In May 2013, Nigerian security forces launched a military offensive targeting Boko Haram[1] safe havens after President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in northeastern Nigeria. Despite an initial reduction in Boko Haram attacks, the militant group reestablished a base in Borno State, along Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, and killed more civilians than in any period since its first attack under leader Abubakar Shekau in September 2010.[2]

Although Shekau is Boko Haram’s most visible leader, recent Boko Haram and Ansaru operations suggest that Shekau is not the only leader. This article examines other militant leaders who contributed to the operational and ideological development of Boko Haram and Ansaru, but specifically focuses on Khalid al-Barnawi and Mamman Nur. The article also discusses Adam Kambar, who may have been in contact with Usama bin Ladin; Abu Muhammed, whose kidnapping cell targeted foreigners in northern Nigeria; and Kabiru Sokoto and Habibu Bama, who attacked churches in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region.[3]

It finds that Khalid al-Barnawi and Mamman Nur are uniquely capable of expanding Boko Haram’s international connections to al-Qa`ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Shabab, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO),[4] Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s factions,[5] al-Qa`ida core and other militant groups in Africa. On the local level, al-Barnawi and mid-level commanders from Ansaru are likely operating with Shekau and Boko Haram, but Nur’s ideological disagreements with Shekau may inhibit his followers  from collaborating with Boko Haram at this time.

Muhammad Yusuf’s Disciples
Before 2009, Abubakar Shekau was the deputy of Boko Haram leader Muhammad Yusuf, while Mamman Nur, who reportedly introduced Shekau to Yusuf, was Yusuf’s third-in-command.[6] The three met as theology students in Borno.[7] Yusuf admired the Taliban, Usama bin Ladin and al-Qa`ida (particularly AQIM), while Shekau preached takfiri (excommunication) ideology, but they both focused on their native Nigeria.[8] Nur, who is Cameroonian,[9] may have had an incentive to regionalize Boko Haram’s ideology, and he was the mastermind of the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Abuja on August 26, 2011.[10]

Nigerian security forces killed Yusuf and 800 of his followers, who called themselves “Yusufiya,”[11] in clashes in July 2009.[12] After this, AQIM leader Abdelmalek Droukdel offered his “Salafist brothers” in Nigeria “men, weapons, and ammunition to gain revenge on Nigeria’s ruling Christian minority” for killing “the martyr Shaykh Muhammad Yusuf” and the deaths of Muslims in clashes with Christians in the Middle Belt.[13]

Dozens of Yusuf’s followers fled Nigeria, including the future commander in Kaduna, Abu Muhammed, who trained in Algeria under the Nigerian Khalid al-Barnawi,[14] the latter of whom was Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s longtime kidnapping and smuggling accomplice.[15] Another follower, Adam Kambar, who was arrested in Kano in 2007 after training with AQIM in Algeria, met al-Barnawi in Algeria in 2011, but became the leader of an AQIM training camp.[16]

Nur was one of Yusuf’s few followers who fled to East Africa (reportedly to Somalia) and trained with al-Shabab and AQIM militants.[17] Kambar was based in Kano, served as the “main link” between Boko Haram and AQIM and al-Shabab, and also financed training for Nigerians with AQIM in Mali for attacks on “Western interests” in Nigeria that Nur would later carry out.[18] Kambar may have facilitated Nur’s meeting with the two African al-Qa`ida affiliates, as well as Nur’s return to Kano in early 2011.

Shekau was shot and detained during the July 2009 clashes, which allowed Nur to become leader until Nur left Nigeria and Shekau was released from custody.[19] In July 2010, Shekau announced from a hideout in Borno that he succeeded Yusuf and formed Jama`at Ahl al-Sunna li al-Da`wa wa al-Jihad,[20] although it was commonly known as “Boko Haram.” Shekau pledged loyalty to “the amir of al-Qa`ida in the Islamic Maghreb,” Usama bin Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri and the “Islamic states” in Iraq and Somalia, declaring “Oh America, jihad has just begun.”[21]

Nur’s Break with Shekau
After returning to Nigeria, Mamman Nur masterminded the UN bombing on August 26, 2011, which killed 21 people in Abuja.[22] Nur coordinated the attack from a base in Kano with two Nigerians who trained with Kambar in Algeria, and a Nigerian militant, Habibu Bama.[23] Bama also carried out the Christmas Day 2011 church bombing near Abuja with Kabiru Sokoto, the commander that Muhammad Yusuf appointed for Sokoto State.[24] Kabiru received his funding from a terrorist group based in Algeria, which possibly came from Khalid al-Barnawi.[25] This funding likely contributed to Nur’s attack on the United Nations and some of the more than 10 church bombings in the Middle Belt in 2012 that, according to Nigerian security forces, bore the “hallmark of al-Qa`ida” and followed Droukdel’s offer of support for attacks on Christians in the Middle Belt.[26]

Nur may also have taken part in the Federal Police Headquarters attack in Abuja on June 16, 2011. This attack, which was the first suicide bombing in Nigeria’s history, was claimed by the same intermediary to Agence France-Presse who claimed the UN bombing, employed the same tactics as the UN bombing, involved Kabiru Sokoto and Habibu Bama, and was forewarned by a Boko Haram spokesman who one day before the attack said  that “brothers who arrived from Somalia,” possibly referring to Nur, would launch “fierce” attacks in Abuja.[27]

There were rumors that some militants believed Nur’s al-Qa`ida connections made him a more competent leader than Shekau.[28] Shekau’s reported favoritism of ethnic Kanuris of Borno also may have driven Hausas, non-Nigerians and other non-Kanuris to ally with Nur, who was also non-Nigerian.[29] Shekau, however, ordered the “death penalty” for anyone who did not follow his orders and killed defectors.[30] This may have been the origin of the split between Boko Haram and Ansaru in 2012.

