Boko Haram-ISIS deal: Why Shekau could be replaced


By Ahmad Salkida

Boko Haram, seems to have had a long disagreement within the Jihadist movements in Africa about Abubakar Shekau’s depth of knowledge. Many of the Jihadists, especially students of late Mohammed Yusuf, Shekau’s precursor, were reported to have opted out of the movement on account of his hastiness. Some of these erstwhile members of the sect are reported to be currently fighting alongside with the Islamic State (IS) in Libya, or in other turfs — in their new obsession of dying as martyrs instead of co-existing in a multicultural society.

Boko Haram’s widely reported allegiance (or Bay’ah) to the Islamic State is said to be the result of a long drawn deliberation within and outside the group on its ideology. “The sect has expressed support to IS in the past but not Bay’ah in this formal sense, as Islam prescribed,” says a source with links to the insurgents in Nigeria. According to this insurgent, it is not a question of IS accepting their overtures or not “as long as Muslims pledged allegiance to a leader, he must accept it. In fact, it was long overdue.” What this also means is Abubakar Bagdadi will henceforth take decision for the insurgents. “Shekau’s self-governance ended on Saturday, the 7th of March 2015,” said the insurgent.

Credible sources knowledgeable with the activities of the ruthless insurgents in Nigeria hinted that what we are seeing is a methodological transformation of Boko Haram into a well-organised terror and propaganda machine that may not only appeal to the deprived in society but even the well-off and people from different nationalities. Baghdadi may choose to even change the Imam in Nigeria if he so wishes or send permanent emissaries or teachers to guide what is now the local Boko Haram Shura, said multiple sources.

Insiders insist that “the emissaries by Bagdadi are already here with us, they are making a lot of changes that I cannot share but we have started seeing the impact of our Bay’ah”. But just what is Bay’ah and the implications to the four countries fighting Boko Haram? Bay’ah, according to some Sunni Islamic scholars, can only be offered to the leader of the Muslims. Once allegiance is offered, as in the case of Boko Haram to IS, it is accepted because the leader that is being offered Bay’ah assumes total and absolute authority over his subjects, except these subjects were to discover that the actions of the leader contradicted their kind of beliefs.

Many commentators have maintained that Boko Haram is on its knees; therefore, it is reaching out to IS to reinforce its bonds with other groups and individuals in the region, and save itself from drowning. Yes, there have been intensified military attacks against

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