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.
Nigeria: Why northerners feel done down
More than 20 security personnel and at least six civilians were killed as hundreds of Boko Haram fighters attacked the base on the outskirts of the provincial capital of Maiduguri.
The escapes of two hostages highlight the differences between Boko Haram and splinter group Ansaru.
Abu Usama al Ansari also describes Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar as the “Emir of the Believers.” His group, Ansaru, was added to the US’ list of terrorist groups on Nov. 13.