Why Boko Haram Announced Allegiance With ISIS - Experts

Why Boko Haram Announced Allegiance With ISIS - Experts

The vow of alliance by Nigerian terror sect Boko Haram to the Islamic State (ISIS) may be no more than a propaganda move, experts say.

They noted that it can changes.

Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau made the pledge in an audio recording released on Saturday, March 7th, which had been in the word of mouth for some time.

The militants just last week released a video attending to show the beheading of two men. The method of the killings, but also the professional production value of the record, spookily reflected the work of the so-called Islamic State, often known as IS or Isis.

That, experts concern, could presage tighter links.

"It's something that has been developing over the course of at least nine months," said Peter Pham, director of the Africa programme at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram Attacks Borno Village 

"Both groups need this right now. They need a propaganda coup to raise morale and attention because they are both suffering setbacks in their military campaigns."

After a windstorm capture of territory across Iraq and Syria last year, IS expansion in its center areas has been stopped by local troops backed by the United States and Iran.

"For Isis, it's an opportunity to present themselves as ever-expanding, to enhance their aura of inevitability. It's a propaganda victory. And for that, all you need is a small camera and an Internet connection," said Pham.

Constant territorial growth is a significant part of the IS communicative, under its slogan "remaining and expanding".

"In Syria and Iraq there has been little to no 'expansion' in recent months, so the main benefit for IS is propaganda, if Boko Haram's prior eccentricities can be restrained," said Aymenn al-Tamimi, of the Middle East Forum investigation group.

However, "on Boko Haram's side, the main benefit would be to secure financial support and an influx of manpower."

IS, which announced itself a Muslim caliphate last June, currently has 25 provinces, best-known as "wilayats", extended across Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Boko Haram has not yet declared if it wishes to become a wilayat under IS -- a decision which could be seen as an inconvenient climb-withdrawal for its chiefs.

"Boko Haram has already announced the creation of a caliphate on their territory, and there can be only one," said Morten Boas, a professor at the University of Oslo.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram Openly Seeks Alliance With Islamic State 

The group likewise promised alliance to Al-Qaeda several years ago, but little factual after in terms of what was occurring on the ground.

According to Boas, "Boko Haram is using this to try to seem more powerful than they really are."

"It's something they have been very good at - make people afraid of them. They have captured places because the ordinary Nigerian soldiers were afraid and ran away. It's the best weapon available for a movement like them."

But in the longer period of time, the vow of allegiance could turn into something more solid, fortifying both groups - especially if Boko Haram can build relationship with other IS associates in places like Libya.

Although Boko Haram has used weapons-trafficking networks that link it to militants in Libya and other parts of North Africa, there have been few direct ties up to now.

That opposes with jihadists across North Africa and the Middle East, who often travel between war zones, building close personal ties and struggling aboard each other in different conflicts.

"There are not these pre-existing connections with Boko Haram," said the analyst.

But the pledge of allegiance "could prepare the ground for some sort of collaboration between Boko Haram and IS in Libya," said Boas.

"And that could be really dangerous."



Source: Legit.ng

Khadijah Thabit avatar

Khadijah Thabit (Copyeditor) Khadijah Thabit is an editor with over 3 years of experience editing and managing contents such as articles, blogs, newsletters and social leads. She has a BA in English and Literary Studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Khadijah joined Legit.ng in September 2020 as a copyeditor and proofreader for the Human Interest, Current Affairs, Business, Sports and PR desks. As a grammar police, she develops her skills by reading novels and dictionaries. Email: khadeeejathabit@gmail.com

Online view pixel