Boko Haram's Islamist terrorist group leader Abubakar Shekau executed his spokesman, Abu Zinnira, or “Tasiu,” who had been seen in many video messages from the extremist group, because of his paranoia about being pushed out, according to an audio recording released by Agence France-Press last week. He feared Taisu and senior commander, Baba Ammar, had planned to overthrow his Boko Haram leadership because they felt his administration was “not on the right track.”

“You should hear me: I killed Taisu, hear me well,” Shekau said on Dec. 18, 2016 in the 50-minute recording of a Boko Haram meeting. Shekau claimed Taisu was spreading rumors among the militant group and sending soldiers out on illegal invasions while secretly plotting to kill him.

“Tell me, what is the punishment for the people that plot against their leader?” Shekau asked in the meeting. “By our code of allegiance, we don’t hesitate to pass appropriate sanction on any one of us that commits an offence.”

Boko Haram has been terrorizing northeast Nigeria since 2002, but in recent months the Nigerian military has made progress in defeating the militant group by leading sweeps to execute terrorists who hide among the civilian population, according to The New York Times. However, citizens faced risks as Nigerian military attempting to distinguish between innocent citizens and terrorists have mistakenly killed unarmed residents.

"The line between who is civilian and who is not has been blurred," manager for the aid group Plan International Agnes Bjorn said. "It is, however, the responsibility of the Nigerian army to protect civilians and clearly distinguish between civilians and combatants. Protecting civilians in war is part of international humanitarian law." 

The audio recording released by AFP revealed division among the faction as Shekau continued to belittle those in the group opposed to his style of leadership, and deemed opposers as devil’s advocates who were “at work, trying to instill doubt in the minds of our fighters after realizing we are gathering momentum for real jihad,” a Nigerian newspaper reported. 

Some members within the militant group have reportedly resisted orders such as carrying out attacks and kidnappings in Nigerian neighborhoods against Muslim citizens--most notably Boko Haram's notorious kidnapping of 276 girls from the Chibok region in 2014--because of his hostile treatment toward the group.