The radical militant group Islamic State has accepted a Boko Haram pledge of allegiance. The Nigerian group of extremists pledged last week its allegiance to IS through a video posted on the Internet.
Boko Haram was weakened over the past few months by a multinational force, which has dislodged it from a number of towns in northeast Nigeria. However, its new account on Twitter and more frequent and more complex video messages were considered signs the group was being helped by propagandists from IS.
This past Saturday, Abubakar Sheka the leader of Boko Haram posted an online audio recording that pledged his group’s allegiance to the IS. The Islamic State’s Al-Furqan the media arm for the group, in another audio recording said that the pledge by Boko Haram of its allegiance to IS was accepted, claiming its caliphate has now grown to include West Africa.
Al-Adnani urged all foreign fighters from across the globe to migrate and become part of Boko Haram.
The pledge by Boko Haram to IS was announced at a time when the militants reportedly stated gathering in Gwoza a town in northeast Nigeria, which is considered its headquarters, for a battle with a multinational force led by the Chadian military.
Estimates by observer groups say that more than 10,000 people were killed last year by Boko Haram and the group is blamed for the abduction last April of over 275 schoolgirls. Tens of thousands of people from Nigeria have fled the country as refugees into Chad, which shares a border with Nigeria.
The group has waged close to a six-year insurgency in the country to impose Muslim Shariah law. It started launching attacks into in Cameroon in 2014 and starting this year its fighters attacked both in Chad and Niger in a retaliation for the two countries agreeing to form a force to fight the militants group.
Boko Haram followed IS this past August and declared its own caliphate across the northeastern region of Nigeria that grew to the size of Belgium.
The group has also copied IS with its publishing of videos that have beheadings, with the latest as recently as March 2.