Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

A group of fighters from Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram pledged allegiance to rivals the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) weeks after the former group’s leader died, according to a video seen by Reuters.

The video fuels 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 the video is proof that all Boko Haram fighters are ready to join ISWAP.

The groups engaged in a violent rivalry for years, and if ISWAP absorbs Boko Haram fighters, it could focus attention on attacking the Nigerian military.

Story continues below advertisement

Some 350,000 people have died as a result of the 12-year insurgency and subsequent humanitarian crisis, the United Nations said this week.

The video, produced by Islamic State’s official media arm, showed clips of several hundred men, many of whom were armed, gathering in the bush. Several made statements to camera.

“We will unite together to fight the (unbelievers),” one Boko Haram fighter said in Hausa. “What will happen now will by far exceed what transpired in the past now that we’re united.”

Vincent Foucher, a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research who is an expert on the conflict, said the video adds to evidence that ISWAP was gaining control.

“It is one more indication that ISWAP has won,” he said.

Foucher said other indicators of ISWAP’s consolidation of power included its claims of attacks in areas that had been Boko Haram zones of influence and a significant drop in violence against civilians in areas where Boko Haram operated.

However, Bulama Bukarti, a senior analyst with the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, dismissed the video as propaganda, noting that it did not feature senior Boko Haram leaders.

Story continues below advertisement

“I think Boko Haram is still very much divided and they will continue to fight each other,” Bukarti said.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies