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No major link between Islamic State, Boko Haram – US officials

United States officials yesterday said there was no evidence that Boko Haram had received significant operational support or financing from the Islamic State (IS). An…

United States officials yesterday said there was no evidence that Boko Haram had received significant operational support or financing from the Islamic State (IS).
An official who spoke on condition of anonymity in Washington, said more than a year after the group’s pledge of allegiance, it had no link with IS.
He added that after Boko Haram killed more than two dozen 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 US view of Boko Haram, which won global infamy for its 2014 kidnapping of 276 school girls, as a locally-focused, home-grown insurgency likely to keep the group more to the margins of the US fight against Islamic State in Africa.
The official said the US military’s attention was largely centered on Libya, home to Islamic State’s strongest affiliate outside the Middle East and where the US carried out air strikes.
He stressed that no such direct US intervention was currently being contemplated against Boko Haram.
“If there is no meaningful connection between ISIL and Boko Haram and we haven’t found one so far, then there are no grounds for US military involvement in West Africa other than assistance and training,” he said.
Another official referred to it as an African fight and the US could only assist.
The official said it was not an American fight, “Rather, it is an African fight and we can assist them, but it’s their fight.”
A senior US 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. (Reuters/NAN)
 

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