Agence France-Presse quotes Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham on the influence of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham among jihadist groups in Africa:
Outside observers see the Islamic State’s influence, for example, in the tactics, rhetoric and even online media presence of the Boko Haram rebels of northeast Nigeria and neighboring border areas.
“There are no direct operational contacts,” said Peter Pham, head of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank.
“Boko Haram kidnapped those famous schoolgirls,” Pham said, referring to the 276 teenagers captured by the group from their school in Chibok, in an attack that triggered global outrage.
“When IS kidnapped the Yazidi girls, if you look at their statements, they actually cited Boko Haram kidnapping the Chibok shoolgirls,” Pham said, citing the jihadist persecution of an Iraqi minority group.
“Boko Haram controls now between 20,000 and 40,000 square kilometers (7,700 to 15,400 square miles), 10 local governments. They feel strong,” he said.