Prime News Ghana

Boko Haram: Shekau faces challenge as rival leader Musab emerges

By Michael Eli Dokosi
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Although he has been defiant, threatening and sending chills down the spine of many, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau seems to have a fight on his hands from his own group.

Analyst Andrew Walker says the Nigerian Islamist militant group has another leader in the form of Abu Musab al-Barnawi who just happens to be the group’s founding leader Mohammed Yusuf’s son.

Reports suggest Musab al-Barnawi is calmer and more calculating than Shekau. While Shekau, a former lieutenant under founder Yusuf contends that Muslim or not anyone who does not submit to the will of the group is an unbeliever and must be disposed, al-Barnawi helds in an interview with Islamic State's Arabic-language magazine al-Nabaa, that there should be no more attacks on mosques, that the real unbelievers and polytheists should be the targets of future attacks.

While Nigeria's government claims victory over the group, it remains to be seen which of the two rival leaders can win the tussle to grab hold of the reins of the insurgency and put the group, Boko Haram "Western education is forbidden" back on the offensive.

Infighting among the group was expected some time, it appears now is such time. The group pledged its allegiance to Islamic State in 2015 and in choosing one of Yusuf's sons concern will intensify that al-Barnawi and his IS backers will take a more international, outward-looking path.