Nigerians react to Boko Haram’s pledge of allegiance to Islamic State

Residents in Nigeria’s capital Abuja react to an audio clip released by Boko Haram pledging allegiance to Islamic State

ABUJA, NIGERIA (MARCH 08, 2015) (REUTERS) – Residents in Nigeria’s capital Abuja on Sunday (March 8) reacted to an audio clip released by Boko Haram pledging allegiance to Islamic State, which rules a self declared caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.

The symbolic move highlights increased coordination between Jihadi movements across north Africa and the Middle East and prompted an appeal from Nigeria’s government for greater international help in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency.

Boko Haram has killed thousands and kidnapped hundreds during its six year campaign to carve out an Islamist state in northern Nigeria.

In recent months, it has increased cross border raids in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

The pledge of allegiance was attributed to Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.

Moses Owupe said just like the former Maitatsine militants who launched attacks in the 1970s and 80s against the Nigerian state, Boko Haram would also be eliminated.

“There will be peace in this country and Boko Haram would be a thing of the past. We’ve had things like that before, like Maitatsine and the rest. They were all overcome by the military and the police. So we believe that this time around we are going to win the war against them. Whether they are affiliated to ISIS or not, they will be eliminated,” Owupe said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

Islamic State’s Baghdadi has already accepted similar pledges from other jihadi groups in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Africa.

Analysts say the allegiance pledged by Boko Haram came as no surprise.

Iburonke Sampson says it is time for the Nigerian government to seek more help from neighbouring countries.

“Boko Haram has been a very difficult challenge to Nigeria. In fact they are the insurgence in Nigeria but now, as it is now that they have declared their support for international terrorists, I think it is time for the government of Nigeria to now mop up much of power either from other neighbouring countries to be able to fight the insurgency. The Boko Haram people so that the war might be totally against them,” he said.

This month, Boko Haram released a video purporting to show it beheading two men, its first online posting using advanced graphics and editing techniques similar to footage from Islamic State.