Al-Barnawi’s Unsuccessful Collaboration with Shekau
Concurrent with Nur’s operations, Khalid al-Barnawi’s trainee, Abu Muhammed, masterminded northern Nigeria’s first terrorism-related kidnapping of foreigners—a British and Italian engineer—in May 2011. The operation was claimed by “al-Qa`ida in the Lands Beyond the Sahel”—a name that reflected the vision of Belmokhtar and his Malian brother-in-law and MUJAO spokesperson, Oumar Ould Hamaha, to expand their zone of operations “throughout the entire Sahara” to Nigeria.[31] Boko Haram’s denial of this kidnapping was likely related to Shekau’s feud over control of funding with Abu Muhammed.[32]

As a result of the feud, Boko Haram reportedly informed on Abu Muhammed’s shura (council) to the Nigerian security forces, who killed Abu Muhammed and several shura members in Kaduna on March 7, 2012, and uncovered the mortally wounded British and Italian hostages in Sokoto.[33] In addition, this information led security forces to the location of a German engineer who was kidnapped by a Mauritanian-led AQIM cell in Kano in January 2012, which was broken up in May 2012, and to Kambar, who was killed in Kano in August 2012.[34] Other militants connected to Abu Muhammed’s shura, including Kabiru Sokoto and Habibu Bama, were also arrested or killed in 2012.[35]

Due to the break-up of Abu Muhammed’s shura, the three main Nigerian leaders in Boko Haram’s network were Shekau in Borno, and al-Barnawi and Nur in the Middle Belt and Kano.

Local Defections and Ansaru’s Formation
While Shekau feuded with other factions, there was also growing local discontent with Shekau. In July 2011, a new group called the Yusufiya Islamic Movement (YIM)[36] released flyers in Borno “distinguishing” the YIM from “evil” Boko Haram, showing concern for the deaths of civilians, and proposing “reconciliation” with the government.[37] The YIM, however, may have been forced out of Borno by Shekau’s killing of defectors and resurfaced as part of Ansaru after Shekau ordered attacks in Kano on January 20, 2012, which killed nearly 200 people, mostly Muslims.[38] Within weeks of the attack, Shekau fled to Gao, northern Mali, which was then governed by MUJAO, after information gleaned from the arrest of one of Shekau’s “new recruits” led security forces to his hideout in Kano.[39]

On January 26, 2012, Ansaru released flyers in Kano announcing its “public formation” and saying it was a “humane” alternative to Boko Haram that would only target the Nigerian government and Christians in “self-defense.”[40] Subsequent Arabic-language Ansaru videos in June 2012 dubbed in Hausa and English and statements to Kaduna-based Desert Herald showed Ansaru employed a pan-West African narrative similar to Mamman Nur and MUJAO.[41] Ansaru also displayed the “setting sun” logo of AQIM’s predecessor before 2007, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), whose commanders included Droukdel, Belmokhtar, al-Barnawi, Kambar, Oumar Ould Hamaha and other future MUJAO leaders.[42] Like the YIM, Ansaru condemned Boko Haram’s killing of Muslim civilians and defectors. In line with Droukdel, Ansaru demanded revenge for the “Christian government’s” violence against Muslims in the Middle Belt, while Ansaru’s charter checked the power of its amir to prevent the emergence of another Shekau.[43]

Ansaru’s first high-profile operations included a prison break in Abuja in November 2012, kidnapping a French engineer in Katsina in December 2012, an ambush on Mali-bound Nigerian troops in Kogi in January 2013, and kidnapping and killing seven foreign engineers in Bauchi in February 2013.[44] Ansaru justified the operations as retaliation for the French-led intervention in Mali and “Western atrocities” in Afghanistan.[45] These operations and justifications carried the “signature” of al-Barnawi, who previously carried out kidnappings with Belmokhtar. Moreover, an Ansaru militant interviewed by the New York Times in 2013 claimed that al-Barnawi was Ansaru’s leader.[46]

Ansaru, therefore, likely represented the revival of Nigerian GSPC militants in Kano. It enjoyed the parentage of Droukdel via Kambar and Nur ideologically, and Belmokhtar via al-Barnawi operationally, combined with resentment toward Shekau of defectors who, like the GSPC, did not tolerate the killing of innocent Muslim civilians.[47] In contrast to the grassroots base of Boko Haram in Borno, Kano was suitable for Ansaru’s internationalist militants because Kano was the hub for funding from al-Qa`ida in Pakistan for the training of Nigerian militants in the mid-2000s when Muhammad Yusuf and his deputies were sending followers to the Sahel and Afghanistan.[48] Kano also hosted AQIM operatives like Adam Kambar, the AQIM cell that kidnapped the German engineer on the same day as Ansaru’s formation in January 2012, and the AQIM-trained accomplices of Mamman Nur in the UN Headquarters bombing.[49] Moreover, the city was the base for regional deputies under Yusuf who had a “global network” and later became suspects in the Federal Police Headquarters bombing in June 2011.[50] In 2013, there were still anonymous factions in Kano that opposed Shekau’s leadership, supported negotiations with the government, targeted “Western” interests—such as anti-polio non-governmental organization workers—and carried out sophisticated attacks on Christian targets.[51]

If al-Barnawi and Nur are among Ansaru’s leaders, their refusal to show their faces or issue individual statements is consistent with Ansaru militants, who are veiled in Ansaru videos and photos and use pseudonyms.

Al-Barnawi’s Renewed Role in Boko Haram
Despite al-Barnawi’s suspected role in Ansaru, there is circumstantial evidence to suggest that al-Barnawi also operates with Boko Haram. First, Shekau promoted one of al-Barnawi’s deputies, Habibu Yusuf (“Assalafi”), to lead Boko Haram operations in Sokoto in 2012.[52] The Nigerian government’s “most wanted” list, released in November 2012, included al-Barnawi and Assalafi as the first and second ranking members in Shekau’s shura.

Second, only since the French-led intervention in northern Mali in February 2013 has Boko Haram’s new “special kidnapping squad” taken hostage dozens of government officials and their female family members in Borno and released them for imprisoned militants and ransoms that fund more operations.[53] If al-Barnawi’s kidnapping squad is taking hostages and Boko Haram is providing them with safe haven, this would resemble the agreement al-Barnawi’s trainee, Abu Muhammed, made with Shekau in 2011 for Boko Haram to provide cover for his kidnappings before that cooperation was undermined by their feud over funding.[54]

Third, the money Boko Haram received in ransom for the release of a seven-member French family kidnapped in northern Cameroon in February 2013 may override any grievances between al-Barnawi and Shekau over Shekau’s feud with Abu Muhammed. While the kidnapping of the French family was not claimed by Ansaru, it was distinctly characteristic of Ansaru to kidnap foreigners, especially an engineer (the father of the family), operate outside of Nigeria’s borders, speak Arabic and justify the kidnapping as revenge for France’s “war on Islam” in Mali, demand millions of dollars in ransom and the release of imprisoned militants, and negotiate not with the Nigerian government like Boko Haram, but with the highest levels of the Cameroonian government.[55] It is likely that Ansaru transferred the family from northern Cameroon to Boko Haram in Borno, where they were later released for $3.14 million and in exchange for 19 Boko Haram prisoners in Cameroon.[56]

