Tension in Boko Haram As Shekau Kills Group’s Spokesman

The leader of Boko Haram’s main faction, Abubakar Shekau, has admitted killing the group’s spokesman over an apparent plot to oust him.
In a 50-minute audio tape obtained by AFP, Shekau told some members of his inner circle that 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.
He also 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 releasing videos where he threatened and lambasted Nigerian authorities.
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.

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