Boko Haram Pledges Allegiance to IS

Boko Haram Pledges Allegiance to ISBoko Haram Pledges Allegiance to IS

Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, according to an audio statement. The message, which has not been verified, was posted on Boko Haram’s Twitter account and is believed to be by the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau.

In the audio message posted on Saturday, the Boko Haram leader purportedly said, “We announce our allegiance to the caliph ... and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity. We call on Muslims everywhere to pledge allegiance to the caliph,” BBC reported.

Boko Haram would be the latest in a series of groups to declare allegiance to IS.

In the past, the militant group was thought to have had links with al-Qaeda, BBC reported.

Boko Haram began a military campaign to impose rule in northern Nigeria in 2009. The conflict has since spread to neighboring states. IS took control of large swathes of territory in eastern Syria and across northern and western Iraq last year.

Nigeria postponed national elections by six weeks until 28 March in order to have more time to try to improve security in the north. IS has forged links with other militant groups across North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

In November, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi accepted pledges of allegiance from militants in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

In January, militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan announced that they were forming an IS “province.”

  Bomb Blasts Kill 50

Four bomb blasts killed at least 50 people in Maiduguri in Nigeria’s northeast on Saturday in the worst attacks there since militants tried to seize the city in two major assaults earlier this year.

There was no immediate claim for the bombings but they bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, which has been waging a six-year insurgency to carve out its authority in Africa’s biggest economy.

President Goodluck Jonathan, who is seeking reelection on March 28, has been heavily criticized for failing to crush the group.

Around noon on Saturday, the driver of a motorized tricycle detonated a bomb when the vehicle was prevented from entering a fish market on the Baga road in the west of Maiduguri, market trader Mohammad Ajia said after fleeing the scene.

Another blast hit the busy Monday market shortly afterwards. A car bomb exploded later by a bus station near a Department of State Security (DSS) office, according to a civilian member of a joint task force.