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ISIS’ Defeats in Iraq Pave Road for Split among Its Members in Africa - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Cairo- The Nigerian presidency has announced the release of 21 girls who were kidnapped by extremists of Boko Haram since 2014 in Chibok. This extremist group has pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in March 2014 and has called its members as “ISIS wing in Nigeria”.

In 2015, Boko Haram executed around 500 attacks on the borders of Cameron and Chad, killing 520 people and wounding 46 others.

Experts and analysts see that the defeat of the so-called Caliphate of ISIS in Iraq has opened the door for the split of its members from Boko Haram, which is considered the most dangerous terrorist group in Africa.

In this context, an Egyptian study prepared by Al-Azhar reported that ISIS has lost its control on Boko Haram because of the ongoing conflicts on the leadership of the group and the fleeing of members who realized the falsity of the group’s principles.

It is worth mentioning that attacks of the African terrorist groups have increased, especially after it pledged allegiance to ISIS. Boko Haram adopted ISIS’ brutality and didn’t hesitate to take it a notch higher. While ISIS was killing and burning hundreds in Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram was setting aflame Christian villages in Nigeria, attacking mosques and killing many innocent Muslims.

*Beginnings of split

According to the study, the split arose in Boko Haram after ISIS decided in August to replace leader of the group Abubakar Shekau by Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi.

Al-Azhar’s study also reveals that Boko Haram is considered the most bloodthirsty organization for killing around 6,500 people.

*Historical review

Following a conflict with the Nigerian authorities after killing its leader Mohammad Yussuf in 2009, Boko Haram has adopted a violence campaign and its leader Abubakar Shekau announced Jihad against the Nigerian government and the United States in 2010.

The same study pointed that splits in the terrorist group have reached an internal fighting among its members. At the same time, ISIS has reorganized its ranks in the African continent following its defeats to the International Coalition Forces in Syria and Iraq. Apparently, ISIS was counting on Boko Haram to extend its control to the Dark Continent, but splits in the group have left it disappointed.

The Egyptian study has revealed that Shekau’s supporters have accused Barnawi of betraying the real Jihadi intellect by killing Muslims randomly and targeting mosques, which led to fighting among supporters of the two leaders. Targeting Muslims has caused Boko Haram to lose compassion of people in Nigeria; therefore, ISIS has recently focused on regaining this support by targeting Christians, which poses the threats of a civil sectarian war that may expand to other African countries.

* Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi

Sources have suggested that ISIS’ selection for Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi as a new leader would cause an increase in Boko Haram’s terrorist attacks to prove his qualifications for this position, especially after suspicions being raised.

Sources added that ISIS has been working on supplying other extremist groups in Africa and the Maghreb region with arms and militants.

*Releasing girls

Finally, spokesperson of the Nigerian President Muhammad Bukhari has announced the release of 21 girls out of around 200 who were kidnapped by Boko Haram from a school in Chibok in April 2014.
It is worth noting that in 2015, the Nigerian army succeeded in releasing around 700 women and children who were also captured by the African terrorist group as part of the national army’s effort in limiting Haram’s control.