Boko Haram Leader, Shekau Kills Spokesman for Disloyalty as It Ambushes Military, Kills 7

Emerging reports suggest that Boko Haram’s main faction, Abubakar Shekau, has admitted killing the group’s purported spokesman over an apparent plot to oust him, he said in an audio recording.
Meanwhile, seven soldiers were reportedly killed in the town of Gajiram, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) by road north of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, on Wednesday afternoon.
The killing of Shekau spokesman was revealed in the 50-minute tape of a meeting with the inner circle of his militant Islamist group, in which Shekau was quoted as having said he killed “Tasiu”, also known as Abu Zinnira, who appeared in several video messages.
“You should hear me: I killed Tasiu, hear me well,” he told the gathering in Hausa, which is widely spoken across northeast Nigeria.
Shekau stated the date of the meeting — December 18 — and said it had been called to discuss “those elements grumbling over the killing of Tasiu”.
Shekau’s claim appears to lend weight to reports of infighting within Boko Haram, whose insurgency has killed at least 20,000 in northeast Nigeria since 2009 and left 2.6 million homeless
Shekau has been the most visible face of Boko Haram over the years, claiming attacks and launching rambling, often barely coherent tirades against the government in a series of videos.
But Abu Zinnira has acted on occasion as de facto spokesman and appeared in video recordings, including those about the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped from the town of Chibok in April 2014.
He was always shown in military camouflage, wearing a turban and with his face covered.
In one video released in August last year, Abu Zinnira warned that the remaining girls still being held would die if troops attempted to rescue them.
He also renewed calls for the release of Boko Haram members in custody.
In the December audio recording, Shekau accused Abu Zinnira of plotting with another senior commander called Baba Ammar to take over leadership of the group.
He accused them of sending fighters to carry out raids without his consent, spreading rumours among his lieutenants that he intended to kill them and portraying him as unfit to lead.
“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.”
This is as seven soldiers were killed in a Boko Haram attack on military positions in northeast Nigeria, a civilian vigilante and a security source said on Friday.
The attack happened in the town of Gajiram, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) by road north of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, on Wednesday afternoon.
A military source in Maiduguri and a civilian vigilante, Babakura Kolo, both told AFP on Thursday that the fighting lasted for about two hours and that three soldiers were killed.
But Kolo said on Friday that the toll was had risen and that it was “now seven, including one lieutenant, and six rank and file.
“Yesterday, three bodies of soldiers were found but four more bodies were found during a search.”
The security source said three militants were also killed and troops were combing the area to find other rebel fighters.
Fighters loyal to Abu Musab Al-Barnawi were suspected of carrying out the attack, said Kolo.
The Islamic State group, to which Boko Haram is affiliated, announced that Barnawi was leader last year.
He split from the faction following long-time Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in opposition at his indiscriminate attacks on civilians.
Kolo said vigilantes had been told by arrested Boko Haram suspects that they sourced most of their food from Gajiram and Monguno, a garrison town 60 kilometres away.
But another attack on Wednesday near Gajiganna, some 50 kilometres from Maiduguri on the way to Gajiram, highlighted the risks they run.
“Some displaced people were returning to their villages in the area to harvest their abandoned cornfields when they were intercepted by Boko Haram,” said Kolo.
“They killed some and took away others,” he said, without specifying a death toll.

Author: News Editor

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