ISIS militants have accepted a pledge of allegiance from the Nigerian-grown Boko Haram extremist group, an ISIS spokesman says. The development comes as both movements, which are among the most ruthless in the world, are under increasing military pressure. ISIS is now struggling against Iraqi forces seeking to recapture Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, while coming under fire from US-led coalition airstrikes in other parts of the country and in Syria. Boko Haram, meanwhile, has been weakened by a multinational force that has dislodged it from a score of northeastern Nigerian towns. But its new Twitter account, increasingly slick and more-frequent video messages, and a new media arm are all considered signs that the group is now being helped by ISIS propagandists.
In an audio recording released by ISIS' media arm yesterday, a spokesman said that Boko Haram's pledge of allegiance has been accepted, claiming the caliphate has now expanded to West Africa. Boko Haram followed the lead of ISIS last August by declaring an Islamic caliphate in northeastern Nigeria that grew to cover an area the size of Belgium. ISIS had declared a caliphate in vast swaths of territory that it controls in Iraq and Syria. The Nigerian group has also followed ISIS in publishing videos of beheadings. The latest one, published earlier this month, borrowed certain elements from ISIS productions, such as the sound of a beating heart and heavy breathing immediately before the execution, according to SITE Intelligence Group.