Abu Musab al-Barnawi, New Boko Haram Leader. Who is he?

Abu Musab al-Barnawi, who has been named as Boko Haram’s new leader, is something of a mystery but here is what we do know:

  1. He appeared in a Boko Haram video in January 2015 as the group’s spokesman
  2. He wore a turban and his face was blurred out and it was filmed as a sit-down studio interview
  3. Unlike former leader Abubakar Shekau, his delivery in the Hausa language was considered and softly spoken
  4. Mr Shekau was often filmed in the open, surrounded by fighters, loudly proclaiming his threats, victories and giving rambling ideological lectures.
  5. However, Mr Barnawi pulled no punches, warning that towns which resisted Boko Haram in its mission to create an Islamic state would be flattened
  6. He also spoke of being against democracy and foreign education
  7. In his most recent magazine interview, he again objected to the name Boko Haram, by which local people call the group, as it means “Western education is forbidden” in Hausa
  8. He maintained IS was still strong in the region and promised to continue fighting West African governments.

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