The recently toppled leader of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has engaged the newly-appointed leader of the group, Abu Musab al-Barnawi, in a war of words over the decision of The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, to appoint Mr. al-Barnawi.
Mr. Shekau, who broke his long silence on Thursday, released an audio tape in which he spoke in both Arabic and Hausa languages, saying he was responding to the announcement of Al-Barnawi as Boko Haram leader.
Mr. Shekau said although he still had no doubt about the integrity of ISIS to which he had earlier pledged allegiance, he however, added that he was aware of “detractors”.
Mr. Shekau said he had earlier written a 10-page letter exposing the “detractors” as “Murjiites” (AMurjite doctrine in Islam refers to an ideology that states that only God has the authority to judge who is a true Muslim and who is not, and that Muslims should consider all other Muslims as part of the community”.
Most Boko Haram leaders, such as Mamman Nur and Mr. Al-Barnawi, who have begun to oppose Mr. Shekau, accuse Mr. Shekau of deviating from the original cause of the group. They say Mr. Shekau has made the group’s fight about himself.
Most of them want Boko Haram to stop killing Muslims, women and children. They also want the group to stop bombing Mosques, markets and other public places.
Mr. Shekau, in his tape, said he “opposed them by saying that one cannot stay in the domain of the infidels without showing his opposition to the prevailing system”.
Mr. Shekau said “it is not possible for a Muslim to profess his faith without kicking against an infidel system”, saying that is the creed of the Boko Haram ideology.
He said he remained strong and in control of “the group”. Also, in a sign showing his rejection of ISIL, to whom he had pledged allegiance in the past, Mr. Shekau said “please, understand that we still exist as a group and we shall not deviate from the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah”.
“We still remain adherents of the Jama’atul Ahlus Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad. May Allah help us accomplish our mission.
“We may be branded as Khawarij, Murjiites or anything, but it doesn’t bother us. Even the Prophet (Muhammad-SAW) was called a mad man by the infidels.
“So, for you to castigate us is not my worry. The point is if I get my acts right as stipulated by the Qur’an, Hadith and exegesis of the Prophet’s companions, then my actions are justified.
“May God help us, May He enable us to act on his behalf. This is our message and, henceforth, we shall not honor any messenger again unless he is honest.
“At the beginning of these exchanges, I was deceived. I was made to articulate my beliefs in writing, but this was rejected.
“There is no problem if a leader is on the right track. We’ll follow him. But if he is going astray we are not with him. The Prophet forbids us from following evil doers.
“We are committed to establishing an Islamic Caliphate and propagating Islam,” he said.
In a swift response, Mr. al-Barnawi released his audio tape in which he reiterated that Mr. Shekau had deviated from the path they had chosen and had been engaged in systematic killing of Boko Haram fighters.
He also accused Mr. Shekau of living a life of luxury, while women and children continue to die of starvation.
He also accused him of starving fighters with ammunition which led to their defeat by the Nigerian armed forces.
Sahara Reporters, who obtained the full audio tape published the full transcript as provided below:
Mr. al-Barnawi’s taped message said Mr. Shekau had violated Islamic tenets by killing fellow Muslims, including members of the terrorist Islamist group, living a life of luxury with his wives, neglecting and starving women and children, and failing to provide food and weapons for insurgent fighters.
“[Shekau] was boasting that if we attempt to escape from his empire his men will kill us. He is a liar. I am not the only one that left, but eight of us left, all kitchen cabinet members. And right now two other top members are on the way to join us. We are all here. The issue of Islam is not personal, there is no sentiment in Islam, and that is why we are here. Nobody can dare us or stop us from it, no matter how he brags. Here we are on our own. Can’t you see how we left your empire? We left women and everything and just left with guns on our shoulders. We would have crushed anyone that stood on our way.
“We said we would not touch anyone but just go on our way to our religion. We will fight for the cause of Allah and work against personalizing Jihad and against unjustifiable killings and shedding of blood. We are out because you came out with your own cassette. We want our people to know proper Islam because Allah in the Quran forbids killings without justification. Just like Allah gave us power to kill infidels, there are those he said we shouldn’t kill without reason.
“In the Quran, Allah forbade Muslims from killing one another…and he also taught against killing in secret. If it is serious punishment, it must be public for people to know and witness it. But once you see killings in secret, there is something fishy and this is what we noticed with Shekau. What he is doing is not Islam. He said we should follow him and we agreed, but we later realized it is another thing and we said no. We have to stick to the Quran and what Allah said, not [follow] someone’s waywardness.
“We have vowed to say the truth. If we will be killed, let us be killed. If we will be eaten, let us be eaten up and if we will be roasted, let us be roasted. We will not leave our fellow brothers in the dark; this message of mine will get to Sambisa Forest. It will get into Shekau’s house. We have agents that will convey the message no matter how he dislikes it.
