West & Central Africa

Boko Haram: Shekau kills his spokesman 

An audio recording just coming to light has shown the deep crises within Boko Haram. Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, said in an audio recording that he has killed Tasiu, the group’s spokesman, over a plot to overthrow him. In the 50-minute recording, of a meeting with his inner circle, Shekau said, “You should hear me. I killed Tasiu, hear me well,” he said in Hausa Language. Tasiu, also called Abu Zinnira has appeared in some of the Boko Haram video messages posted online.
The meeting with what seemed to be his commanding team held on December 18, according to Shekau in the recording. The meeting seemed to have been called because of  “those elements grumbling over the killing of Tasiu” Shekau said.

The infighting within Boko Haram had come to light when ISIS acknowledged, Abu Musab Al-Barnawi, the son of Yusuf Mohammed, the founder  Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād (Arabic: جماعة أهل السنة للدعوة والجهاد‎‎,) “Group of the People of Sunnah for Preaching and Jihad” popularly called Boko Haram. The group had stated it Jihad against Christians and the Church but later gained fame when it started attacking schools. Its abduction of 276 school girls in Chibok gave it International recognition. The term “Boko Haram” in the Hausa language means “Western Education is a prohibition” by the Quran, a name popularised by the media.

The Christian Community in Maiduguri, Borno State, the home base of Boko Haram say the infighting has not changed anything and has not had “any effect on the attacks on our communities by the terrorist group.’ A Vicar in the Diocese of Maiduguri said. The Missions Coordinator of Jos Province of the Church of Nigeria, Ven. Wagam Mark, said, “The breaks within the Boko Haram will simply mean different groups are going off their own ways and carrying out their own ideological Islamic agenda. It is still not good for christians and the Church. Islamic Jihadist must be stopped completely. This is not any good development for any country.”
Abu Zinnira, has been seen as a de facto spokesman by analysts for his appearance in Boko Haram video posted online especially when it was assumed he was killed by the Nigerian Army several times. Tasiu, or Abu Zinnira, appeared in the video that warned the army that the remaining Chibok school girls would die if troops attempted to rescue them and demanded for the release of Boko Haram members in prison.

Shekau, in this recording, accused Abu Zinnira of plotting with one Baba Ammar to take over the leadership of the group. Shekau ranted that they ordered fighters to carry out raids without his consent and insinuating that he was unfit to lead the group. Shekau added that Abu Zinnira, and the others, had portrayed him as “not on the right track” with the campaign. He said in the recording, “Tell me, what is the punishment… for the people that plot against their leader?” he asked. “By our code of allegiance we don’t hesitate to pass appropriate sanction on any one of us that commit an offence.” Shekau said, “Devil’s advocates are at work, trying to sow doubt in the minds of our fighters after realising we are gathering momentum for real jihad… They try to confuse anyone getting close to me and distance him from me, they are going about dampening the spirit of our fighters.” He condemned the act in his ranks and told the meeting of the consequences of such actions.