Experts are now exploring the deepening connections between Nigeria-based radical Islamic insurgency Boko Haram (responsible for the deaths of 1,800 Christians in 2014 alone) and ISIS. In the wake of the what could be Boko Haram’s largest massacre yet (some estimate 2,000 were slaughtered in a single attack on the town of Baga), many are turning their attention to an insurgency that has perpetrated a campaign of terror for years, but whose notoriety as a preeminent terror network is just now on the rise.
01/15/2014 Nigeria (Washington Times) – With the world’s attention focused on Paris, analysts and intelligence officials are picking up an equally disturbing development on the global jihadi landscape: the growing connection between the Middle East-based Islamic State and the shadowy Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram.
The two are divided by some 3,000 miles, and U.S. intelligence sources say they cannot confirm the groups are sharing fighters or coordinating operations. But a growing number of terrorism specialists outside the government say Washington is ignoring a dangerous tactical and ideological convergence between the groups that has been mounting for months.
“Boko Haram is meticulously choreographing the images and symbolism in its videos to Islamic State videos,” said Jacob Zenn, an African and Eurasian affairs analyst at the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation, who noted the Nigerian group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, declared his own “caliphate” in Africa just a month after Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did the same thing in Iraq.
Shekau also pledged support to al-Baghdadi’s group in a video circulated by Boko Haram in July, and has, in the months since, begun including the jihadi black banner as well as the Islamic State’s de facto anthem, ‘My Umma, Dawn has Arrived,’ to “the musical repertoire on its videos,” said Peter J. Pham, who heads the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council.
“They play it in the background while they’re sawing a guy’s head off,” said Mr. Pham, referring to a video that appeared on the Internet in October showing a Boko Haram member beheading a captured Nigerian Air Force pilot.
Recent editions of the Islamic State’s glossy propaganda magazine “Dabiq” have also made explicit reference to Boko Haram’s kidnapping of Christian women in northern Nigeria as justification for its own kidnapping and sexual enslavement of non-Muslim women in Iraq.