Terror organizations unite: Nigerian terrorist group joins ISIS



ISIS spreads terror with its beheading videos. Recently, Boko Haram has followed that example, releasing a beheading video of its own. This is one of the few ways Boko Haram has taken after ISIS, including increased propaganda and technological proficiency. Photo courtesy of MCT.

Jenna Bao, Staff Writer

Boko Haram is known for its hatred for western education, frequent suicide bombings, and the abducting of over 200 girls in 2014. Now, the Nigerian terrorist group will also be remembered for their allegiance to another deadly group: ISIS.

On March 7, 2015, an audio clip featuring a man believed to be Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s leader, pledging allegiance to IS/ ISIS and calling on Muslims everywhere to do the same was released on the organization’s Twitter account.

“[ISIS] has been garnering power and Boko [Haram] needed to join the strongest group. And al Qaeda is not the strongest any longer, so it makes sense for them to get also a major media exposure to join,” managing director at security and geopolitical risk firm GlobalStrat Olivier Guitta said to NBC.

Boko Haram was founded 13 years ago to create a Muslim state in Nigeria, which is currently Muslim in the north and Christian in the south. Since Shekau took over, the group has become more violent with bombing campaigns on schools, churches, and government buildings.

The group has been showing ISIS’s influence for months. Boko Haram did not previously have any online or social media presence, but they formed an Arabic Twitter page on Jan. 18, 2015 and have been releasing organized propaganda similar to IS’s since.

The new use of technology and professional graphics, design, and use of multiple languages show help from IS’s media operatives.

Furthermore, Boko Haram’s latest video showed the beheading of two Nigerians resembled IS’s attention-grabbing beheading videos. While it was the first to be posted online, multiple others were sent directly to journalists.

Boko Haram has spent recent years showing dominance in northern Nigeria, but has begun attacking Nigeria’s neighbors, Cameroon and Niger. Experts believe they may need IS’s military aid and funding or that they may be doing it for propaganda purposes.

“[ISIS has] an image that it’s projecting to its followers of a growing entity — this growing mythical Islamic state… Joining with Boko Haram gives it that very valuable publicity,” counter-terrorism expert Dr. Afzal Ashraf said.

As for ISIS, Boko Haram could give them a boost in recruitment and publicity.

ISIS has also previously accepted allegiance from jihadists in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria.

“As long as this myth of a state continues there’ll be lots of people who are attracted to them… If we just sit and watch this, it will grow. We’ve got to stop it at its origin,” Ashraf said.


Jenna Bao