Leader Of Boko Haram Offshoot Ansaru Arrested In Nigeria

The Nigerian government says it has reduced the scope and strength of the Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram. Khalid al-Barnawi, leader of the Boko Haram splinter group Ansaru, was captured Sunday. Photo courtesy of the Nigerian Army

ABUJA, Nigeria, April 4 (UPI) — The Nigerian army said it captured Khalid al-Barnawi, leader of the Boko Haram splinter group Ansaru.

Also known as Mohammed Usman, al-Barnawi is among three Nigerian rebel leaders with a “specially designated global terrorist” designation given by the U.S. State Department. The United States has also has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest.

He was detained by army forces in the city of Lokoja on Friday, Nigerian military spokesman Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar said Sunday.

Ansaru, which freed dozens of inmates in a 2012 attack on a maximum-security prison in Abjua, the Nigerian capital, has a reputation for kidnapping foreigners.

It claimed responsibility for holding French engineer Francis Collomp for nearly a year before his 2013 release, and killed seven foreign workers in an attack on a residential compound of the engineering company Setraco Nigeria Ltd in 2013. It said the attack was prompted by “the transgressions and atrocities done to the religion of Allah” by European countries.

After seven years of violently attempting to install a fundamentalist Muslim caliphate in Nigeria, Boko Haram has been weakened, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has said, to the point it no longer holds territory in the northeastern part of the country, but is reduced to isolated suicide attacks. Boko Haram is linked to al-Qaida.


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