unlike Boko Haram, which more often targets civilians, ISWAP focuses their attacks on the Nigerian military and those who aid soldiers.Chinedu Asadu, “Nigerian official says new leader of IS-linked group killed,” Associated Press, October 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/nigerian-official-says-new-leader-of-is-linked-group-killed/2021/10/22/091bcd50-3333-11ec-8036-7db255bff176_story.html. On March 4, 2019, ISWAP announced that al-Barnawi was demoted to a member of the group’s Shura Council, and that Abu Abdullah Ibn Umar al-Barnawi (a.k.a. Ba Idrissa) replaced him as leader.Jacob Zenn, “Who is the Leader of ISWAP? – Confusion Continues Over Leadership of Islamic State in West Africa Province,” Jamestown Foundation Militant Leadership Monitor 10, no. 10, November 4, 2019, https://jamestown.org/brief/who-is-the-leader-of-iswap-confusion-continues-over-leadership-of-islamic-state-in-west-africa-province/. In early 2020, infighting within Boko Haram continued, and al-Barnawi’s successor, Ba Idrissa, was similarly purged.Jacob Zenn, “Islamic State in West Africa Province’s Factional Disputes and the Battle With Boko Haram,” The Jamestown Foundation Terrorism Monitor 18, no. 6, March 20, 2020, https://jamestown.org/program/islamic-state-in-west-africa-provinces-factional-disputes-and-the-battle-with-boko-haram/.

ISIS reinstalled al-Barnawi as leader of ISWAP in April 2021.Jacob Zenn, “ISWAP Launches Hearts and Minds Strategy to Counter Nigerian Army Offensive,” Jamestown Foundation, June 4, 2021, https://jamestown.org/program/iswap-launches-hearts-and-minds-strategy-to-counter-nigerian-army-offensive/. ISWAP and Boko Haram continued to violently clash, resulting in the death of Boko Haram leader Shekau the following month in a confrontation with ISWAP fighters.“ISWAP militant group says Nigeria’s Boko Haram leader is dead,” Reuters, June 7, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/islamic-state-west-african-province-says-nigerias-boko-haram-leader-is-dead-2021-06-06/. According to media reports, Bako was appointed a member of ISWAP’s Shura Council, in August 2021. ISWAP allegedly consolidated its position along the Lake Chad basin following the death of Shekau.“Nigerian official says new leader of ISIL-linked group killed,” Al Jazeera, October 22, 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/10/22/nigerian-official-says-new-leader-of-isil-linked-group-killed.

On October 14, 2021, Nigeria’s military claimed that al-Barnawi was killed. The military did not provide details of the location of or circumstances leading to al-Barnawi’s death, and ISWAP has yet to release an official statement confirming the reports.Chinedu Asadu, “Nigerian military says leader of IS-linked group is dead,” Associated Press, October 14, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/africa-chad-nigeria-islamic-state-group-boko-haram-6fcc3b1951a0bec957931e0f80279ab7. Bako allegedly assumed leadership of ISWAP following al-Barnawi’s death. However, on October 22, Nigeria’s national security adviser Babagana Monguno claimed that Bako, along with another prominent member of ISWAP, was “taken out” by Nigerian security forces on October 20.“ISWAP militant group says Nigeria’s Boko Haram leader is dead,” Reuters, June 7, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/islamic-state-west-african-province-says-nigerias-boko-haram-leader-is-dead-2021-06-06/; “ISWAP: NSA confirms killing of Al Barnawi’s successor, Malam Bako,” Premium Times, October 22, 2021, https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/491057-iswap-nsa-confirms-killing-of-al-barnawis-successor-malam-bako.html.

Extremist entity
ISIS
Type(s) of Organization:
Insurgent, territory-controlling, religious, terrorist, violent
Ideologies and Affiliations:
Islamist, jihadist, pan-Islamist, Salafist, takfiri
Position(s):
Former leader (deceased)

ISIS is a violent jihadist group based in Iraq and Syria. The group has declared wilayas (provinces) in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the North Caucasus. ISIS has also waged attacks in Turkey, Lebanon, France, Belgium, Iraq, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tunisia, and Kuwait.

Extremist entity
Boko Haram
Type(s) of Organization:
Insurgent, territory-controlling, terrorist, violent
Ideologies and Affiliations:
ISIS-affiliated group, Islamist, jihadist, Salafist, takfiri
Position(s):
Former ISIS-appointed leader (deceased)

ISIS is a violent jihadist group based in Iraq and Syria. The group has declared wilayas (provinces) in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the North Caucasus. ISIS has also waged attacks in Turkey, Lebanon, France, Belgium, Iraq, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tunisia, and Kuwait.

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On August 13, 2017, suspected al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) gunmen opened fire on a Turkish restaurant and hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. 19 people were killed and 22 others were wounded.    

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