Boko Haram Breaks Up, Shekau Releases Audio Message, Says Factional Leader Al-Barnawi An Infidel

Nigeria’s terror group, known as Boko Haram, seems to have broken up, with its elusive leader Abubakar Shekau who have not been heard in public for months, releasing an audio message, and describing factional leader al-Barnawi as an infidel.

Barnawi featured in an Islamic State magazine as the leader of Boko Haram, but Shekau said in his audio message that it was not true as he was still in charge of Nigeria’s deadly group.

“People should know we are still around. We will never cause any discord among the people, we will live by the Koran,” Shekau said in a 10-minute audio message.

“This is our stand and we remain in our capacity as Jama’atu Ahlissunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad,” he said using the Islamic name Boko Haram.

His voice was identified by an AFP journalist familiar with previous messages he has posted on social media.

BBC’s  Aliyu Tanko wondered if Boko Haram would switch to allegiance to another terror group now that IS has betrayed him

Tanko said: “The audio message by Abubakar Shekau, in which he insists he is still the leader of Boko Haram, is an indication of the sharpest ever division to hit Nigeria’s militant Islamist group since the death of its founding leader Mohammed Yusuf in 2009.

“Shekau’s denunciation of Abu Musab al-Barnawi, whom the Islamic State (IS) group has declared the new leader of Boko Haram, as an “infidel” suggests that there may be no room for compromise and the rival factions may take up arms against each other.

“In a Boko Haram video from January 2015, Abu Musab al-Barnawi was described as the group’s spokesman

“In a Boko Haram video from January 2015, Abu Musab al-Barnawi was described as the group’s spokesman

“But it is clear that there is unhappiness within Boko Haram’s ranks with Shekau’s leadership, resulting in some militants reaching out to IS in their bid to topple him.

“What is not clear though is the extent of support that al-Barnawi has within Boko Haram.

“Shekau pledged allegiance to IS last year, giving it its first presence in sub-Saharan Africa – only for it to now betray him.

“With global jihadists competing for support, it will not be surprising if the Shekau-led faction now switches allegiance to al-Qaeda or another militant group”.

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