ISIS: Nigerian killed in drone attack is son of former Chief Justice

Ibrahim Uwais, son of former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), was reportedly killed in an air strike by US-led coalition forces which targeted a senior ISIS leader in Iraq on May 6. Halima, Ibrahim’s wife who travelled with him to Iraq in February 2015, called to inform her father-in-law, Mohammed Uwais, who was Nigeria’s chief justice from 1995 to 2006 about the latest development. Ibrahim was believed to be in the convoy of Abu Waheeb, a senior ISIS leader dubbed “the emir of Anbar”, at the time of the US airstrike in a town near Rutba in the Anbar desert. It could not be confirmed if he was in Waheeb’s convoy or if he happened to be in the vicinity of the US strike. All in the convoy were killed in the strike, but only the identity of Waheeb had been made public by the US Pentagon.

Waheeb had been reported killed on several occasions, but the Pentagon confirmed that the former member of Al-Qaeda in Iraq who used to appear in ISIS execution videos was killed. Ibrahim, 42, left Nigeria early in 2015 to join ISIS in a surprise move, because he was said to have openly condemned Boko Haram for the “damage” they were doing to Islam. He had two wives and four children at the time he left the country. While his elder wife was the head of a private school in Abuja, the younger worked with the Debt Management Office (DMO). Before embarking on the trip to Iraq via Turkey, he reportedly told his wives that they were free to return to their parents. “But both of them said they would go with him,” a source said, when the news broke last year, adding that they took all their children with them. When the retired justice was alerted on the disappearance of his son and his family, he became apprehensive and started to make investigations, eventually reporting to the security agencies.

The Turkish embassy in Abuja was compelled to disclose the details of Ibrahim’s movement through a court injunction, and it confirmed issuing visas to Ibrahim and members of his family. The details of his arrival in Turkey were made available, while images of CCTV recordings were also said to have been analysed by the Turkish security agencies to establish their movement. Ibrahim, who dropped out of the university and went into full time business in his early 20s, was the unlikeliest man to volunteer for the Islamic State, according to a family friend. “He hated everything Boko Haram stood for, and often queried why they would be killing innocent women and children in the name of Islam,” a source said. “With the benefit of hindsight, he was probably trying to cover up his plans. There was no way you would have suspected that he was ever going to be a fundamentalist himself.” He was a student of King’s College, Lagos, and went on to the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, “where he was radicalised”, according to a former student of Queen’s College, Lagos, who said Ibrahim “was very popular with QC girls in those days”. A family source confirmed that Ibrahim left Nigeria with his family early in February 2015 “without a word”. “The fact that he didn’t say goodbye to both parents, and the deafening silence from his end since then, seems to lend credence to this story line (that he has joined ISIS),” he said.

• Culled from The Cable?

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