The Nigerian online publication HumAngle was formed in 2020 by mid-career Nigerian journalist Ahmed Salkida, who was an original follower of Boko Haram founder, Muhammed Yusuf. Although Salkida left Boko Haram after Yusuf’s death in 2009, his publication now reports beats on Boko Haram. On 3 December, HumAngle reported in the excerpted article about Boko Haram’s video featuring an anonymous speaker who claimed Boko Haram’s attack days earlier in which around 70 farmers were decapitated. The article noted that the Nigerian military dismissed the Boko Haram video claim, despite evidence that Boko Haram actually committed the massacre. A previous HumAngle article also translated the speaker’s words in the video.

According to the excerpted article, the speaker was young, which contrasts with Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who is now over fifty years old. In addition, the speaker was calm, which also contrasts with Shekau, who is known for bombastic video claims. The speaker’s ideology was no less brutal than Shekau, however. The article noted the speaker justified the massacre on grounds that a villager informed on a Boko Haram member to Nigerian soldiers, who arrested the member.

This same anonymous speaker also appeared in another video that HumAngle covered on 14 December. In that video, the article noted the speaker claimed Boko Haram’s attack in Toumour, Diffa region, Niger, that killed 27 people and destroyed dozens of displaced persons’ homes. Although the article speculated the attack might have related to elections in Toumour, the speaker calmly claimed it was because Christmas was approaching. The speaker also accused the victims, who were mostly Muslims, of being pagans.

In both videos, the speaker was veiled, and his identity remains unknown. Meanwhile, Shekau has eluded capture for more than ten years and continues to be Boko Haram’s leader and public face, including when he claimed the kidnapping of several hundred boys in Kankara, Katsina State that HumAngle covered on 17 December. However, the other two videos with the anonymous speaker indicate there is likely a line of succession and equally brutal, albeit more composed, potential future leader in waiting. The prospect of Boko Haram enduring beyond Shekau’s lifetime has significance not only for Nigeria’s counter-insurgency against Boko Haram, but also Boko Haram’s rivalry with the larger faction, Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP),, which expelled Shekau in 2016 because of his excessive brutality.

The Shekau faction of Boko Haram claimed responsibility for slaughtering 78 farmers after accusing them of arresting one of their members and handing him to the Nigerian military.

Source: “Army Dismisses Boko Haram’s Claim On Zabarmari Massacre As Fallacy and Propaganda,” (Nigerian online publication formed by journalist with past ties to Boko Haram founder), 3 December 2020.

“Boko Haram Claims Responsibility For Zabarmari Massacre In A New Video,”, 1 December 2020.

“Boko Haram Claims Responsibility For Attack In Diffa, Niger Republic,”, 14 December 2020.

“‘Some Of Us Were Killed’: Abducted Kankara Boys Speak In New Boko Haram Video,”, 17 December 2020.

Nigerian Defence Headquarters dismissed the claim by Boko Haram terror group that the recent massacre of over 70 rice farmers in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria was retaliation for the arrest of one of them, describing it as a mere fallacy and propaganda. According to the Defense Spokesperson, the terror group uses propaganda whenever it loses ground as one of its major weapons. “Our message here for the general public is that they should not be discouraged and that we are moving forward and with your cooperation, we are going to end this menace,” he said.

In a video obtained by HumAngle, the Shekau faction of Boko Haram claimed responsibility for slaughtering 78 farmers after accusing them of arresting one of their members and handing him to the Nigerian military. On Sunday, 43 victims of the massacre were given a mass burial led by Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno State.

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