|Geann Pineda |||Mar 08, 2015 05:26 AM EDT|
Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to the Islamic state, allowing it to shift from a local jihadi group to a major arm of the ISIS.
SITE Intel Group, a U.S. based organization that monitors extremist activities, said Boko Haram posted an audio message declaring loyalty to the Islamic State.
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A man who identified himself as Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram, vowed to follow ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The audio message went along with a tweet by Shekau that said: "We announce our allegiance to the Caliph of the Muslims".
Global security firm, Flashpoint Intelligence, had verified the recording and said it was posted on Boko Haram social media sites.
The message of the extremist group did not elaborate on the parameters of support it has for the ISIS. This raised questions whether the Islamic State from Syria or Iraq had been deploying its members to Nigeria to join Boko Haram ground offensives, or at the least, provide guidance and methodology in terms of combat. Speculations have likewise emerged that Boko Haram may have chosen to ally with the ISIS, to gain strength as it gets pounded with offensives by multinational forces. Should Boko Haram's promise of loyalty to ISIS include cooperation on ground offensives, countries fighting the group may face a tough battle in wiping them out.
Boko Haram had been increasing its attacks on villages as pressure mounts from nearby African nations. Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger have assembled an 8-thousand strong army that will sweep out Boko Haram camps in the region. Nigeria even went as far as postponing its February 14th presidential elections to March 28th over security concerns, saying most of the Nigerian army will join the multi-national forces to combat the terror group.
On Saturday, five suicide bombings rocked the Nigerian city of Maiduguri, killing 54 people and wounding 143 others. While no group has claimed responsibility over the attack, authorities say the explosions bore the trademark of the group.
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