A group of fighters from the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram promised loyalty to rival group, the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP, for its acronym in English), weeks after the death of the former leader of the terrorist organization, according to a video released on its digital channels.
The video feeds the fears that ISWAP is consolidating control of the insurgency in northeastern Nigeria following the death of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau last month. But not all observers are convinced that the video is proof that all Boko Haram fighters are willing to join ISWAP.
The groups have maintained a violent rivalry for years and if ISWAP absorbs the Boko Haram fighters could focus its attention on attacking the Nigerian army.
Some 350,000 people have died as a result of the 12-year insurgency and the subsequent humanitarian crisis, the United Nations declared this week.
The video, produced by the official media arm of the Islamic State, showed fragments of several hundred men, many of them armed, gathered in the bush.
On Monday, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blink, he warned that, despite his defeat, Islamic State elements in Iraq and Syria “still aspire to carry out large-scale attacks,” for which he urged his partners in the international counterterrorism coalition to maintain efforts on the ground.
Together with his Italian counterpart, Luigi Di Maio, he proposed the creation of a Task Force on Africa to integrate the countries of that continent, where terrorist expansion is evident.
Both agreed that despite the progress made “There is much to do“And Blinken highlighted, among the priorities, the fight” against residual elements in Iraq and Syria “, to prevent ISIS from regaining ground in the territory where it installed its” caliphate “between the two countries and that the coalition defeated in 2019. .
For his part, Di Maio thanked Ghana, Mozambique and Burkina Faso for the presence “as invited observers” before proposing the creation of “a Working Group dedicated to Africa, which addresses the problem as a whole (…) with the participation of African countries interested in making their contribution. “
“ISIS has been defeated in its territorial dimension, but it has not been eradicated “said the Italian diplomat. Although “the threat in Iraq and Syria remains central to the coalition’s engagement, we cannot fail to address its global ramifications, especially on the African continent and, in particular, in the Sahel, whose stability is crucial also for Europe and the Expanded Mediterranean ”, he added.
(With information from Reuters and EFE)