IS Names New Leader For Boko Haram | Independent Newspapers Limited
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IS Names New Leader For Boko Haram

Posted: Aug 4, 2016 at 6:35 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chukwudi Nweje

LAGOS – The Islamic State (IS) on Wednesday exhibited what would be its first supervisory authority over Nigeria’s Jam’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihd also known as Boko Haram.

IS announced Abu Musab al-Barnawi as the new leader of Boko Haram.

Until the announcement, Abu Musab al-Barnawi, was spokesperson of Boko Haram.

IS was silent on the whereabouts or status of Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s previous leader.

Shekau was last heard from in an audio message last August, saying he was alive and had not been replaced.

Shekau, had been ‘killed’ several times by the Nigerian military, but he had always uploaded a video on YouTube on each occasion, minutes after the military announced him dead to say he is alive and healthy.

With the announcement on Wednesday, IS has finally put to rest doubts Boko Haram is its affiliate.

Boko Haram pledged allegiance to IS in March 2015 in an audio statement posted on its Twitter account.

In the audio message, Abu Shekau said, “We announce our allegiance to the caliph… and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity.

“We call on Muslims everywhere to pledge allegiance to the caliph.”

In the same month it pledged allegiance, 41-year-old Muhammadu Lawal Uwais, one of the sons of Justice Muhammadu Uwais (rtd.), a former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), was reported to have left the country with his two wives and children to allegedly enlist and fight alongside IS.

Another Nigerian, Mr. Sunday Henry Dare, had also reported that he saw his British-born four-year-old grandson on a video released by ISIS as he carried an AK47 as the terrorist group executed some alleged British spies.

Then in August 2015, a wanted ISIS terrorist who was on the wanted list of several governments was granted Nigerian visa in Lebanon to visit the country.

The suspect Ahmad al-Assir, was, however, arrested by Lebanese authorities at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport, as he attempted to leave Lebanon for Nigeria via Cairo with a fake Palestinian passport with a valid Nigerian visa.

The Department of State Service (DSS) had also discovered some IS training camps in parts of the country and arrested suspected agents recruiting for the group.

In February 2016, one Abdussalam Yunusa, a 400-level Information and Media Technology student of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State was arrested by the DSS, on suspicion of being an ISIS recruitment agents in Nigeria.

The terrorist group has also severally said that it is funded and armed by IS, a claim the Federal Government had refuted.

President Muhammadu Buhari had while fielding questions from journalists at the closing of the second Regional Security Summit in Abuja earlier in the year said that Boko Haram’s claims that it was armed by IS are unsubstantiated.

The president rather said that a major source of the group’s sophisticated weaponry was from the various military and police bases attacked at the peak of the insurgency in the affected countries.

In recent times, Boko Haram has lost most of the territories it previously controlled to the Nigerian military.

The seven-year insurgency by the terror group has left over 20,000 people dead and over 650, 000 people displaced, mainly in the North East parts of the country.

Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi, who first appeared in a Boko Haram video in January 2015 as the group’s spokesperson has meanwhile promised a scorched earth policy.

Unlike Abubakar Shekau his delivery in the Hausa language was considered and softly spoken.

Shekau was often filmed in the open, surrounded by fighters, loudly proclaiming his threats, victories and giving rambling ideological lectures.

However, Barnawi pulled no punches, warning that towns, which resisted Boko Haram in its mission to create an Islamic state, would be flattened.