LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — The Islamic State group’s newspaper identifies a new leader of the group’s West Africa Province, popularly known as Nigeria’s Boko Haram extremists, who promises not to attack mosques or markets used by Muslims.
The Arabic-language newspaper al-Nabaa on Wednesday identified Abu Musab al-Barnawi as the new “Wali,” a title previously used to describe long-time leader Abubakar Shekau.
The report does not say what Shekau’s current status is.
Analyst Jacob Zenn says the announcement indicates a coup by Boko Haram breakaway group Ansaru and follows a trend of extremist Islamic groups moving away from al-Qaida to the Islamic State.
Ansaru is known for kidnapping foreigners. It had broken away from Boko Haram because it disagrees with the indiscriminate killing of civilians, especially Muslims.