Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Nigerian terror group Boko Haram, pledged his allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in a new video. He urged all Muslims to do the same.
Reuters gave an English translation of Abubakar Shekau’s oath.
“We announce our allegiance to the Caliph… and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity, in hardship and ease. We call upon Muslims everywhere to pledge allegiance to the Caliph.”
Analysts at NBC News say ISIS will likely accept Shekau’s allegiance. It isn’t the first case of a terror group pledging to fight for the terrorist’s self-declared Islamic State. Reuters reports a Taliban splinter group known as Jundallah became loyal to the Islamic State late last year. Likewise, Salafist jihadist organizations in Gaza declared they were dedicated to bolstering ISIS, so did the little-known Philippines-based Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
Nevertheless, Abubakar Shekau’s vow from Boko Haram is a big boost for ISIS, as explained by NBC News expert Laith Alkhouri.
“Boko Haram is not only one of the strongest groups to support ISIS, it’s also in [an] area ISIS has very little, if any, control. This gives ISIS the extra credibility and the additional territory to further its growth around the world.”
ISIS has maintained a rather neutral stance towards the Nigerian terror organization, leaving terror experts guessing if the two groups would ever fight together. According to NBC News, some wondered if a Middle Eastern terror organization could ever accept black Africans as equals in Islamist terrorism.
After all, Al Qaeda has shunned Boko Haram and its bombastic leader since they started to make headlines. But that might be a plus for the Nigerian terror group in the eyes of ISIS since it was also rejected by Al Qaeda.
Boko Haram will gain a lot from the relationship too, like notoriety.
Despite making headlines by kidnapping 276 school girls from the town of Chibok in April last year, Boko Haram has largely been overshadowed in the news by the war against the Islamic State.
Nigerian government spokesman Mike Omeri thinks the new fame might work against them, explaining to Reuters that he hoped this will be finally prompt a strong international response to the terrorist threat.
“(The audio) is confirming what we always thought. It’s sad, it’s bad. It’s why we were appealing to the international community… Hopefully the world will wake up to the disaster unfolding here.”
Likewise, the director of the SITE Intelligence Group, Rita Katz, warned about the Nigerian terrorists’ future capabilities thanks to help from ISIS.
“Boko Haram is now being elevated from a local jihadi group to an important arm of the Islamic State. With Boko Haram’s wide network in North Africa, the Islamic State’s projection of creating an Islamic Caliphate is gaining headway. Furthermore, Islamic State’s infrastructure, resources and military capabilities will enable Boko Haram to expand its operations and control even faster in North Africa.”