A Splintered Boko Haram Becomes an Even Greater Threat to Christians

The plight of the 218 kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls remains uncertain after a recent split in the world’s deadliest terrorist group.


A fracturing Boko Haram isn’t good news for the 218 mostly Christian schoolgirls who have been held captive since 2014.

In fact, militants killed 10 and kidnapped 13 more women and children from the primarily Christian village of Chibok on Saturday—the same place the girls are from. And a new video of the girls seems to signal new pressure on the Nigerian-based radical Islamist group.

Outside pressure comes from Nigeria’s military, which cracked down on Boko Haram’s territory in the northeast after the country elected Muhammadu Buhari as president in 2015. Buhari promised to dismantle Boko Haram within a year; although he hasn’t done so, military pressure on the terrorist group has increased and its territory has shrunk.

Buhari has also been working on his relationship with the United States, which stepped up military help to the area. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Buhari in Nigeria this week; security concerns are on the agenda.

Boko Haram also faces internal fractioning. Earlier this month, ISIS backed a new leader for them. (Boko Haram transferred its loyalty from al Qaeda to ISIS last year.)

Abu Musab al Barawi, who is the son of Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf, was reportedly chosen because he is less violent toward Muslims than his predecessor. He immediately promised to narrow the scope of attacks to Christians.

The militants will handle Christians by “booby-trapping and blowing up every church that we are able to reach, and killing all of those who we find from the citizens of the cross,” al Barawi reportedly told an Islamic newspaper.

But Abubakar Shekau, the previous head of Boko Haram, hasn’t stepped aside. In a new video, he called al Barnawi an infidel who …

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