Fourth, since the French-led intervention in Mali, Ansaru has claimed no attacks, except for one Ansaru militant who appeared in a video in which Belmokhtar and MUJAO claimed suicide bombings at two French mines in Niger in May 2013.[57] The intervention led to the elimination of key couriers connecting Ansaru to MUJAO, the killing of AQIM’s southern commander, Abu Zeid, who possibly trained some Ansaru militants, and the retreat of Belmokhtar.[58] Ansaru is likely isolated from its Sahelian networks and has a weakened network in northwestern Nigeria due to the demise of Abu Muhammed’s shura, so Ansaru may be able to operate more effectively with Boko Haram in Borno and northern Cameroon. At the same time, Shekau’s shura was depleted when Nigerian security forces killed Assalafi in March 2013, his successor in April 2013, and Shekau’s shura’s fourth and fifth ranking members in the lead-up to and during the state of emergency.[59] Shekau could benefit from Ansaru’s Sahelian connections, regionally diverse membership and experienced militants to train new Boko Haram recruits, smuggle weapons into Borno and carry out his latest threats to launch “retaliatory” attacks in Cameroon and the oil-rich Niger Delta.[60]

The reconciliation process between Ansaru militants and Boko Haram may have begun in Gao, Mali, where Shekau, Belmokhtar, MUJAO and Boko Haram and Ansaru militants were reportedly based or seen in 2012.[61] In November 2012, for example, an Arabic-language video posted on the Ana al-Muslim network featured Shekau for the first time in a desert with armed militants offering “glad tidings to soldiers of the Islamic State of Mali” and opening with a narration praising Ansaru’s attack on a prison that freed Boko Haram militants in Abuja three days earlier.[62] Subsequent Boko Haram training videos in March 2013 also for the first time opened with photos of al-Shabab leaders, had a higher quality that appeared similar to Ansaru’s videos, were uploaded on popular al-Qa`ida online forums instead of YouTube, and featured a mid-level commander in Ansaru’s network, Mummodo Abu Fatima. Fatima is a specialist in suicide operations, and he claimed the Federal Police Headquarters attack in June 2011.[63] He also told Desert Herald in June 2012 that Boko Haram and Ansaru have different interpretations of Islam but may cooperate in the future.[64]

The cooperation between Boko Haram and kidnapping specialists in Ansaru was confirmed when Boko Haram’s intermediary to Agence France-Presse said the kidnapping of a French priest in northern Cameroon in November 2013 was “coordinated with Ansaru.”[65] The priest, like the French family, was taken to Borno and exchanged one month later for a weapons smuggler that Cameroonian President Biya freed from prison in Cameroon.[66]

Mamman Nur’s Status
While it is probable that Shekau and al-Barnawi are cooperating, Boko Haram’s future trajectory may depend on Mamman Nur. Due to Nur’s ideological influence on Ansaru and operational connections to AQIM, al-Shabab and the late Kambar, Nur may be the “Boko Haram” leader communicating with AQIM, al-Shabab, al-Qa`ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in Pakistan and other al-Qa’ida affiliates.[67] Al-Barnawi has connections to Belmokhtar and MUJAO in the Sahel, but it is unclear whether al-Barnawi has Nur’s ability to connect to formal al-Qa`ida affiliates like AQIM and al-Shabab. Al-Barnawi, therefore, may be unable to unite Boko Haram with al-Qa`ida in the way Shekau sought since his first overture to al-Qa`ida in July 2010 and his more recent call after the state of emergency for “brethren” in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria to join “jihad” in Nigeria, to which no al-Qa`ida affiliate responded.[68]

Nur and Ansaru are likely still in good standing with al-Barnawi, whose kidnappings rarely harm Muslim civilians, but not necessarily with Shekau. Ansaru, for example, sent “greetings” to al-Barnawi’s longtime co-kidnapper, Belmokhtar, and condemned the Egyptian military’s coup against Mohamed Morsi—as did AQIM and Belmokhtar. Yet in April and September 2013, Ansaru issued its first statements specifically concerning Borno, which condemned Boko Haram’s killing of civilians in attacks that Shekau claimed in Baga and Benisheikh as well as its wanton destruction of churches in Borno and “misunderstanding of the goals of Shari’a.”[69]

As a Cameroonian, Nur may also have played a role in negotiations with the Cameroonian government after Ansaru “coordinated” the hostage-takings with Boko Haram in northern Cameroon. In addition, Nur may be the highest-ranking AQIM-connected militant in Ansaru’s network.

Abubakar Shekau, Khalid al-Barnawi and Mamman Nur are the three most influential leaders in Boko Haram’s network.

Nur is connected to al-Qa`ida affiliates in Africa and is an operational and ideological leader. He likely cooperates with al-Barnawi and Ansaru militants now in Boko Haram, but opposes Shekau’s style of leadership in Borno.[70] Nur, therefore, was likely based in Kano with former followers of Muhammad Yusuf, who were dissatisfied with Shekau and have an internationalist outlook. Nur could, however, become less relevant because some of his key contacts to AQIM, al-Shabab and al-Qa`ida core are dead or in prison, and al-Barnawi’s suspected reintegration with Shekau may isolate Nur in Kano.[71]

Khalid al-Barnawi is regionally connected, but unless he cooperates with Boko Haram he will lack grassroots support in Nigeria because he operated for years in the Sahel and has few religious credentials. Al-Barnawi is likely willing to carry out kidnappings with Ansaru, Boko Haram, MUJAO, AQIM or any other militant group regardless of ideology. He may have drifted from Ansaru toward Boko Haram or formed new cells under Shekau, similar to how Belmokhtar unilaterally “drifted” from AQIM’s central leadership in favor of “for-profit” kidnappings and smuggling.[72]

Shekau is a divisive leader, but has legitimacy because he was Yusuf’s deputy and remained close to grassroots followers in Borno. He likely retains a core group of loyalists because many militants who opposed him, such as the YIM and Ansaru, already defected or were killed by Boko Haram, leaving only the more ruthless and indoctrinated militants with Shekau.

