Al-Barnawi – #Nigeria’s Biggest Success Against #BokoHaram?


On April 1, 2016 Nigeria’s State Security Service announced that it had arrested Khalid Al-Barnawi, who has been on its wanted list, and whom Nigeria held responsible for the bombing of the United Nations building in Abuja on August 26, 2011.
The media description of Al-Barnawi is fuzzy, with some media outlets describing him as “Boko Haram’s second in command” and others acknowledging him as the leader of Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis-Sudan (“the Vanguard for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa); AKA “Ansaru. He was arrested at an army barracks in Lokoja, Kogi State.

Al-Barnawi’s real name is alleged to be Mohammed Usman, although he has many other aliases including Kafuri, Naziru, Alhaji Yahaya, Mallam Dauda and Alhaji Tanimu. The SSS claimed that Al-Barnawi acted as a recruiter who procured Nigerians for training by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in North African states and the Middle-East.
Ansaru’s group was also held responsible for several kidnapping incidents in Nigeria in recent years including  the kidnapping of two European engineers in Kebbi State in May 2011 (and their subsequent murder in Sokoto State in March 2013 during a botched rescue attempt), the kidnap of a German engineer, Edgar Raupach in January 2012, and the kidnap and murder of seven expatriate staff of Setraco Construction Company at Jama’are, Bauchi State in February 2013, as well as an attack on Nigerian troops that were en route for a UN mission in Mali.

One of the most bizarre details about Al-Barnawi’s arrest is that he was allegedly arrested inside the Chari Magumeri Barracks, while visiting a family member (following a tip-off).
If this account is true, what on earth was one of the most wanted men in the world (let alone Nigeria) doing inside a military barracks? Also, who is the “family member” he was visiting? Was the person a military personnel? If the answer to that question is “yes”, then it raises some very disturbing implications.


One response

  1. Dear Mr Siollun,

    I have followed your writings on Nigeria’s military politics and other topical issues for quite some time now. I’m impressed at the way you seem to have penetrated the iron curtain of the military establishment to give the nation something to think about. Your historical reports sound authentic enough even though there are few reliable sources to consult for alternative or confirmatory views. Unfortunately, Nigerians don’t seem to care too much what the people in power do with power.

    I write to you because I am in the process of writing a biography of Gen Yakubu Gowon for the Christian community in Nigeria and would appreciate your candid views on the subject. I like to have your evaluative analysis of the Gowon years in government, what it means to a progressive Nigeria and what he has been to Nigeria since he left power. Even though the book will be dwelling more on his post-political leadership activities, still his time as Nigeria’s Head of State and an overall appraisal of what he represents bear careful analysis for the sake of posterity.

    I will also appreciate whatever archival material you are willing and able to put in my hand.

    Also, I can be reached on + 234 708686 7074 in case you wish to talk to me.

    God bless,


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