"On March 7, 2015, Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Nigerian Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram, released a statement pledging loyalty to the leader of the Syria/Iraq-based Islamic State (IS/ISIL) organization, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. Al Baghdadi has yet to respond publicly, as he has done with other pledges. Shekau had previously voiced support for both Al Baghdadi and Al Qaeda's leader Ayman al Zawahiri, but had not formally pledged allegiance to either. In recent months, some analysts suggested that the Nigerian group's increasingly sophisticated use of video and social media, and its taking of territory, might reflect influence or inspiration from the self-styled Islamic State. In February, a jihadi media group hinted on Twitter that Boko Haram was considering such a pledge. Shekau's latest message raises a series of questions about its meaning and implications. Open source reporting does not currently point to direct organizational ties between the groups. However, media reports of relations between the Islamic State organization and groups in North Africa suggest that IS leaders may use clandestine outreach efforts."
CRS Insight, IN10242
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html