If Shekau is killed, a scenario could emerge where al-Barnawi takes over Boko Haram operationally and Nur takes over ideologically, but this is unlikely because both al-Barnawi and Nur lack sufficient grassroots networks in Borno, where Boko Haram carries out more than 80% of its attacks.[73] Although Nur was close to Muhammad Yusuf and al-Barnawi is a skilled kidnapper with Sahelian connections, Shekau’s current sub-commanders, whose aliases are not revealed publicly but are shared with Boko Haram internally, would likely compete to succeed Shekau.

At the same time, Shekau’s death could create opportunities for the Nigerian government to negotiate with former YIM, Ansaru or Kano-based militants, whose current efforts to maintain dialogue are irrelevant as long as Shekau is opposed to reconciliation. Boko Haram’s informing on rival factions to security forces and negotiations with the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments over hostages suggest, however, that Boko Haram is not as “faceless” as the Nigerian government portrays, and that it is possible to communicate with Boko Haram’s leaders.

This leadership analysis also leads to the conclusion that Ansaru, with its most recent operations in Niger, Cameroon and possibly Central African Republic, now functions like an “external operations unit” in its self-declared area of operations in “Black Africa” in a way that separates Ansaru from Boko Haram in Borno and avoids conflict with the group.[74] The organizational structures of Boko Haram and Ansaru are permeable, which will allow mid-level militants to operate with Boko Haram, Ansaru and MUJAO as long as they do not run afoul of Shekau.[75] The regionalization of Boko Haram and Ansaru, with hostage-takings of wealthy individuals and weapons smuggling in Nigeria and Cameroon, also risks creating a multi-million dollar “terrorism economy” in the southern Sahel that fuels corruption and raises tensions between neighboring countries and the region’s Muslims and Christians.

Jacob Zenn is an analyst of African and Eurasian Affairs for The Jamestown Foundation and consultant on countering violent extremism, international law of freedom of association, and socio-cultural analysis for geospatial visualization. Mr. Zenn speaks French and Arabic and carried out field research on smuggling networks in Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali and Burkina Faso in January 2014.

[1] Boko Haram identifies itself as Jama`at Ahl al-Sunna li al-Da`wa wa al-Jihad, meaning “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad” in Arabic. Boko Haram founder Muhammad Yusuf differed from mainstream Nigerian Islamists by prohibiting Western-style education and service in Nigeria’s secular government.

[2] According to Shekau, killing civilians for the purpose of “conquering and taking their money follows verses of the Qur’an” about ghanima, or spoils of war, that “we take from our enemies in the battle we fight in the name of Allah.” Boko Haram carried out sporadic attacks before Shekau took over leadership of Boko Haram in July 2010, but its first attack after Shekau became leader was on September 7, 2010, when approximately 50 fighters attacked Bauchi prison and freed more than 100 Boko Haram members. See Sani Muhd Sani, “Attack On Bauchi Prison – Boko Haram Frees 721 Inmates,” Leadership, September 8, 2010.

[3] Nigeria’s “Middle Belt,” which includes Kaduna, Jos (Plateau State), and Abuja, is a region of central Nigeria populated by diverse ethnic groups. It is where majority Muslim northern Nigeria and majority Christian southern Nigeria meet and clash, particularly over land use and during election season.

[4] MUJAO was the governing authority in Gao, Mali, in 2012 and early 2013, but has also carried out operations in Timbuktu and Kayes, Mali, Algeria, Niger and Mauritania. See Andrew Lebovich, “Trying to Understand MUJWA,” al-Wasat blog, August 22, 2012.

[5] Belmokhtar’s Katibat al-Mulathimin (Veiled Brigades) announced it merged with MUJAO in August 2013 into a new group called al-Murabitun. Belmokhtar, however, ceded leadership of al-Murabitun to an unnamed commander who reportedly fought against both the Soviets and the United States in Afghanistan. See Bakari Gueye, “Belmokhtar, MUJAO Launch New Jihadist Group,” Magharebia, August 25, 2013.

[6] “How Nur, Shekau Run Boko Haram,” Vanguard, September 3, 2011; “Profile of Nigeria’s Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau,” BBC, June 4, 2013.

[7] “Profile of Nigeria’s Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.”

[8] Takfiri ideology is the practice of declaring other Muslims infidels. In his pre-2009 sermons, Shekau cited Salafists, such as Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Wahhab, to argue that any Muslim who pledged allegiance to the Nigerian flag instead of Islamic symbols or associated with Christians was an infidel. See “Mallam Abubakar Shekau,” YouTube, undated.

[9] Although some reports suggest Nur is Chadian, he is most often described as Cameroonian. The prominent Shaykh Ibrahim Mbombo Mubarak of the Central Mosque in Douala, Cameroon, also said that Nur is Cameroonian. See “Boko Haram Infiltrates Cameroon,”, January 11, 2012.

[10] Nur said, for example, that “replacing the Shari`a from Usman dan Fodio’s jihad” in Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon with the “European secular constitution caused poverty and misery.” During the early 1800s, Usman dan Fodio, a Fulani, led a revolt against the Hausa kingdoms in what is now southern Niger, northern Nigeria and northern Cameroon and subsequently established an Islamic caliphate based in Sokoto. Dan Fodio believed the rulers of the Hausa states were mixing Islam with aspects of traditional religions, which is a practice he wanted to eliminate. For details, see Jacob Zenn and Atta Barkindo, “Religious Roots of Boko Haram,” Council on Foreign Relations, May 9, 2013; Shaykh Muhammad Yusuf, “Tarihin Musulmai (History of Muslims),” YouTube, undated; Jide Ajani, “UN House Blast: Mastermind, Nur, Declared Wanted,” Vanguard, September 1, 2011.

[11] “Yusufiya” means the “followers of Yusuf.”

[12] “Boko Haram Leader, Yusuf, Killed,” Vanguard, July 30, 2009; Jacob Zenn, “Boko Haram’s Radical Ideologue: An In-Depth Look at Northern Nigeria’s Abu Shekau,” Militant Leadership Monitor, September 1, 2011.

[13] Droukdel also praised “Brother Farouk,” the 20-year-old Nigerian who attempted to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009 on behalf of al-Qa`ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Al-Qa`ida in Iraq (AQI) was the only other al-Qa`ida affiliate to condemn the killing of Yusuf. See “Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb: Condolence, Support and Comfort for our Brothers and People in Nigeria 20/08/09,” available at; “North Africa Qaeda Offers to Help Nigerian Muslims,” Reuters, February 1, 2010.

