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U.S. says no major link between Islamic State, Boko Haram

PHOTO:AFP

PHOTO:AFP

United States (U.S.) officials yesterday said there was no evidence that Boko Haram has received significant operational support or financing from Islamic State (IS).”

According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in Washington DC, said more than a year after the group’s pledge of allegiance, it has no link with IS.

He added that after Boko Haram killed more than 24 soldiers in Niger last week, it claimed the attack in the name of Islamic State, West Africa Province, a title meant to tell the world that it was an arm of the Syria-based extremist group.

The official suggested that Boko Haram’s loyalty pledge had so far mostly been a branding exercise designed to boost its international Jihadi credentials, attract recruits and appeal to the IS leadership for assistance.

He said the U.S. view of Boko Haram, which won global infamy for its 2014 kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls, as a locally-focused, home-grown insurgency likely to keep the group more to the margins of the U.S. fight against Islamic State in Africa.

The official said U.S. military’s attention was largely centered on Libya, home to Islamic State’s strongest affiliate outside the Middle East and where the U.S. carried out air strikes.

He said: “No such direct U.S. intervention is currently being contemplated against Boko Haram.

Another official referred to it as an African fight and U.S. could only assist.

The official said: “It is not an American fight, rather, it is an African fight and we can assist them, but it’s their fight.’’

Besides, a senior U.S. official said securities were closely watching for any increased threat to Americans from Boko Haram and any confirmation of media reports of deepening ties with IS.

He said: “In spite of suffering a series of set-backs, Boko Haram remains lethal.”




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