In a recent statement released online, Jamaat Ansar al Muslimeen, better known as Ansaru, confirmed it maintains its allegiance to al Qaeda after reportedly re-pledging allegiance to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in 2020.
Two new videos from Ansaru, or al Qaeda’s franchise in Nigeria, demonstrate the group’s continued ideological affinity and connections to the global jihadist network.
Yesterday’s statement is just the group’s second attack claim since its revival late last year. While Ansaru stated its men were behind an attack on Nigerian security forces, all recent raids in Kaduna State have been on civilians. It is thus likely that Ansaru is attempting to indicate its role in the growing ethnic violence in the state.
The attack, the group’s first since 2013, announces its operational return to Nigeria.
The photo marks the first sign of life for the group since 2017 and the first official publication since 2015.
A letter recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound reveals that a senior AQIM commander recommended that his group train Boko Haram’s forces. Other official sources confirm that AQIM did provide the training and also groomed part of Boko Haram’s leadership. However, one of the Boko Haram leaders identified in the letter later cofounded a splinter group known as Ansaru, which rejects Boko Haram’s policies. Ansaru has been supported by AQIM.
Boko Haram’s leader, Abu Bakr Shekau, has pledged allegiance to the emir of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.
Divisions between Boko Haram and rival Ansaru have become more pronounced over the past several weeks.