[14] Al-Barnawi’s nisba of Barnawi (the Bornoan) indicates that either he or his descendants are from Borno. A nisba identifies a person’s place of origin, tribal affiliation or ancestry. The author interviewed a Mauritanian with contacts to AQIM members who said al-Barnawi was the person who ordered the murders of more than 10 Mauritanian soldiers in Lemgheity, Mauritania, in a Belmokhtar-led operation with the GSPC in 2006.

[15] After his arrest, Kabiru Sokoto reportedly said that “the leader of Boko Haram, Imam Abubakar Shekau, is calling the shots from Borno State, while another key strategist, Abu Muhammed, is in charge of North Central [Kaduna].” See “Kabiru Sokoto Names Boko Haram’s Leaders,” The Nation, February 14, 2012; “Exclusif…Mort des deux otages occidentaux tués au Nigeria: Une source d’AQMI livre quelques details,” Agence Nouakchott d’Information, March 10, 2012; “Suspects Charged in Nigeria Bombing,” al-Jazira, December 25, 2011; “Taking the Hostage Road,” Africa Confidential, March 15, 2013.

[16] The U.S. government subsequently listed both al-Barnawi and Kambar as specially designated terrorists. See “Barnawi, Kambar: Qaeda-linked Militants with Boko Haram Ties,” Agence France-Presse, June 21, 2012; “Revealed: Wanted Suspect Arrested, Released in 2007,” This Day, September 2, 2011; “Five Nigerians on Terror Charges,” BBC, November 27, 2009.

[17] “JTF Claims ‘Global Terrorist’ Kambar Killed,” Vanguard, June 7, 2013; “Letter Dated 12 July 2013 from the Chair of the Security Council Committee Pursuant to Resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) Concerning Somalia and Eritrea Addressed to the President of the Security Council,” United Nations, July 12, 2013; Jemaal Oumar, “AQIM Link to Abuja Suicide Bombing,” Magharebia, September 9, 2011.

[18] According to Africa Confidential, Kambar “returned to Nigeria and settled in Kano, where he is said to have received messages from Usama bin Ladin. An Ansaru source who was close to Kambar claims that there was only one intermediary between Ansaru and Bin Ladin, and his then deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, now al-Qa`ida’s leader.” See “Bin Laden Files Show al-Qaida and Taliban Leaders in Close Contact,” Guardian, April 29, 2012; Bashir Adigun, “Nigeria Government Freed Bomb Suspect,” Associated Press, September 1, 2011; “JTF Claims ‘Global Terrorist’ Kambar Killed”; “Taking the Hostage Road”; “UN Office Bombing: FG Seeks to Reopen Case, Plans to Amend Charges,” Nigerian Tribune, January 23, 2014.

[19] Shekau may have been misidentified and released from prison or “rescued” by other high-level officials with Boko Haram connections who paid for Shekau to be released. Shekau claimed in a video that he was rescued by “fellow believers.” See “Borno Shivers Over Threats of Boko Haram’s Return,” Sunday Trust, July 4, 2013; “The Boko Haram Terror Chief Who Came Back from the Dead,” France 24, January 13, 2012.

[20] Da`wa in Arabic and Hausa means preaching for the purpose of proselytizing. “Jihad” means holy war for Islam or self-discipline, but Muhammad Yusuf rejected the latter notion, saying that Western countries brainwashed Muslims who were educated in the West to believe that jihad meant self-discipline and not holy war. Jama`at Ahl al-Sunna li al-Da`wa wa al-Jihad (Sunni Group for Preaching and Jihad) may reflect Yusuf’s “preaching” and Shekau’s “jihad.” See “Tahirin Musilminai” (History of Muslims), YouTube, undated.

[21] “Periodical Review July 2010 – No. 2,” ICT’s Jihadi Websites Monitoring Group, August 2010.

[22] Ajani.

[23] Ibid.

[24] The investigation of the UN attack revealed that “Mamman Nur, a notorious Boko Haram element with al-Qaida links who returned recently from Somalia, worked in concert with the two suspects in masterminding the attack on the United Nations building in Abuja.” It was later revealed that one of the two Algerian-trained operatives in the attack was Babagana Ismail Kwaljima (also known as Abu Summaya), who was arrested in Kano in 2007 after returning from training with AQIM in Algeria on suspicion of plotting attacks against U.S. targets in Nigeria. The other suspect also trained with AQIM in Algeria. The UN attack in Abuja in 2011 occurred the same day that AQIM attacked Algeria’s premier military academy outside of Algiers. In addition, the two Nigerian suspects who carried out the attack with Nur and the car used in the bombing were traced to the same district in Kano where AQIM-trained Nigerian militants, including Kambar, were arrested in 2007. See John Gambrell, “Nigeria: 2 Suspects Arrested in UN HQ Bombing,” Associated Press, August 31, 2011; “Boko Haram Gets Sponsorship from Algeria, FG Tells Court,” Vanguard, May 10, 2013; “Boko Haram Promises Bloodier Days; Threatens More Attacks On Churches And Government Buildings,” Sahara Reporters, July 19, 2012; Lawan Adamu, “The Untold Story of Kabiru Sokoto,” Daily Trust, February 13, 2012; “I am Alive, Says Abubakar Shekau in New Video,” Vanguard, September 26, 2013.

[25] “Boko Haram Gets Sponsorship from Algeria, FG Tells Court.”

[26] The Christmas Day bombings in Jos in 2010, for example, employed a method never seen before in Nigeria, including more than five bombings on churches in two districts simultaneously. See Charles Obi, “Kabiru Sokoto’s Phone Calls,” Insider Weekly, 2013; “Boko Haram Gets N40million Donation From Algeria,” Sahara Reporters, May 13, 2013; “Arrested Kingpin Opens Up,” Nigerian Tribune, February 13, 2012; “I Belong to Shura Council, not Boko Haram,” Vanguard, July 1, 2013; “Jos: Bombers Linked to Al-Qaeda,” Nigeria Politico, January 1, 2011; Andrew McGregor, “The Mysterious Death In Custody Of Boko Haram Leader Habib Bama,” Terrorism Monitor 10:13 (2012).

[27] “Nigerian Islamists Vow ‘Fiercer’ Attacks,” Agence France-Presse, June 15, 2011; “Madalla Bombing: Kabiru Sokoto Says ‘No Case to Answer,’” Pilot Africa, May 17, 2013.