“Almighty Allah is against killings of Muslims. Allah is saying better heaven and earth fall than innocent soul of a Muslim, but you have Shekau who likes killing our own people. He is always boasting that he will kill, he will kill. Okay, continue to kill, you will also be killed. Who will dwell here forever? Everybody will die. You will also die someday. And there is no one that will die without reaching his day of death. You can see we are here alive, all of us here sitting. Anyone that Allah did not kill you cannot kill him. The same way, you cannot stop anyone Allah willed his death.
“That is why when someone boasts to kill a man, the man asks him, ‘Why are you in a haste?’ The man says, ‘If my time has come, you will not stop me from going.’ There are several verses that forbid killing of a fellow Muslim unjustifiably. Our vow that we will practice Islam is real. That is why we left our parents, homes, our cars and everything and came to this forest. How can we then agree to see you bringing strange ideologies?
“In one of our Shura meetings, someone asked Shekau how he felt about Muslims running away from their own land to the land of the infidels for their own safety. Shekau said [the Muslims] are also infidels and should be killed like the infidels. These people are not infidels, they are Muslims running for their lives, and he insisted that they are infidels and should be killed. Shekau is ignorant of the fact that it is forbidden for a Muslim to be killed after being chased out of Islamic Caliphate to a strange land and [when the Muslim] has not taken part in any conspiracy against Muslims. [Shekau] is ignorant and needs to be taught the rudiments of Islam. Islam is not his creation. Only Allah defines who is a Muslim and who is an infidel. Even if you travel to a foreign land, you have no jurisdiction to say who is who until you have a basis. Anywhere you go you can’t say who is who. You can’t kill and take away people’s properties.
“We fled from him with our religion for good. It is there in the books, when you are not allowed to do Islam you have the liberty to flee and follow what you know is right. Shekau, we did not touch you, don’t touch us. If you touch us we will touch you and we are many against you. We have people in your house and even your present hideout. You don’t know us enough; we are ready for anyone to kill us, even if it is infidels, for so long as we will make heaven and be before Allah. That is why we are countering the false ideology you are spreading.
“[Shekau] said he is looking for our information. We also have your information and we are close to you. What kind of thing is this? There were states we captured as part of the Islamic Caliphate and you allowed men to be looting property. We told you and you did not take action. We don’t know this brand of Jihad; you kill children, women and bomb people. We should be looking for infidels and not our own people. How can we be killing people in the mosques when there are churches, barracks? It is nonsense and Allah will ask you [about it] if you don’t repent. Another thing is, [Shekau] is interpreting verses with his own opinions and the cassettes are being spread. Stop interpreting the Quran with your own opinion. We who lived with [Shekau] knew his conduct. What is not in the Hadith, he will insist that it is there. Kai, Imam, all these interpretations are your own creation. Please go and seek education and knowledge from those that know.
“Nobody should believe him. People should seek understanding and not depend on his lies. Haba Imam, have you forgotten our past? Is this how we started? You forgot your days in our learning place with your two items of clothing, learning under the tree? And today you are arrogant and killing your own people because you have now got an empire?
“You forgot how you rushed to pass a verdict over the case of a man over sheep? And you rushed a judgment that saw the man’s hand amputated. The same thing happened in Bama. Five of us were sitting, and the issue came up of some fighters who married slaves. He quickly said they should be killed. The killings spread to eleven persons. Later on, the allegation turned out to be false. Some fighters murmured and said there would be no peace with his injustices. And all these are not part of Islam. People complained of several acts, but because [Shekau] was enjoying power he refused to take action. Who killed the Malam in Banki? Is it not you that killed him? The same thing happened to a man you brought inside and killed.
“You forgot one day I told you that your wives are not aware that their husbands are alive. You dismissed me with a wave of hand. And you said their husbands should be killed. Is it not you that killed them? Are you not the one that killed Malam Abdulmalik? He is popularly known as Baba Abdulmalik, and you killed him. And you are killing them secretly when, in Islam, there is nothing like secret killings even of an infidel. Even if it is Buhari that comes to you following an agreement, if you killed him, it is not Islam. Even if it is an infidel, if you killed him it is not Islam. If you are afraid of their treaty, tell them we are enemies, instead of drawing people close tokill them.
“Where did you see the judgment of Allah secretly done? And you said you are following Allah. Is it the Prophet that said this? This is not Islam, Shekau.
“You killed Ameer Falluja because he was close to Abdulmalik. When he entered, he never came out. The same way, you killedBagomna because he bought a house in Amchide. If someone bought a house, is that a reason to kill him? With your hand you killed him. Bagomna came on a bike, and you just killed him. When we asked you why you said since he went to war he did not return. You are a liar; you killed him on your own. Is this Islam? Are you sure it is Islam you are doing, killing war commanders, and killing clerics?
