The leader of Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (EI), which controls a large part of Iraq and Syria, in an audio message Saturday, March 7. This is a simple audio recording accompanied a picture of a microphone, whereas usually Shekau is visible in the messages it broadcasts, mostly in close-up.

“We proclaim our allegiance to the caliph [Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of the EI,we listen and that we obey in difficulties as in prosperity,” said the voice pronouncing this message, identified as that of Abubakar Shekau. The recording was broadcast on the Twitter account of Boko Haram.

Reconciliation for several months

The authenticity of the message could not be verified at the moment, but the leader of Boko Haram is clearly identified on the tape. Another sign of the credibility of this allegiance, several signs of rapprochement between the two groups were observed in recent months, particularly in the modes of communication, video Boko Haram sitting down to look more and more to those of EI . In February, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said he had evidence of links between Boko Haram and EI, without saying more.

This announcement comes as Boko Haram appears to have been challenged by the Nigerian army, supported by its allies Chad, Niger and Cameroon, the Islamists took over several strategic cities. Threatened, the Islamist group gathered this week troops in his stronghold of Gwoza, while the killing of civilians continued.