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Nigerian terror group Boko Haram 'pledge allegiance to ISIS'

NEW MESSAGE: Members of Boko Haram

NIGERIAN TERROR group Boko Haram have pledged allegiance to Islamic State (ISIS) in a new audio statement.

The message, which has not been verified, was posted on Boko Haram's Twitter account on Saturday (March 7) and is believed to be by the group's leader, Abubakar Shekau.

Boko Haram, which previously had links with al-Qaeda, began a military campaign to impose Islamic rule in northern Nigeria in 2009. The conflict has since spread to neighbouring states.

The group aims to establish a "caliphate", a state ruled by a single political and religious leader according to Islamic law, or Sharia. Its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, known to his followers as Caliph Ibrahim, is the self-proclaimed caliph of the Muslim world.

In the audio message, the Boko Haram leader said: "We announce our allegiance to the caliph... and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity.

"We call on Muslims everywhere to pledge allegiance to the caliph."

Boko Haram, which means ‘Western education is forbidden’, has carried out frequent bombings that have left thousands dead in Nigeria's north-east and has also attacked targets in the capital, Abuja.

It has been waging a six-year military campaign to carve out an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.
At least five blasts including several suicide bombings in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri left at least 50 people dead on Saturday.

Maiduguri was once the base of the Islamist group, which has been conducting a campaign of violence pushing for Islamic rule in Nigeria. At least 13,000 people have so far been killed in the campaign.

The targets included two busy markets and a bus terminal in the city. Eyewitnesses have said at least two of the suicide bombers were women.

Boko Haram has not yet commented on the attack, but it has used suicide bombers in the past and Maiduguri is its former stronghold.

Last month, experts warned Boko Haram was likely to increase its attacks on civilian targets in response to the successful campaign by government forces to retake several of the group’s former strongholds.

President Goodluck Jonathan said the tide has “definitely turned” against militant Islamists as Nigerian troops and their regional allies recapture territory.

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