Boko Haram’s pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant terrorist group was a sign of weakness and a result of pressure on the militants by Nigeria and its allies, the government in Abuja said on Tuesday.
National security spokesman Mike Omeri called the pledge “an act of desperation and comes at a time when Boko Haram is suffering heavy losses”.
Abubakar Shekau made the announcement in an audio message on Saturday night after months of indications that Boko Haram was seeking a formal tie-up. Troops from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger have claimed a series of successes against the militants since last month, pushing them out of captured territory in northeast Nigeria.
Omeri said in a statement that the four-nation coalition force was “rooting out Boko Haram out of its strongholds and degrading its combat abilities”.”Boko Haram is on the way to being eliminated,” he added. “No foreign extremists can or will change this fact — as long as the Nigerian military continues to receive cooperation and commitment from its citizens and allies.”