National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen drew attention to “the increased intercommunication between Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the northern part of, the northwestern part of Africa, and even with ISIL” during a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
He then pointed out that these extremist groups were broadening their reach through mutual contact.
“All of that just adds to the picture of an interconnected terrorist network with the ability to share resources, personnel, expertise and tradecraft in a way that serves as a multiplier to their own capabilities, and that’s a disturbing trend,” Rasmussen told the panel.
Boko Haram has previously been known to mirror the so-called Islamic State’s online media campaigns and push for a land grab, in a way that could have paved the road to future coordination.
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.