“You killed Mustapha, you killedKakaali, and you told women that they died in the war, but insiders knew that you killed them. It was Aliyu that you asked to call one of them. You remember where you used to stay in one location. On getting there one day they called the man guarding the place. When he came, you killed him. When the second [man] appeared you repeated the same. From that moment did we not start failing and losing the war? You can’t think and repent. When we fought infidels in Baga, did you remember the bravery [the men you killed] exhibited? Did you do half of their gallant fight? You are just sitting down; they will bring you cars, money, and other valuables and you still have the guts to betray them.
“The same way you killed one man on trivial grounds that he was gossiping. Yet his contribution to this cause was incredible. He was producing guns, and you just wasted him. And you wanted to kill one Aliyu and something happened. You wanted him killed, but failed and he succeeded in killing one of the two you sent to kill him. Is this Jihad? Is it not you that killed Mujaheed? Is it not you that killed Umar? Is it not you that killedAbumariam? Abumariam and Mujaheed were killed together by you. What did they do to you? Can’t people tell you the truth? That is why some of us that want to tell you the truth fled so that you don’t kill us. And now that we are away, you can’t kill us unless we kill ourselves. We believe in Allah and have our own battalions. Send your agents and see a surprise. None of them can come here; we will finish them. You also killed Abdullahi because of a dream. You keep telling people rubbish about leaders that killed their fighters. Those leaders killed in the open, but you killed secretly.
“When Malam Umar was going to honor [Shekau’s] invitation, he called me and explained that Shekau had sent for him, but he had sent words pleading for forgiveness. When he told me, I said he should believe in Allah and submit to his faith. When Umar went, [Shekau] came out and asked for a knife and a dagger. Very close to the river [Shekau] killed Umar. Is this Allah’s verdict? This is Haram for Shekau to make Muslims kill their brothers. Shekau be careful, we are not part of this; I repent and will never follow you. I will never go back. If you fear Allah, you should better repent. We have revolted against your ideology and now cling to the real ideology of Allah. We are not part of a caliphate of injustices and shedding of blood. We are not part of a religion that is not dictated by Allah. We are with our leader, [ISIS commander] Al-Baghdadi. If you say you will not follow him, we will know the truth. Anyway, you have revolted and are deceiving people. You even said it in your cassette that you were forced; that you only bear fake allegiance fearing that there would be an internal revolt against you. Shekau killed many fighters, and we have exposed a few [of his victims].
“Another case of Shekau’s insensitivity is abandoning fighters to hunger [as well as] women and children who go without food while he is enjoying with his own family.
“Last year, 20 children died of malnourishment. Recently, 15 babies died in one day due to starvation. I have a recorded message here, and I will play it here for all to hear.
(The audio was played and Shekau was heard saying the following: “That children are dying, let even 100, 000 die now. Nonsense, am I the one holding them? I can only do what I can. Am I here to breed babies? You came disturbing me. Who told you my duty is to look after babies? Who told you my duty is to look after fighters? If this is what you are talking about, then it is you that should look after me. Is this what Quran said? What do you mean?”).
Abu Musab al-Barnawi message continued:
“Hear him saying that it is not his duty. Let us teach you, Imam. It is your responsibility to look after fighters and ensure their welfare. Go and study the Quran. It is not me that wrote, but it is there in the Quran. Anything that was given to you, you must provide for the welfare of the fighters. Imagine him in the cassette I played saying Allah said fighters should feed him. Tell us where in the Quran Allah said we should feed you? We know it is your responsibility to feed us and give us money for chicken and all our needs. This is the truth, Imam.
“Even [when fighters] advance towards enemies, [Shekau] doesn’t make logistics available. The other time, we lost plenty of gas and fuel tofire. Before, you ruled over us, but now we are free. Another thing that made us leave you is because you don’t listen to your cabinet. If we follow Shekau, we will never make heaven. That is why we left. Stop giving opinionated fatwa.
“You don’t listen and accept our views. Even [Boko Haram founder, killed in 2009] Mohammed Yusuf, he would write his Friday preaching and table it before us for debate and scrutiny. We would collectively go through and work on it. But you refused [to do the same]. Are you more educated than Mohammed Yusuf? Is it not in my place that you were studying with your two items of clothes and under a tree in Maiduguri?
“Another thing is Shekau doesn’t make weapons available for fighters. People fighting a war are left with no weapons. We have lost many territories in our emerging Islamic caliphate to infidels because of your laxity. You are the cause.
“This was the beginning of our revolt against you. If you leave us alone, we will leave you alone. If you continue antagonizing us, we will also continue. If you repent, we will accept you and embrace you. You should repent and fear Allah. This is the open letter to you.
“In our Shura meetings, there was a complaint that jihadists’ wives were taken away while they were fighting for Allah. What did you do? You did nothing, and fighters saw how you don’t bother about their welfare. You just go home and sleep with your wives and slaves while we are suffering. We are not with you.”