Thursday, June 13, 2024
HomenewsAbubakar Shekau's Boys Regroup, Appoint New Commanders in Boko Haram

Abubakar Shekau’s Boys Regroup, Appoint New Commanders in Boko Haram

According to a video statement from its supposed new commander, Nigeria’s Boko Haram terrorist group has reported the death of its chief Abubakar Shekau, who reports believe perished during infighting with a rival Islamic State-allied cell.

Top Boko Haram commander Bakura Modu, also known as Sahaba, asked his faction’s commanders to remain loyal after the loss of their historic commander in a short video in Arabic.

Though Islamic State in West Africa Province, or ISWAP, has recently emerged as the main force in Nigeria’s more than decade-long Islamist insurgency, Shekau’s death was considered as a dramatic turn in the battle in the country’s northeast.

The video, provided to AFP by a source close to Boko Haram and confirmed to be Bakura Modu by another local source, illustrates that jihadist infighting is far from over in Africa’s most populous nation.

Shekau, who gained notoriety after kidnapping nearly 300 schoolgirls in 2014, killed himself last month rather than surrender after IS-allied rivals attacked his base camp in Nigeria’s northeast Borno state, security sources said.

In an audio, ISWAP commander Abu Musab Al-Barnawi had already claimed Shekau killed himself while on the run from ISWAP fighters.

The undated Boko Haram video shows Bakura flanked by scores of armed fighters in formation as he addresses the camera, in what is traditionally a jihadist group’s way of presenting a new leader.

Commanders of Jama’atu Ahlu Sunna Lidda’awati Wal Jihad. Be steadfast and draw your swords, spreading your jihad, decapitating the enemy,” he said, using the official name of Shekau’s Boko Haram faction also known as JAS.

“Don’t allow what befalls you these days to weaken your resolve on the jihad your are waging, because Allah has not forsaken your efforts.”

He also urges Boko Haram commanders to reject ISWAP commander Barnawi.

Soon after the initial reports of Shekau’s death last month, infighting between Nigeria’s two rival jihadist factions intensified. ISWAP fighters moved against Boko Haram commanders who refused to surrender and join their ranks, intelligence sources have said.

The two factions have skirmished in the past since ISWAP split from Boko Haram in 2016, objecting to Shekau’s indiscriminate targeting of Muslim civilians and use of women suicide bombers.

Bakura’s faction is one of the Boko Haram elements operating in the Lake Chad area where they have access to porous borders with Chad and Niger. (AFP)

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments