March 10, 2015
Pham: Boko Haram's Pledge of Allegiance to ISIS: What it Means
On Saturday, just hours after four suicide bombers set off a series of blasts in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri that left at least fifty people dead and scores more wounded, the militant organization thought responsible for the attacks, Boko Haram, reportedly announced that it was swearing allegiance to the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). According to a report quoting the SITE extremist monitoring organization, an audio recording purportedly from Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, hailed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as "caliph" and declared: "We announce our allegiance to the Caliph...and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity."
This latest development is not entirely unexpected given the increasing convergence between the two groups over the course of the last year as well as the severe pressure that the militaries of Nigeria and its neighbors have recently (if somewhat belatedly) brought to bear on it.