RELIGION

Shekau says he leads Boko Haram, not IS-appointed successor

FILE - In this Sunday Jan. 31, 2016 file photo, a man walks past burnt out houses following an attack by Boko Haram in Dalori village near Maiduguri, Nigeria. Abubakar Shekau says he still leads Boko Haram, exposing the biggest rift yet among Nigeria’s Islamic insurgents and possibly paving the way for a break from the Islamic State group. The Islamic State on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016 announced that Abu Musab al-Barnawi is the new leader of its so-called West Africa province. But an audio speech Thursday purporting to be from Shekau criticizes al-Barnawi as “an infidel.” (AP Photo/Jossy Ola, File)

FILE - In this Sunday Jan. 31, 2016 file photo, a man walks past burnt out houses following an attack by Boko Haram in Dalori village near Maiduguri, Nigeria. Abubakar Shekau says he still leads Boko Haram, exposing the biggest rift yet among Nigeria’s Islamic insurgents and possibly paving the way for a break from the Islamic State group. The Islamic State on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016 announced that Abu Musab al-Barnawi is the new leader of its so-called West Africa province. But an audio speech Thursday purporting to be from Shekau criticizes al-Barnawi as “an infidel.” (AP Photo/Jossy Ola, File)  (The Associated Press)

Abubakar Shekau says he still leads Boko Haram, exposing the biggest rift yet among Nigeria's Islamic insurgents and possibly paving the way for a break from the Islamic State group.

The Islamic State on Wednesday announced that Abu Musab al-Barnawi is the new leader of its so-called West Africa province.

But an audio speech Thursday purporting to be from Shekau criticizes al-Barnawi. It also says IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did not respond to letters explaining that al-Barnawi is "an infidel" preaching "false creeds."

Shekau's speech highlights ideological differences with al-Barnawi, who has promised to end attacks on mosques and Muslim markets — attacks that had become a hallmark of Boko Haram.

Shekau in March 2015 pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi and gave IS its first franchise in sub-Saharan Africa.