[28] “How Nur, Shekau Run Boko Haram.”

[29] “Qaqa: Boko Haram is Under Duress, Divided,” ThisDay, February 7, 2012.

[30] Boko Haram spokesman Abu Qaqa reportedly told interrogators after his arrest that “anyone who challenged Boko Haram’s use of violence, including seven recently, are slaughtered in front of their wives and children.” See “Abul Qaqa Confession Shows Bloodletting and Fear as Instruments of Control Within Boko Haram,” Sahara Reporters, February 6, 2012; “UN House: Boko Haram Unveils Suicide Bomber,” This Day, September 19, 2011; “Boko Haram: Six Killed in Factional Clash,” ThisDayLive, February 3, 2012.

[31] Hamaha said Belmokhtar and he were “leaving behind AQIM’s appellation to the Maghreb region (northwest Africa) but remaining under al-Qa’ida” and “enlarging our zone of operations throughout the entire Sahara.” See Baba Ahmed, “Leader of al-Qaida Unit in Mali Quits AQIM,” Associated Press, December 3, 2012.

[32] Boko Haram spokesman Abu Qaqa reportedly said, “In the case of the 41 million naira ($250,000) there was acrimony because they did not quite know how the money was spent and nobody dared ask questions for fear of Shekau, who could pronounce death as his punishment.” Kabiru Sokoto reportedly said in trial that “there is a group in Algeria…that sends money to us and also told us how they spend the money…the money made Boko Haram to split into two because of the way it was shared.” As Abu Muhammed and al-Barnawi operated with AQIM, they were also most likely accustomed to AQIM’s meticulousness with “expense reports” and transparency, unlike Shekau. See “Exclusif…Mort des deux otages occidentaux tués au Nigeria: Une source d’AQMI livre quelques details”; “Boko Haram Deny Kidnapping, Killings of Sokoto Hostages,” ThisDayLive, March 9, 2012.

[33] “Horror in Sokoto – Al-Qaeda-Funded Group Killed Hostages,” Vanguard, March 11, 2012; Yusuf Alli, “Kabiru Sokoto Names Boko Haram’s Leaders,” The Nation, February 14, 2012; “Power Tussle in Boko Haram Led to Sect Leader’s Arrest,” Leadership, March 26, 2012.

[34] The German engineer, like the British and Italian hostages in Sokoto, was shot and killed during the rescue operation. See Aminu Abubakar, “German Hostage Killed in Nigeria During Rescue Bid,” Agence France-Presse, May 31, 2012; “Boko Haram Looks to Mali,” Africa Confidential, November 30, 2012; “Power Tussle in Boko Haram Led to Sect Leader’s Arrest,” Leadership, March 26, 2012; “Nigeria: Taking the Hostage Road”; Aminu Abubakar, “Nigeria Detains 5 with ‘Al Qaeda-links’ over German Kidnap,” Agence France-Presse, March 27, 2012; Lawal Danuma, “Kidnapped German Killed in JTF Raid,” Daily Trust, May 31, 2012.

[35] Kabiru Sokoto said at his trial that he was not a part of Boko Haram, and that “Shekau is a leader of Boko Haram but not the shura council and it is not true that when I escaped from police custody that I spoke to Shekau on the phone.” See “Northern Politicians Get Jittery as Kabir Sokoto is Rearrested,”, February 12, 2012; “Catholic Church Bombing: I Know the Perpetrators – Kabiru Sokoto,” Vanguard, May 11, 2013.

[36] Although it was short-lived, the YIM was deemed credible by the Nigerian media and Borno’s population and its message and method of delivering flyers was consistent with the way ex-members of Boko Haram would communicate. The flyers said, “We call on this evil group [Boko Haram] to desist, failing which we shall have no option but to expose and hunt them…We therefore distance our group from all the bombings targeted at civilians…This is necessary in the light of genuine concern by individuals and group to the mass suffering of innocent citizens caught in the crossfire between our members and the Nigerian troops.”

[37] Daniel Idonor et al., “Boko Haram Sect Splits,” Vanguard, July 21, 2011.

[38] Boko Haram warned it would attack Kano for months before January 2012, and Shekau justified the attacks in a video and text messages and flyers distributed in Kano, saying the attack was retaliation for the security forces imprisoning Boko Haram militants and their wives.

[39] “Nigeria Arrests Boko Haram ‘Militants’ in Kano,” BBC, December 19, 2011; “Boko Haram National Leader, Abubakar Shekau, Narrowly Escapes Arrest,” Premium Times, April 6, 2012; Aminu Abubakar; “Boko Haram Leader (Shekau) Escapes Arrest In Kano – Wife Arrested,” Nigerian Tribune, March 5, 2012; Udumu Kalu, “Al-Qaeda-Boko Haram Links in Kano Since 2009,” Vanguard, December 24, 2011; “Shekau Leading Boko Haram from the Shadows,” Vanguard, January 28, 2012; Kingsley Omonobi, “Boko Haram Leader Shekau Shot, Escapes to Mali,” Vanguard, January 19, 2013.

[40] Shekau, in contrast, ordered attacks on Nigerian targets that Boko Haram perceived as “Western interests,” such as English language schools, churches, and the secular and democratic Nigerian government, and Shekau focuses his statements more on Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan or his “masters,” such as President Barack Obama.

[41] Ansaru claims it fights to restore the “lost dignity” of the Sokoto Caliphate, which was founded in 1804 by the Fulani shaykh Usman dan Fodio in northern Cameroon, northern Nigeria, and southern Niger, and lasted until the United Kingdom and France colonized the region and introduced Western education and Christianity in the 19th century. See “MOHD Nur & Yusuf.3gp,” YouTube, undated.

[42] Jacob Zenn, “Ansaru Logo Gives Hints to Boko Haram and Transnational Links,” Council on Foreign Relations, June 21, 2013.

[43] An Ansaru statement said, “There were some brothers who are under the umbrella of [Boko Haram] who executed a brother who was Muslim and a jihadist without any justification except that he disagreed with the group’s activities and showed the desire to be a part of Ansaru.” Ansaru’s charter therefore stated that an amir heads Ansaru’s hierarchy, but acts in accordance with a shura. Major decisions, such as the opening of a new battlefront, negotiations with the government, or the establishment of international relationships must be taken in concert with the shura, whose ruling is binding on the amir. See “Another Islamic Sect Emerges to Counter Boko Haram?” Desert Herald, June 2, 2012; “The Charter of Ansaru,”, April 13, 2013.

