In 2015, rumours started spreading that Shekau had been killed or replaced after he failed to make a verified video appeareance for the past year.Al-Barnawi, believed to be the only surviving son of the late Yusuf, was Boko Haram’s spokesperson until he and other members defected to form the Vanguard for the Protection of Muslims in Black Lands (Ansaru) group in 2013. The splinter operates in north-eastern Nigeria and, unlike Boko Haram, does not attack Muslim civilians or force women and children to carry out suicide bombing missions.Although Ansaru is a splinter of Boko Haram, security analyst David Otto explained that the two groups reintegrated in the Nigerian-Cameroon border region, where they exchange resources and militants “towards a common goal.”Following the new appointment, Shekau , released an audio message in Arabic and Hausa accusing al-Barnawi of trying to stage a coup against him.
Southern Poverty Law Center
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