1. Not convinced by this Soufan Center piece on the death of Shekau and the future of #BokoHaram #ISWAP. It includes some good (though by now not original) analysis but also some claims that are disputable to very disputable… A thread.
2. The piece claims that it was al-Baghdadi who “personally ordered Shekau’s ejection from ISWAP”. I wonder about the evidence for this. There has never been a statement from the IS about Shekau’s demise – in August 2016, they only announced Abu Musab as the new wali.
3. The piece mentions Shekau had “Cameroon-based fighters”. As far as I know, JASDJ’s fighters are in the hills on the Nigerian side of the border, not in Cameroon – though of course they do raid into Cameroon.
4. The piece claims that “Abu Musab al-Barnawi (was) reconfirmed as ISWAP’s leader only days before Shekau’s death.” Not clear when Abu Musab taped the audio where he claimed IS made him ISWAP’s ad interim leader. More than days before Shekau’s death, certainly. Several weeks?
5. The piece mentions that “some of Shekau’s fighters in Sambisa have now joined ISWAP”. As far as I know, in the discussions that have followed Shekau’s death, 18 out of 20 Shekau group leaders quickly agreed to join ISWAP. So I’d say it’s more than “some”.
6. Two clues on this. First, several sources tell me that the raiding in Cameroon typical of Shekau has dropped dramatically since his death. It does seem the ISWAP doctrine of sparing Muslim civilians is already having some traction.
7. Time will tell, of course. Raiding in Cameroon will be an apt measure of this, I think. And it begs the question: will ISWAP provide for the Shekau groups which survived through raiding?
8. Second, I hear that ISWAP members have told herders in northern Borno that they could resume grazing their herds in the Sambisa, which means they consider they control the Sambisa alright.
9. Of course, ISWAP may be over-optimistic right now, excited with its kill, and the Sambisa and Mandara may prove a morsel more difficult to chew than they thought. Some Shekau leaders may rebel or drift into banditry.

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More from @VincentFoucher

10 Jun
1. Another #BokoHaram thread, this time about #ISWAP’s Abu Musab al-Barnawi audio about the death of #Shekau (Abu Musab is chatty these days). He says that Shekau was attacked in his markaz and fled, and escaped capture for several days.
2. ISWAP fighters tried to convince Shekau to surrender, but he blew himself up.
3. Abu Musab reiterates his earlier statement that they told Shekau “we didn't come to kill you, come and repent and obey the orders of Amirul mumineen. In his wisdom, he may reappoint you as a leader and we are ready to accept his position”.
Read 10 tweets
2 Jun
1. More news from ISWAP – in an audio released some time ago (before the Sambisa blitz against #Shekau, I think), Abu Musab al Barnawi, the ad interim boss (wali?) of #ISWAP #BokoHaram, details a point he had made in a statement that I have commented earlier. A thread.
2. This new audio revolves around Abu Musab's earlier promise to review past injustices committed by ISWAP. He reiterates. He calls all those aggrieved, whether ISWAP members or civilians, to put forth their claims. He confirms a forum will examine these claims.
3. He insists justice applies to leadership, rank and file, and civilians alike. He insists both leaders and followers in ISWAP have done some wrong. He insists that even soldiers of the Caliphate will be punished if they kill without a good reason.
Read 19 tweets
31 May
It's not just that... An international or regional organisation has impact only when a (relatively) strong state has a strong interest in a crisis & a solution to push, takes the lead & puts the resources behind & is unopposed by the other states. tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.108…
Then that state and the regional organisation work together to legitimise and push a solution. This is what Senegal did in the Gambia. It met only with weak, isolated frontal opposition (Alpha Condé) & some players at the UN prevented Dakar from securing a full-on UN endorsement.
But it worked all the same. Fairly similar case is Guinea-Bissau, where Dakar also worked with and through ECOWAS to push its take (there again, against Condé)
Read 4 tweets
31 May
According several Borno sources, with Shekau out of the way, #ISWAP is embarking on a campaign of outreach to civilians in its areas of influence old & new, insisting that Shekau is dead, that they are ruling now, & that (Muslim) civilians will be safe as long as they pay zakat
In the Lake area, they have released civilians detained for a variety of offenses (bush burning, unauthorised grazing, etc). They have opened areas that they used to forbid for security reasons to civilians & removed a few officials known for being harsh on civilians.
And yes, in its areas of control, ISWAP had been detaining and fining herders for grazing on the fields of farmers. And they protect grazing areas from the enchroachment of farmers. And they protect herders from bandits and Shekau raiders.
Read 5 tweets
27 May
1. This is #BokoHaram thread-day, it seems… This time about the situation now prevalent in the Sambisa. I indirectly got some feedback from the #JASDJ side… It looks like, with Shekau gone, the incorporation of JAS into ISWAP is well on its way.
2. First, some info about the recent events gets additional verification. Yes, there was fighting in Sambisa (and JAS fighters did not lose it all). Yes, Shekau blew himself up, killing some ISWAP members. Yes, Abu Musab is ISWAP’s leader.
3. JAS now counts 20 subgroups, each presumably under a qaid (did some qaed die during the ISWAP push? Not known. Also, is Bakura counted as one of the 20?)
Read 16 tweets
27 May
1. In the long version of the audio released in Hausa before his death on 18 May, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of #JASDJ #BokoHaram, gives interesting bits about the events that were leading to his ultimate defeat. He also sheds light on more long term issues. A thread…
2. Shekau confirms that ISWAP (never named) entered Sambisa, and that some fighting took place. He also insists that ISWAP flipped over a number of JAS members.
3. He notes that ISWAP was pressing him to pledge allegiance to Abu Ibrahim, the current Islamic State Caliph, adding that they promised him he would be acknowledged as wali of “the whole African continent” if he did.
Read 21 tweets

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