In their latest video released Monday, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau vowed to defeat the military force launched by the African Union to take down the militant group. The video was the first released by the group to include images of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“Your alliance will not achieve anything,” Shekau said in Arabic, according to the Agence France-Presse. “Amass all your weapons and face us. We welcome you.”
Members of the Islamic State expect “good news from Africa,” indicating hopes of a formal allegiance with Boko Haram, a French news network reported today.
In the wake of deadly Boko Haram attacks in Niger yesterday afternoon, Niger’s Parliament voted unanimously to send 750 troops to join the existing forces from Chad, Cameroon, Benin and Nigeria. Boko Haram raided a prison and set a car bomb in the town of Diffa in southeast Niger just hours before yesterday’s vote was scheduled.
The al Qaeda-funded terrorist group is also suspected of kidnapping 20 passengers on a bus traveling to Mora, Cameroon on Sunday, killing 12 before releasing the rest. The regional conflict is reported to be the cause of 13,000 deaths since 2009.
“You send 7,000 troops? Why don't you send 70 million?” Shekau asked in the video. “This is small. Only 7,000? By Allah, it is small. We can seize them one-by-one.”
Nigerian national elections, originally scheduled for February 14, have been postponed until March 28 due to a lack of security in the nation. National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki announced Monday that the date would not be moved again.
“All known Boko Haram camps will be taken out,” Dasuki said, according to Al Jazeera. “They won't be there. They will be dismantled.”
Shekau’s speech addresses Boko Haram’s role on the world stage of jihad. While he has dropped al-Baghdadi’s name in previous videos, this is the first time images of the IS leader have been shown.
“We never rose up to fight Africa. We rose up to fight the world,” Shekau said in the video. “We are going to fight the world on the principle that whoever doesn't obey Allah and the Prophet to either obey or die or become a slave.”
Shekau also threatened Chad’s President Idriss Deby directly, saying that he will “burn in hellfire.”
The U.S. State Department is responding to requests from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, and will increase support in counter-terrorism efforts in the region, the State Department articulated in a recent briefing.
“Nigeria now stands as a symbol of what we need to help,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) at a briefing on Capitol Hill last week. “This is not Nigeria's problem: this is a problem that’s going to be in the continent, that’s going to be in the region. If ISIS began to spread it’s ugliness, what would in fact happen?”