Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS), according to an audio statement.
In the recording, a man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abu Bakr Shekau offers the group’s support and says the militants will “hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity.”
- ‘We announce our allegiance to the Caliph… and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity.’
The recording identified ‘the Caliph’ as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS and self-proclaimed caliph of the Muslim world.
The statement could not be immediately verified by BBC. The SITE intelligence group, which monitors extremist websites, said Saturday that the recording was posted Boko Haram’s Twitter account.
The message means that ISIS now has a foothold in Nigeria, as well as controlling swathes of Iraq and Syria and parts of Egypt and Libya.
Baghdadi has already accepted pledges of allegiance from other jihadist groups in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and north Africa as he seeks to expand their reign of terror.
Boko Haram began a military campaign to impose Islamic rule in northern Nigeria in 2009. The conflict has since spread to neighbouring states.