United State sanctions Boko Haram factional leader Al-Barnawi
The United States has added factional leader of Boko Haram Abu Abdullah Ibn Umar al-Barnawi to its global terrorist list last Tuesday, accusing him of engaging in destabilizing attacks across the West African country, the U.S. Treasury said.
The US sanctions mean any property the individual may have in the United States would be blocked and U.S. persons would generally be prohibited from having business dealings with them.
The sanction comes about five months after Ibn Umar Al Barnawi was named as the head of the Islamic State in the West Africa Province, ISWAP, by IS’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an 18-minute audio recording.
“The extent to which the sanctions will affect the activities of ISWAP is still unclear,” Dr. Akinola Olojo, a senior researcher in Transnational Threats and International Crime at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, told The Guardian.
Dr. Olojo added that although in 2014, the United Nations imposed sanctions on Boko Haram following the abduction of school girls in Chibok, the infamous group was still “listed among the four deadliest terror groups globally, according to the latest Global Terrorism Index.”
“Furthermore, in spite of sanctions, we also recall that Boko Haram was still able to declare allegiance to ISIS or Daesh in 2015,” he added.
A “very comprehensive” strategy must be put in place to counter the deadly group, Dr. Olojo said.
ISWAP is the Islamic State-backed faction of Boko Haram jihadist group operating in Nigeria. The faction has claimed several attacks on Nigerian troops killing many and carting away with a cache of weapons.
The other faction is led by Abubakar Shekau.
Shekau pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in March 2015, but ISIS leadership only gave a formal backing to the other faction, which it calls Islamic State West African Province.
The US estimated that Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province have been responsible for more than 35,000 deaths since 2011.
More than two million people have been displaced, sparking a dire humanitarian crisis in the region.