Following a report by BBC that the Islamic State had named a new leader, Abu Musab al-Barnawi, for Boko Haram, the Nigeria military has reacted saying it was not in anyway perturbed about the group’s latest change of leadership.
BBC reports that Musab al-Barnawi, who was once the spokesman for the insurgent group, has replaced Abubakar Shekau, having been featured in the latest issue of an ISIS magazine, which made no reference to Shekau.
Also See: ISIS Name New Boko Haram Leader
Speaking to This Day reporters, DHQ spokesman, Brig-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, on Wednesday, said that the military was not interested in what happens in what he described as “nearly dead” Boko Haram terrorists, including a change of leadership or alliance with ISIS.
“The leadership change in Boko Haram, as purportedly stated, does not in any way bother us, as the group is nearly dead in Nigeria and other countries within the Lake Chad Basin.
“So whether there is a change in leadership or not, we are sure of total annihilation of the group.”
He further stated that the military was singularly focused on the complete destruction of the terror group, irrespective of leadership and administrative changes.
“Our focus is to clear them from their hideouts which we have been doing through the ongoing Operation Crackdown and Operation Gama Aiki with the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF). It’s (leadership change) not anything to us and we will continue to reduce them to nothing.”
Shekau was last seen in a Boko Haram propaganda video in March 2015, one of many footages released in his years of leading a brutal campaign against Nigeria.
In one of the videos, Shekau pledged allegiance to ISIS, which was originally based in Syria and Iraq. ISIS has several offshoots now in other countries, including Libya.
Nigeria army has claimed to have killed Shekau on several occasions, and he has not appeared in a video since then.