With all due respect to Nigerian media, it should be noted that at the time of this writing, only Nigerian outlets seem to be reporting on the alleged death of five Boko Haram militants in Mosul, Iraq, where they were said to be training with Islamic State fighters.
Obviously this would be a story of great concern to Nigerians, but it’s a big deal for everyone fighting ISIS to receive confirmation of direct operational ties between the terror state and its African affiliate. Boko Haram’s oath of allegiance to the Islamic State and its “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, are a matter of public record, but the degree of effective coordination between the two groups remains a matter of great interest.
With this caveat in mind, the Daily Sun, Premium Times, and Daily Post of Nigeria are all reporting on the death of the five Boko Haram operatives in Mosul, apparently based on information from Kurdish sources.
The Daily Sun sources the account to a Kurdish Democratic Party spokesperson in Mosul, who said the Mosul Youth Resistance Movement, a recently-formed anti-ISIS guerrilla force, attacked a group of visiting Boko Haram members “in the Dargaza neighborhood of Eastern Mosul on Wednesday, killing five of them.”
The KDP spokesman, Saed Mamuzini, said the Nigerian militants “were in Mosul to take part in a military training course conducted by Islamic State.”
The Daily Sun goes on to report on ISIS-style suicide bomb attacks in Boko Haram’s surprise attack on the northeastern Nigerian town of Maiduguri, which was recaptured from the militant gang by Nigerian military forces in March.
In fact, the Daily Sun’s sources in a Maiduguri civilian militia said the Boko Haram suicide bombers were women, who lured the town’s defenders close by crying for help, and then began “exploding one after the other.” The report claims the string of explosions killed nine female bombers, six members of the Civilian JTF youth militia, and some other civilians caught in the blast, with disputed claims that several soldiers from the Nigerian army were also killed or injured. A curfew has been imposed on Maiduguri in the wake of the attack.
The Daily Post notes rumors that ISIS assisted Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau in fleeing Nigeria. Formerly a vivacious media presence, Shekau went dark in March after swearing fealty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. A Council on Foreign Relations report from late April noted there hasn’t been a confirmed public sighting of Shekau since 2009, so there’s no telling whether he’s actually in Nigeria, when he departed, if he has fled, where he went, or even if the man appearing in Boko Haram’s ISIS-inspired propaganda videos is even the original “Abubakar Shekau.”