March 18, 2015
Last week, Nigerian Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS in an audio message purportedly from the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau. ISIS endorsed Boko Haram’s pledge of loyalty in a speech released on social media, allying the two terrorist groups. Experts believe that the alliance is primarily for propaganda purposes and that the groups do not share operational links. However, the alliance may in fact strengthen the abilities of each group individually, as ISIS may use the affiliation to expand its territorial scope while Boko Haram may attempts to boost recruitment.
The Nigerian government continues to intensely fight the Boko Haram militants, and the Nigerian military claims to have retaken the town of Bama, an operation in which a great number of militants were killed. Following this, a government spokesperson announced that Nigeria has begun the “final onslaught” against the group and that “significant strategic military successes and gains” have been made against Boko Haram in the past few weeks.
The Nigerian military asserts that it has pushed Boko Haram out of all but three areas in the northeast. To further strengthen Nigeria’s military forces for the operations against Boko Haram, troops are being trained by private security companies from South Africa, Korea and Russia – nations which have also provided military equipment to Nigeria.