CEP Releases Boko Haram Resources as Two Vie for Leadership of Terror Group

Abu Musab al-Barnawi and Abubakar Shekau struggle for control

(New York, NY) -- The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) is releasing updated resources on Nigerian terror group Boko Haram as two men compete for control of the terror group, which has killed more than 20,000 people since 2009. 

In 2015, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau swore allegiance to ISIS on behalf of the terror group. With 6,000 fighters, Boko Haram is the largest and most well-known group to be linked to ISIS.  

However, in early August, ISIS named Abu Musab al-Barnawi, former spokesman of the group, as the new leader of Boko Haram. In response, Shekau released a video denying the leadership change and accusing al-Barnawi of staging a coup.

Boko Haram is a radical Sunni Islamic sect. Its name, which means “Western education is sin,” is based on the group’s strong rejection of Western education as corrupt. While originally non-violent and preaching a doctrine of withdrawal, Boko Haram increasingly became more overtly radical and violent. Boko Haram relies on a combination of local funding sources and criminal activity to sustain itself.


For requests for interviews, please contact CEP at [email protected]


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On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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