Boko Haram formally pledged allegiance to ISIS in an audio recording released today, saying their vow represents “the completeness of the religion with the book that guides and the sword that favors.”
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has pledged to decimate Boko Haram by the March 28 presidential elections. The terrorist group’s strategy has included using little boys and girls to suicide bomb crowded areas such as markets, and recent incursions into Cameroon and Niger.
In August, Boko Haram leader Abubakr Shekau declared that land it seized in northeastern Nigeria was “part of the Islamic caliphate.”
“To the Caliph… we are sending you this message, following what Allah said in his Quran and what the prophet, peace by upon him, said … we announce our allegiance to the Caliph of the Muslims, Ibrahim,” Shekau said, using the name Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi goes by.
Shekau pledged Boko Haram’s loyalty “in hardship and ease, and to endure being discriminated against, and not to dispute about rule with those in power, except in case of evident infidelity.”
“We call on Muslims everywhere to pledge allegiance to the Caliph and support him,” he said, adding that they “pledged allegiance to the Caliph because of the interest of the Ummah [community] in their religion.”
Boko Haram also made the move, Shekau said, to “enrage the enemy of Allah” by “our gathering under one banner,” with more “enemy mortality.”
It isn’t the first time that Shekau has given a friendly nod to ISIS in a media release; Boko Haram is similarly complimentary of al-Qaeda and has noted that they’re united in cause.
An alliance with Somalia’s Al-Shabaab may be next.
Al-Shabaab released a movie last month focusing on the Westgate mall massacre — and suggesting similar attacks at western malls including the Mall of America in Minnesota — that bore the hallmarks of ISIS video production.
A message posted online last week urged Shabaab fighters to “remember the coalition against the Islamic State” as they face an African Union coalition on their home turf.
“The fighting of the regimes, and ruling according to the Sharia, means that the Jihad is in the right path, the only thing left is the pledging allegiance to a Caliph which is a very required step in Islam,” said the lengthy message, signed by a prolific ISIS supporter.
The United Arab Emirates warned in October that more needed to be done to counter ISIS’ spread in North Africa.
“What really scares us now is what we see from Daesh, and are we going to see in the future any sort of collaboration between different terrorist groups like Daesh and al-Shabab?” Emirati foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said at the opening of a counter-piracy conference.
“I think we should start to ask ourselves: how ready we are as countries, companies and international organizations in facing these big threats,” the sheikh added.
Somali media have reported that Al-Shabaab members have been squabbling over loyalty to ISIS or Ayman al-Zawahiri.