Updated: March 8, 2015 @ 9pm ET:
Over 50 persons were killed in Nigeria on Saturday in at least three separate blasts, not long after Nigerian terror group Boko Haram pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State.
The blasts occurred in Maiduguri, the capital of the tumultuous Borno state, an area that Boko Haram is pratically running outside of the elected government. Four suicide bombers — three women and a man — carried out the attacks, according to witnesses, reports CNN.
Early reports indicate that at least 54 people were killed and another 139 were wounded in the suicide attacks.
In the first blast, a woman dressed in a hijab got off a motorized rickshaw and blew herself up outside the Baga Road fish market around 11:20 a.m. (5:20 a.m. ET).
The next attack took place about an hour later outside Monday Market, the main one in the city, where people were lined up to go through security. Those measures — in which people are checked for explosives and guns — were set up because of the spate of Boko Haram attacks in the city and region.
Two women joined the female security line, one of whom “blew herself up, causing minimal casualty,” said witness Abdulkarim Musa. Then, as people gathered to help, the second woman detonated her explosives, said Musa, who was waiting outside the market in the male security line. The third attack occurred at a bus station.
In related news, on Sunday, Chad and Niger launched a joint army operation against Boko Haram, an intra-African push to defeat the terror group that has killed thousands, reports Al-Jazeera.
Nigerian terror squad Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to ISIS, according to an audio statement released today, reports the BBC.
The message came via Twitter, as per the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau. In the past, Boko Haram has been linked to al-Qaeda. They are the ones who are behind the more than 260 missing school girls from Chibok in April 2014.
Reports the BBC:
Boko Haram began a military campaign to impose Islamic rule in northern Nigeria in 2009. The conflict has since spread to neighboring states. ISIS took control of large swathes of territory in eastern Syria and across northern and western Iraq last year.
The group aims to establish a “caliphate”, a state ruled by a single political and religious leader according to Islamic law, or Sharia. Its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is known to his followers as Caliph Ibrahim.
In the audio message posted on Saturday, the Boko Haram leader purportedly said: “We announce our allegiance to the caliph… and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity. “We call on Muslims everywhere to pledge allegiance to the caliph.”