Ibrahim Shekau, long-time leader of the Nigerian Islamist militant movement, Boko Haram, rejected his replacement at the helm of the group by Islamic State, to which he declared allegiance last year.
Shekau made the announcement in a YouTube audio recording Thursday and described the new leader Abu Musab al-Barnawi as an infidel who will never earn his allegiance. The authenticity of the 10-minute clip in Hausa and Arabic couldn’t be verified by Bloomberg News.
Al-Barnawi promised not to attack mosques or markets used by Muslims, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday, citing an Islamic State newspaper.
Boko Haram militants have waged a violent campaign since 2009 to impose their version of Islamic law in Africa’s most populous country of about 180 million people. From northeastern Nigeria, their campaign has spread to neighboring Niger, Cameroon and Chad. The group remains committed to its “stand to establish Sharia law,” Shekau said in his message.