[Ed. – Hey, what took ’em so long?]
The Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has pledged official allegiance to ISIS, according to an audio statement released online Saturday. In the audio, a man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau appears to address ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, and also calls on Muslims throughout the world to declare a similar loyalty.
The message, posted via Boko Haram social media accounts, was confirmed by Flashpoint Intelligence, a global security firm and NBC News consultant. According to Flashpoint, the audio confirms what many analysts have said would happen: a bridging between Boko Haram and ISIS. Boko Haram is also following ISIS’s trend of releasing messages online and mimicking the terror network’s propaganda.
The announcement comes after five bomb blasts rocked the Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Saturday, killing at least 54 people and wounding 143 others in Boko Haram’s northeastern heartland. …
U.S. intelligence officials have questioned whether Boko Haram would want to join ISIS, suggesting to NBC News that the Arab world wouldn’t see black Africans “as equivalent to them.” Boko Haram has praised ISIS previously and shown its flag in videos, but ISIS had not reciprocated.