"I Will Fight Nigeria And The Whole World" - Shekau Boasts In New Video

Boko Haram’s shadowy leader
Abubakar Shekau has appeared
in a new video vowing to fight
on, shrugging off an apparent
split in the hardline jihadist
group blamed for thousands of deaths since 2009.
This screengrab taken on
August 8, 2016 from a Boko
Haram video released by the
Nigerian Islamist extremist
group Boko Haram and obtained by AFP.
“I… Abubakar Ash-Shakawy
(Shekau), the leader of Jama’atu
Ahlissunnah Lidda’awati Wal
Jihad, made it a duty for myself
(to fight) Nigeria and the whole world,” Shekau said in the video
released on Sunday, using the
group’s name since it declared
allegiance to the so-called
Islamic State.
Last week, Shekau said in an audio message he was still head
of the group despite his
purported replacement by
Sheikh Abu Musab al-Barnawi, a
former Boko Haram spokesman.
“We have no desire to fight our Muslim brethren,” Shekau, who
last appeared in March, said in
the 24-minute video.
Shekau ridiculed suggestions
that he was dead, and looked
more composed and energetic than in previous appearances.
“I’m alive by the permission of
Allah,” he said in his speech in
Arabic and Hausa, adding that
he would only die when his time
came. In the video he is wearing
camouflage gear and holding a
machine gun, standing between
two Islamist fighters in
balaclavas armed with rocket-
propelled grenade launchers. He taunted President
Muhammadu Buhari’s
administration and condemned
Western countries including the
United States, France, Germany
and “the tyrants of the United Nonsense (UN)”.
At the end of his speech —
apparently filmed in Boko
Haram’s stronghold in the
Sambisa forest of northeastern
Nigeria — he fired off rounds of ammunition into the air.
His absence in recent months
had sparked speculation about
his fate and whether he had
been deposed as Boko Haram’s
chief. Barnawi’s appointment was
contained in a magazine issued
by the Islamic State group, to
which Boko Haram pledged
allegiance in March last year.
Shekau dismissed Barnawi as an infidel who condoned living in
an un-Islamic society without
waging jihad.
Shekau became leader after
Nigerian security forces killed
the group’s founding chief Mohammed Yusuf in 2009.
Omar Mahmood, a security
analyst with US-based Foreign
Policy Research Institute who
has spent the past five years
researching Boko Haram, said Shekau was removed because of
his highhandness and
ruthlessness.
“One thing that has remained
constant, however, is the focus
on attacks against regional security forces, with Muslim
civilian deaths still ignored. This
aspect seems to be a key
concern for IS propagandists,”
Mahmood said.
“By contrast, Abu Musab al- Barnawi, the man announced as
the new leader, clearly stated in
his al-Naba interview that
attacks against Muslim civilians,
mosques and markets will not
be a staple of his leadership.” Sources close to Boko Haram
said Barnawi, aged in his early
twenties, is none other than
Habib Yusuf, the eldest son of
group founder Yusuf.
They said he was put under Shekau’s care following the
death of his father, but the pair
fell out over ideological and
operational differences.
Boko Haram has been blamed
for some 20,000 deaths and displacing more than 2.6 million
people since it launched a brutal
insurgency in Nigeria in 2009.
Nigerian forces, with the support
of regional troops, have
recaptured swathes of territory lost to the jihadists since they
launched a military campaign in
February 2014.
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