Boko Haram Swears Allegiance to the Islamic State

12th March 2015 Analysis

Saturday 7th March 2015. Soon after Maiduguri the capital of Borno state Nigeria was rocked by bomb blasts of an attack by three female jihadists that left more than 50 people killed, Boko Haram (BH) announced its allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. The pledge was publicized via twitter as militant leader Abubakar Shekau expressed his indefinite loyalty to the new Caliph. The audio script identified the Caliph as Ibrahim ibn Awad ibn Ibrahim al-Awad alQurashi, who is better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of IS.

BH was traditionally viewed as being more AQ-leaning particularly from 2010-2012, due to alleged links with groups such as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the movement of Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and al-Shabbab. However, the IS brand has expanded once again by incorporating the Nigerian jihadists into their global ranks.

This newly confirmed allegiance of Boko Haram has raised many questions. Why now? What effects will this have on BH and the Nigerian Crisis? What kind of co-operation is there between the two groups? And does this make IS stronger? These are all pivotal inquiries for the analysis of this new jihadist phenomenon.

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