The leader of the Islamic State (IS) militant group has accepted a pledge of allegiance from Nigerian Islamic militants in the group Boko Haram.
IS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani said in an audio message posted online late on March 12 that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “has accepted the pledge of loyalty of our brothers of Boko Haram” in West Africa.
Boko Haram has killed thousands of people and kidnapped hundreds during a six-year campaign aimed at carving out an Islamist state in northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram declared its loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last week as Nigerian military forces launched an offensive against the group and troops from neighboring Chad and Niger announced ground and air operations against Boko Haram militants in northeastern Nigeria.
IS militants in Syria and Iraq also face increased pressure from air strikes by a U.S.-led international coalition and a ground offensive in Tikrit by Iraqi government forces, Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia, and local Sunni tribal fighters.