FG,DHQ Dismiss Appointment Of New Boko Haram Leader, As Sect Splits Over Choice Of Leader

BOKO HARAM: I ‘ll Defeat Regional Force, Boko Haram Leader 'Shekau' Vows in New Video

The Federal Government yesterday dismissed as inconsequential the appointment of a new leader for Boko Haram by the Islamic State (IS).
The Defence Headquarters also spoke in the same vein.
Besides, Wednesday’s appointment of Abu Musab al-Barnawi has split the organisation, which appears to be struggling to return to relevance as Abubakar Shekau said he remains the group’s leader.
Minister of Information Lai Mohammed said nothing would bring back Boko Haram as its defeat is complete. He described the claim by the sect as “another cheap propaganda.”
Mohammed added that “it is too late to employ such tactics to revive the group
“By the way, don’t believe the cheap propaganda by the global terrorist group ISIS, which has reportedly named a new leader for Boko Haram. Our gallant military has put Boko Haram on the run and nothing will bring back the terrorists, not even the wishful thinking by ISIS,” the minister said.
The Director of Defence Information, (DHQ), Brig.-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said in Abuja that the military remained focused on its operation in the Northeast.
He said the announcement of a new leader for the group was only aimed at seeking attention and relevance.
“As far as we are concerned, what Boko Haram or their cohorts are doing is of no relevance to our operations against them.
“We are just focused on clearing the remnants of the insurgents that are scattered around.
“What they are doing is to seek relevance and to tell the world that they are still around whereas they have been decimated.
“Their latest move is the antics of a fading group and I believe that in the shortest time they will be history.’’
Shekau yesterday insisted he was “still around”.
He described his rival to power, Abu Musab al-Barnawi, as a “polytheist”, meaning one who worships many gods.
Shekau, who wears military uniform and waves an AK-47 assault rifle in propaganda videos posted online, said he sent letters to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), but its leaders had stopped replying.
“I was asked to send my ideology in writing to the caliph but it was manipulated by some people in order to achieve their own selfish interests,” he said in a 10-minute audio message.
“People should know we are still around.
“We will never cause any discord among the people, we will live by the Koran.”
Al-Barnawi’s appointment as the new “Wali of West Africa” was announced through an interview with him in the latest edition of Isil’s online weekly magazine al-Naba.
Boko Haram’s former spokesman, he is seen by the terrorist group as more moderate.
Despite the group’s substantial territorial losses at the hands of a multinational force comprising Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad, al-Barnawi said that Boko Haram was “still a force to be reckoned with” and vowed to end its practice of attacking mosques and killing Muslims.
Instead, he said, it would focus on attacking Christians, by “booby-trapping and blowing up every church that we are able to reach, and killing all of those who we find from the citizens of the cross”.
Analysts said the rift opened up a new and dangerous chapter of Nigerian-born terrorism as both factions could now compete to outdo each other.
Shekau’s faction may also team up with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, al-Qaeda’s official branch in North Africa which was behind hotel terror attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso.
Ryan Cummings, director of Signal Risk consultancy, said Shekhau had fallen foul of Isil leaders after attacks on cities like Baga, a north eastern town whose residents were all but wiped out in January 2015.
“Boko Haram’s wanton violence has always been a concern for Isil,” he said. “They are no angels but justify the deaths of civilians by applying the apostate label.
“To re-establish the group’s credentials and recruiting abilities in the Lake Chad region, Isil obviously realised a change in strategy and leadership was needed.”

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