With the Multinational Joint Taskforce reportedly launching an effective unified aerial and land assault against Islamic terrorist sect Boko Haram starting in March, leader Abubaker Shekau announced that he is officially pledging the sect’s support to the nefarious Islamic State (IS), according to the BBC.
Keep Up With Face2Face Africa On Facebook!
Boko Haram claimed international infamy after they abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls as they prepared for exams in Chibok.
It would later also surface that just two months earlier, in February, they would also kill 59 boys at Federal Government College in Yobe State in an attack.
And while the kidnappings and murder prompted the international community to demand that Boko Haram be brought to justice, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan appeared almost indifferent to the demands that would make the erasing of Boko Haram a priority.
After terrorizing Nigeria in earnest, with the senseless killings, suicide bombings, and incessant kidnappings of civilians in northeastern Nigeria, neighboring countries, such as Cameroon, were forced to join in on the battle when Boko Haram began venturing outside of Nigeria and bringing their violence and mayhem to their bordertown communities.
By February, Boko Haram had also brazenly advanced in to Niger and Chad, causing civilians from those respective countries to also be displaced.
Consequently, the countries of Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Benin, and Nigeria agreed to create the aforementioned Multinational Task Force in order to bring the scourge of the region to a definitive stop.
This week, military chiefs from Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad, and Benin are reportedly meeting in Chad to put the finishing touches on their ground and air assault against Boko Haram, which is slated to start in earnest next month, according to various reports.
For the Multinational Joint Task Force, 3,500 soldiers will come from Nigeria and Chad, while 750 will come from Cameroon and Niger, and Benin will come in with the smallest contribution at 250.
Already, the force has made major gains in recent weeks, with their recapturing of a number of key towns and villages in northeastern Nigeria.
Military officials hope that the nearly 9,000-strong force will be enough to permanently stamp out Boko Haram.
On Saturday, the Force made headlines with its more than 200-vehicle convoy and airstrikes near Niger’s shared border with Nigeria.
Their offensive endured in to Sunday.
And in the first week of the aggressive offensive, Boko Haram already appears to be feeling the pressure.
Diabolical leader Shekau announced that he was officially pledging Boko Haram’s support behind the Islamic State, whose greatest claim to fame has been beheading Christians and foreign journalists…then posting these exploits to YouTube.
The pledge was posted online on Saturday in an audio message by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.
He called on Muslims everywhere to swear loyalty to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Many have suspected for a while now that Boko Haram may have Islamic State backing.
Militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan — in addition to those located in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula — have also pledged their allegiance to IS.
The theory of an IS-backed Boko Haram became more of a reality recently when Boko Haram launched their Twitter account weeks ago.
This is the first time the terrorist organization has taken to the fast-moving social media network. Up until that point, the only media outlet Boko Haram used for its propaganda was the occasional low-quality videotaped recording of its leader Abubakar Shekau taunting his enemies and threatening more violence across Nigeria and other African nations in the name of Sharia law.
[But now] there are concrete signs (i.e., updated branding and high photo and video quality) that the two groups may be connected.
In addition, while there may not be an officially announced alliance between Boko Haram and IS, the two groups have nearly identical ideologies of forcing the regions they occupy to bow under their Islamic rule.
Shekau has also praised the efforts of IS across Iraq and Syria, and has continued to order attacks across northeastern Nigeria and more recently in Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.
Either way, Nigerian officials perceive Shekau’s announcement as a clear “sign of weakness.”
“Basically he’s just trying to create panic to create a plea for help that will not even come because very soon we will see to the end of the insurgency in Nigeria.”
Still, Boko Haram didn’t take the weekend attacks sitting down. In fact, they maintained their defensive/offensive by reportedly sending out a suicide bomber in to Borno state capital Maiduguri, killing more than 50 people.