Borno - In-fighting has broken out in Boko Haram after the Islamic State group announced a new leader of its Nigerian affiliate, according to reports.
ISIS had last month announced that Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the son of Boko Haram’s founder Mohammed Yusuf, had replaced Abubakar Shekau at the head of the designated terrorist organisation.
But Shekau then insisted he was still in charge of the Islamist group in a video, whose insurgency has killed at least 20 000 people since 2009 and forced more than 2.6 million from their homes.
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Abubakar Shekau, who still claims leadership of the terror sect, has made recent overtures by for release of the abducted Chibok girls in exchange of some jailed members of his group.
Sources in northeast Nigeria now say there have been deadly skirmishes between the two factions, even as Nigeria’s military seeks to finally rout the rebels in a sustained counter-offensive.
Last Thursday, several fighters from Shekau’s camp were said to have been killed in two separate gun battles with IS-backed Barnawi gunmen in the Monguno area of Borno state near Lake Chad.
Nigeria’s military declined to comment on the reported in-fighting when contacted by AFP.