[44] For details on these attacks, see Jacob Zenn, “Cooperation or Competition: Boko Haram and Ansaru After the Mali Intervention,” CTC Sentinel 6:3 (2013).

[45] Ibid.; “Islamist Group Ansaru ‘Kidnapped’ French Man,” BBC, December 24, 2012; “Islamists Ansaru Claim Attack on Mali-Bound Nigeria Troops,” Reuters, January 20, 2013; Suzan Edeh, “Bauchi Deadly Kidnapping: Gaping Bullet Holes in Expatriates’ Live Camp,” Vanguard, February 23, 2013.

[46] Adam Nossiter, “New Threat in Nigeria as Militants Split Off,” New York Times, April 23, 2013.

[47] Ansaru’s rejection of Boko Haram’s killing of civilians, in particular, resembles the way the GSPC broke from the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in Algeria in the 1990s in response to the violence perpetrated by the GIA against Algerian civilians. In contrast to the GIA, the GSPC pledged to avoid attacks on civilians inside Algeria. According to AQIM research specialist Andrew Lebovich, “it is striking that, given the aspirational and possibly operational closeness between Ansaru and AQIM, Ansaru’s stated justification for its split from Boko Haram was largely the same as that of the GSPC in leaving the GIA.” See also Abu Mundhir al-Shinqiti, “Question-and-Answer with Abu-al-Mundhir al-Shinqiti: Question Number 7618: Is it Permissible to Target a Regime-Sponsored School That Recruits its Students to the Army After They Complete Their Studies?” Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, July 18, 2013; Andrew Lebovich, “Analyzing Foreign Influence and Jihadi Networks in Nigeria,” al-Wasat blog, January 31, 2013.

[48] A former Nigerian State Security Service officer confirmed in 2012 that Muhammed Ashafa was a courier between al-Qa`ida and the “Nigerian Taliban” and that the head of the al-Qa`ida network for West Africa, Mallam Adnan Ibrahim, who lived in Kano as late as 2012, sent Ashafa to Pakistan in 2003 and 2004 with another Nigerian to meet al-Qa`ida representatives. See “Boko Haram Scare For Nigeria’s Police Boss,” PM News Nigeria, July 23, 2011; Ikechukwu Nnochiri, “Danger Alert: Al-Qaeda Boss in West Africa Lives in Kano,”, April 8, 2012; “Nigerian ‘Trained in Afghanistan,’” BBC, September 2, 2009.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Such as the simultaneous car bombings in Kano’s Christian Quarter in July 2013 that killed more than 30 people. See Taye Obateur, “Boko Haram Leader, Yusuf, Killed,” Vanguard, July 30, 2009; Ademola Oni, “20 Die in Sabon Gari, Kano Bomb Blasts – 42 B’Haram Suspects Arrested in Lagos, Ogun,” Punch, July 30, 2013; David Smith, “Polio Workers in Nigeria Shot Dead,” Guardian, February 8, 2013; “Leader Of Boko Haram Faction in Official Talks With The Nigerian Gov’t Claims Responsibility for Deadly Kano Bombings, Says Abubakar Shekau Still Alive,” Sahara Reporters, August 4, 2013.

[52] “Boko Haram Looks to Mali.”

[53] “Gunmen Kidnap Senior Lecturer in Maiduguri,” Vanguard, February 24, 2013; David Molomo, “Dead or Alive? Customs Officer, Wife, Five Kids, Cousin Missing for 22 Days,” Sun News, April 29, 2013; Kareem Ogori, “Gunmen Kidnap Ex-Borno LG Boss, Demand N50m,” Blueprint, April 8, 2013; Njadvara Musa, “Gunmen Kidnap Ex-Council Chairman, Reject N10m Ransom,” The Guardian [Lagos], April 13, 2013; Maina Maina, “Gunmen Kidnap DPO in Bama, Set Town on Fire in Borno,” Daily Post, April 25, 2013; Yahaya Ibrahim, “Borno Water Board GM Kidnapped,” Daily Trust, April 29, 2013; “Kidnapped Policeman Killed by Abductors in Borno,” Vanguard, May 1, 2013; Ola Audu, “How Boko Haram Turned to Kidnapping to Raise Funds in Borno,” Premium Times, May 20, 2013; Yusuf Alli, “Boko Haram Kidnaps 92-yr-old ex-Minister Ali Monguno,” The Nation, May 4, 2013.

[54] According to Agence France-Presse, “Under the alliance, [Abu] Muhammed and his group were to carry out abductions for ransom, part of which would go toward financing Boko Haram operations. Boko Haram would in turn provide security cover for Muhammed’s group.” See “Barnawi, Kambar: Qaeda-linked Militants with Boko Haram Ties.”

[55] According to French President François Hollande, Cameroonian President Biya was “personally involved” in the negotiations for the release of the French priest and “played an important role” in securing the release of the French family.

[56] The kidnappers’ second and third statements about the French family (some of which were not released publicly in the media) were delivered in Shekau’s name and distinctly like Shekau to demand that the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments release Boko Haram militants and their wives from prison in return for the hostages.

[57] “Group Linked to Algeria Gas Plant Attack Claims Niger Raids,” LeMag, May 24, 2013.

[58] The key couriers included, among others, Mokhtar Ibrahim and Abdullah Abdullah. See “Judge’s Absence Stalls Trial of Mali-based Boko Haram Suspect,” Premium Times, May 8, 2013; Nossiter.

[59] Mohammed Zangina, the commander for Kaduna, who may have replaced Abu Muhammed, was killed in January 2013, and Mummodu Bama, who was an expert in bomb-making and anti-aircraft weapons, was killed in August 2013. Other non-shura commanders who were eliminated include Ali Jalingo and Ibrahim Bashir. See Michael Olugbode, “JTF Kills Top Boko Haram Commander in Combined Operation,” This Day, April 28, 2013.

[60] “Boko Haram Chief Threatens Attacks in Nigeria Oil Region,” Agence France-Presse, February 20, 2014; “Boko Haram Met en Garde le Cameroun,” Le Septentrion, February 17, 2014.

