Over the course of last nine months, the Islamic State has expanded out of its original borders in Syria and Iraq and now has presence in several African countries, Le Monde reported.
Two days ago, Nigeria’s militant group Boko Haram pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State.
“We announce our allegiance to the Caliph… and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity, in hardship and ease. We call upon Muslims everywhere to pledge allegiance to the Caliph.” – said an English translation of Boko Haram’s audio broadcast in Arabic.
The caliph, identified in the Boko Haram’s message, is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State and self-proclaimed caliph of the entire Muslim world.
Boko Haram is the latest ISIL addition. The group already has working “franchises” in Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Africa.
In September of 2014, an Algerian jihadist group made entrance onto the scene of international jihadism after the murder of French tourist Herve Gourdel in Kabylie. Ten days prior to that incident, the group announced their allegiance to al-Baghdadi and promised to provide the Caliph with “men who will follow orders”, Le Monde said.
A month later, a small town in the eastern part of Libya turned into a regional hub of the Islamic State, after a local militant group joined the Islamic State. Since then, the province of Cyrenaica was incorporated into the Caliphate and became a breeding ground for terrorists.
In November of last year, Egyptian jihadist group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis became another Islamic State ally based out of Africa. The group was responsible for numerous attacks against the Egyptian government, mostly in the Sinai Peninsula and the Nile Delta. A little over a month ago, the terrorists launched a series of deadly attacks in the city of Arish, killing 27 people.
Some might think that despite the US-led international campaign to halt ISIL advances, the terrorist group keeps getting stronger and its influence keeps spreading across the Muslim world. However, others, like Pierre Buyoya, the former president of Burundi and the current head of African Union peacekeeping mission in Chad, disagree:
“This [Boko Haram’s merge with the Islamic State] is not a new recruitment for the Islamic State. Militants already existed in Africa well before the Islamic State… All they expect now is more visibility and perhaps financial support.” – Buyoya said, commenting on the whole recruitment process of the Islamic State in Africa.