Ibrahim's father, and previous ruler of Bornu, had called on El-Kanemi, an Islamic Scholar and Warrior, to help him fight against the Fulani's and their leader Goni Mukhtar. The two were able to push back the Fulani's from much of Bornu. In the process, El-Kanemi grew powerful and was a threat to the Sefawa ruling house which had produced Ibrahim and his father, Dunama. Dunama was later killed in a failed putsch to murder El-Kanemi. His son, Ibrahim succeeded him. When El Kanemi died in 1837, he was succeeded by his son, Umar. The two figures became enmeshed in a battle of supremacy and they renewed hostilities between the Kanemis and the Sefawas. Ibrahim hatched a plan to kill Umar by inviting an external army from Wadai under the command of the Sultan of Wadai. However, Umar knew about the plan before had and killed Ibrahim before fleeing Bornu. Further, continuing the assault on the Safawa ruling dynasty.
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