[61] According to journalists in Mali in 2012, Nigerians (reportedly in Boko Haram) were in Gao, and Nigerian intelligence reports stated that by April 2012 Shekau left Kano and went to Gao. Shekau’s April 2012 video was his first with Sahelian-style veiled militants and in Arabic. In a Boko Haram video of Shekau released in November 2012, the opening narration praised Ansaru’s prison break operation that freed Boko Haram members in Abuja three days earlier, which is evidence of possible reintegration, and the video was posted on an al-Qa`ida forum (not YouTube or delivered to Agence France-Presse, which Boko Haram regularly uses). See Abubakar Shekau, “Glad Tidings, O Soldiers of Allah,” Ana al-Muslim network, November 29, 2012. The video also featured Shekau standing in a desert, possibly in Mali, with other armed militants issuing “glad tidings” to the “brothers and shaykhs in the Islamic Maghreb” and “Soldiers of the Islamic State of Mali.” See “Dozens of Boko Haram Help Mali’s Rebel Seize Gao,” Vanguard, April 9, 2012; “Mali – Mokhtar Belmokhtar, un des chefs d’Aqmi, est à Gao,”, July 4, 2012; “Exclusive: The Last Days of Shekau, Boko Haram Leader,” Vanguard, August 25, 2013; “Boko Haram Leaders Flee Hot Mali to Nigeria,” The Nation, January 31, 2013; Jacob Zenn, “Nigerians in Gao: Was Boko Haram Really Active in Northern Mali?” African Arguments, January 26, 2014.

[62] Abubakar Shekau, “Glad Tidings, O Soldiers of Allah,” November 29, 2012. Two days after appearing on popular jihadist websites, the video was posted to the Ana al-Muslim network website.

[63] Mummodu Abu Fatima was in a Boko Haram video with Shekau and four of his sub-commanders in March 2013, but the version Boko Haram released publicly edited out the part showing the names of Shekau’s commanders and the “highlight clips” of them training. The author has seen the clips showing Abu Fatima and other commanders, which Boko Haram may have intended for an internal, rather than a public, audience. It was filmed in a forested area resembling Borno’s Sambisa Forest in contrast to Shekau’s November 2012 video, where he was in a desert, possibly in Mali. See “World Exclusive: Another Islamic Sect Emerges…to Counter Boko Haram?”; “Boko Haram: We Did Not Declare Ceasefire – Shekau,” Vanguard, March 4, 2013; “Police Headquarters Bombing: IG had Meeting with Bomber,” Point Blank News, June 16, 2011.

[64] Ibid.

[65] “Boko Haram Holding Kidnapped French Priest,” Vanguard, November 15, 2013.

[66] Unsubstantiated reports in January 2013 suggested Boko Haram may also have been paid $12.5 million for the French priest. See Guibai Guitama, “Cameroun – Libération du père Georges Vandenbeusch: Le négociateur désigné de Boko Haram réclame son argent,” L’Oeil du Sahel, January 6, 2014.

[67] An al-Qa`ida “conference call” reportedly included representatives from Boko Haram, the Pakistani Taliban, al-Qa`ida in Iraq, al-Qa`ida in the Islamic Maghreb, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). See “Al Qaeda Conference Call Intercepted by U.S.,” Daily Beast, August 7, 2013.

[68] “Boko Haram Denies Losing Nigeria Battle,” al-Jazira, May 30, 2013.

[69] “Resolution to the Two Groups Mulathamin and MUJAO and their Unifying in the Murabitun with a New Amir,” Agence Nouakchott Internationale, August 22, 2013; “Ansar al-Muslimeen Leader Criticizes Boko Haram, Greets al-Qaeda Officials in Eid al-Adha Speech,” SITE Institute, November 15, 2013; “Ansar al-Muslimeen Leader Criticizes Boko Haram, Greets al-Ansar al-Muslimeen Condemns Massacre in Baga, Calls for Revenge Qaeda Officials in Eid al-Adha Speech,” SITE Institute, May 3, 2013; “Ansar al-Muslimeen Denies Targeting Civilians, Calls for Revolution,” SITE Institute, May 13, 2013; “AQIM Official Sees Foreign Role in Morsis’ Ouster,” SITE Institute, July 7, 2013.

[70] Nur may follow the principles outlined in documents uncovered from AQIM after the French-led intervention in Mali in 2013, which were written by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980s, when Ayman al-Zawahiri was its leader. The documents said, “even if the amir is a very bad person, yet is trying to fight non-Muslims, we should work with him and join him…the second-in-command should not become an amir unless the original amir has died or suffered a lethal injury that prevents him from performing his duties. The second-in-command should not fight the amir over leadership…If this is not possible, he should try to find another front or a good amir and fight under his command.” See Abdul-Kader bin Abdul-Aziz, “The Invitation for Monotheism,” series 3, The Complete Guide to Prepare Yourself for Jihad for the Sake of Allah, undated.

[71] Nur may be “Muhammed Marwana,” who claimed to be second-in-command to Shekau in January 2013, when he discussed his involvement in negotiations with the Nigerian government after Yusuf’s death in 2009, and in August 2013 wore a veil and claimed the attacks in Kano’s Christian Quarter that killed more than 30 people. See “Another Boko Haram Figure Speaks, Ruling Out Dialogue With Nigeria Gov’t,” Sahara Reporters, January 29, 2013; “Leader Of Boko Haram Faction in Official Talks With The Nigerian Gov’t Claims Responsibility For Deadly Kano Bombings, Says Abubakar Shekau Still Alive,” Sahara Reporters, August 4, 2013.

[72] “Algeria: ‘Laaouar’ Quits AQIM,” Magharebia, December 4, 2012; Madjiara Nako, “Chad Says it Killed Algeria Hostage Mastermind in Mali,” Reuters, March 3, 2013; “Boko Haram Militants Shows Off Weapons ‘Captured’ From an Army Baracks,” Sahara TV, April 29, 2013; “Al Qaeda Leaders Sent Scathing Letter to Troublesome Employee,” Associated Press, May 29, 2013.

[73] Jacob Zenn, “Boko Haram’s Abubakar Shekau: Dead Again?” Council on Foreign Relations, August 6, 2013.

[74] For an analysis of possible Ansaru operations in Central African Republic, see Jacob Zenn, “Northern Cameroon Under Threat from Boko Haram and Séléka Militants,” Terrorism Monitor 12:1 (2014).

[75] See the case of Mummodu Abu Fatima, for example.

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