By JUMI RHODES
The Islamic State has named Abu Musab al-Barnawi as the new leader of Boko Haram in a two-page interview in its weekly magazine, al-Naba. Following this announcement, Borno-born journalist, Ahmad Salkida, who for many years covered many activities of the sect and once interviewed Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf before his death, has given insights as to how al-Barnawi replaced the erstwhite leader Abubakar Shekau.
In a series of tweets themed #RiftInIswap, Salkida took to Twitter to break down what led to this announcement and the possible implications. According to Salkida,” In all this #RiftInIswap, let’s pray for the #Chibokgirls and the hostages and villagers that do not deserve to be there in the crossfire. The BH/ISWAP story needs to be retold, this time, not by outsiders but people from Borno. It’s still effective, just less potent. There has been #RiftInIswap over ideological differences, the FG too never exploited it, they are fixated with guns and going after assets.In Feb 2015 I wrote Shekau may be replaced after #IS Ba’ah, I also wrote in Feb 2016 #BH divided over IDP attacks.
“Khalid (Moh’d Nasir) was in Ansaru, but never led the group as speculated, he is in DSS custody currently. Our inability to listen, learn, beyond our bias has denied citizens of having basic knowledge of Nigeria’s biggest adversary. If the two parties refused to recognize the other and they are merely a few kilometres apart, the Nigerian Army will have surrogate fighters. The problem with BH story is, many people that understand the complicating issues were scared away, lies and fiction took over.
“Sources close to Abu Musab said he will reply Shekau in the coming hours/day(s). What are the implications of #RiftInIswap? Shekau’s repeated use of Jama‘atu Ahl as-Sunnah li-Da‘awati wal-Jihad appears he has renounced his Ba’ah to #IS. It appears the ideological differences could not be resolved, so #IS took a stand and sided with Abu Musab and his followers. They also accused him of driving away #IS military advisers and that he hoards food and ammunition, all of which Shekau denies. The accusations against Shekau was, he killed several “members even when their crimes were trivial”, bombs in IDPs, mosque, etc.
“It appears Shekau’s channel of communicating to #IS is dominated by the other group, “I will not trust any emissary again. Even if you call us Hawarij or infidels we will not stop, we fight on”- Shekau to #IS insisting his messages were misunderstood. The ideological differences between the two groups cannot be reported here, the tapes/exchanges, over the months are too many. “I cannot follow a new leader who has strayed” – referring to Abu Musab that got the backing of #IS.In the past few months, Mamman Nur, Habib and several others accused Shekau of straying from their dogma of terror.
“According to Shekau, the rival leaders staged a coup and manipulated #IS Hqtrs, “let each one of us send our ‘Aqida’ in writing” he said. “I’ve replied the petitions against me to Baghdadi in so many letters..I’ve not strayed” – Shekau to the new Governor of #ISWAP. In Shekau’s new audio he refers to his group with their name pre -IS allegiance, but still called Baghdadi Caliph.
“It appears Shekau will not just back out without a fight, will this crisis mark an end to #ISWAP or will they emerge stronger? I will be tweeting a major news break happening now, according to sources, in the #LakeChad between contending #IS #BH fighters. We are gripped with the attribution of Al Barnawi (a person from Borno), there are dozens of Barnawis, what matters is the name before it? Abu Musab Albarnawi is son of late Mohammed Yusuf, Yusuf’s grandson is called Musab. The new governor is from Borno, hence the name Albarnawi. Dear experts, many traders are called AlBarnawi if they are frm Borno, in North Africa/ME. If you are Peter, you may be called Peter Albarnawi.”