On Thursday March 12 Nigerian-based extremist group Boko Haram’s pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State has been officially accepted.
This step was taken during a time when both organizations are under increasing military attacks. In the summer of 2014, the Islamic State captured a large area of northern and western Iraq thus having one third of both Iraq and Syria under its control. But now, the Iraqi army is trying to recapture Tirkit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein. At the same time, other areas of the country and Syria are under air strikes led by a coalition whose main member is the U.S.
Boko Haram is also losing strenght due to the attempts of a multinational coalition trying to take back the northeastern parts of Nigeria.
So the collaboration between these two extremist groups could bring both of them some benefits. On Saturday March 7, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram posted an audio message on the Internet stating his organization wants to pledge allegiance to IS. On Thursday March 12 a response from Al-Furqan, IS’ media division, was submitted online. In the recording, spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani said the organization accepted the pledge, declaring that the caliphate has now stretched to the western part of Africa. The recording then continued with Al-Adnani telling foreign militants worldwide to join Boko Haram.
According to the director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, the allegiance was accepted quite rapidly and that this new collaboration will bring new risks. He said that fighters having difficulties to get to Syria and Iraq will chose to go to northeastern Nigeria instead, meaning the conflict will gain international rank.
The Nigerian organization took the lives of more than 10,000 people last year. Many consider Boko Haram is also responsible for the abduction of more than 275 schoolgirls. Thousands of Nigerians have sought refuge in neighboring Chad.
Its control over various parts of Nigeria is, however, diminishing due to the offensive brought by a coalition of African countries which sent 8,750 troops to fight against Boko Haram militants. According to Nigerian officials, more than 500 extremist have been killed since Feb. 8.
On Thursday March 13, a proposition was made by members of the U.N. Security Council to send supplies, money, equipment, troops and intelligence to help the five-African nation coalition.
Image Source: Duffel Blog