Friday, August 5, 2016 2:07 am
Abubakar Shekau insisted on Thursday that he remains the leader of Boko Haram, rejecting Abu Musab al-Barnawi announced hours earlier by the Islamic State group as the leader of the Nigeria originated terrorist 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,” Shekau said using the Islamic name for Boko Haram.
Shekau described al-Barnawi as an infidel , preaching false creeds in the audio message in which he also said IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has failed to respond to several letters from him.
“Today, I woke up to see one who is an infidel whom they want me to follow. No, I won’t … We cannot subject ourselves to people who are in ignorance of all holy books and teachings,” Shekau said in the speech, delivered in Arabic and Hausa and posted on social media.
Shekau pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi and gave the Islamic State group its first franchise in sub-Saharan Africa in March 2015.
Shekau in his latest speech still calls al-Baghdadi his “caliph,” and he accuses his enemies of “deceit and treachery” that have poisoned his relationship with the IS leader, AP reports.
Analysts said Shekau’s declaration is indicative of the possibility of a break by Boko Haram from the Islamic State group and possible return to the influence of al-Qaida.
Also, it could result in serious infighting within the group.
Before the release of its latest audio message, Shekau was last seen in a YouTube video in March, where he claimed the “the end has come” for him.
Shekau became Boko Haram leader after Police killed the group’s founding chief Mohammed Yusuf in 2009.
But the group has become fractured under his leadership, according to experts.