Joe Parkinson Profile picture
Mar 19, 2018 13 tweets 2 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Our latest reporting on the #DapchiGirls kidnap revealed a lot about the civil war tearing at Boko Haram. Here's a thread:…
1) An Islamic State-backed faction led by Abu Musab al-Barnawi--& not Boko Haram leader Abubakr Shekau - was responsible for the Dapchi kidnap.
2) We reviewed encrypted comms showing Barnawi's faction in regular contact with Islamic State emirs in Syria, Iraq and Libya. They have their own slickly-produced news channel (al-Hakik - or "credible") distributed on Telegram.
3) Shekau has been shunned by Islamic State since 2016 - he sent eight letters to Al-Baghdadi through emissaries that were ignored. His unpredictability and use of child suicide bombers was too much, even for ISIS.
4) One reason the factions were at odds was over the Chibok girls. Shekau, paranoid about a coup, repeatedly refused Nigerian govt deals to release top commanders, infuriating Barnawi and his allies.
5) IS began to cultivate Barnawi--son of Boko founder Muhammad Yusuf--who had risen to senior commander and propaganda chief. He had backing of many seasoned commanders who felt sidelined by Shekau.
6) In August 2016 the split became formalized: IS publicly declared Barnawi as leader of Lake Chad jihad (ISIS-West Africa) and began helping the group with military / comms training / opsec.
7) In the months that followed, the factions turned their guns on each other: more than 400 people were killed in intra-Boko fighting. At one point Barnawi's group tried to wrestle Shekau's most prized asset - the Chibok girls.
8) Under pressure, Shekau ransomed 103 Chibok girls - for millions of euros and five loyal, more junior, commanders. His group has increased attacks, particularly suicide bombings.
9) From the end of last year, the Barnawi faction also launched more brazen attacks -- kidnapping oil workers, teachers and UN employees. Also launching assaults on police and military bases.
10) On February 19th militants loyal to Barnawi drove up to the Dapchi Science and Technology College, and kidnapped 110 girls, the youngest aged 10. Nigeria - and its political leadership - is stunned.
11) Nigeria's government say they want a negotiated solution - understood to mean an exchange &/or ransom. Backchannel talks have already begun. Dozens more schools across the north have been closed.
12) One only hopes the kidnapping of schoolgirls - which offers jihadists a route to money, profile and political leverage - does not happen again.

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