Boko Haram’s pledge of allegiance to the ISIS group was a sign of weakness and a result of pressure on the jihadi militants by Nigeria and its allies, the government in Abuja said Tuesday.

National security spokesman Mike Omeri called the pledge “an act of desperation and comes at a time when Boko Haram is suffering heavy losses.”

The Islamists’ leader Abubakar Shekau made the announcement in an audio message Saturday night after months of indications that Boko Haram was seeking a formal tie-up.

Troops from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger have claimed a series of successes against the militants since last month, pushing them out of captured territory in northeast Nigeria.

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