Boko Haram Bids to Join Isis Propoganda
Lagos – Boko Haram’s bid to forge an alliance with the Islamic State group in sub-Saharan Africa will provide only a propaganda boost for now, but in the long term it could internationalise a conflict restricted to Nigeria for nearly six years, analysts say.
The effort comes as both Islamic extremist groups have lost ground in recent weeks and as Nigeria’s neighbours are forming a multinational army to confront Boko Haram.
By pledging allegiance to ISIS, Nigeria’s home-grown militants have severed ties to al-Qaeda, which is more powerful in the region, said Charlie Winter, a researcher at the London-based Quilliam Foundation.
Boko Haram has never been an affiliate of al-Qaeda, but its militants fought alongside al-Qaeda-linked groups during northern Mali’s Islamic uprising two years ago, and some of its fighters have been trained in Somalia by al-Shabab, another group with ties to al-Qaeda, according to the group’s propaganda.
Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an audio posted Saturday on Twitter. It could take three or four weeks for ISIS to formally respond, as has been the case with affiliates in Egypt, Yemen and Libya.