ALGIERS - Intelligence reports show there is coordination between the Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram and the Algerian-based north African branch of al- Qaida, the Algerian deputy foreign minister said on Sunday.
Boko Haram has killed dozens of people in Nigeria, and Western security experts say any link-up with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) could make it a more potent threat, especially to Nigeria's energy sector.
"We have no doubts that coordination exists between Boko Haram and al- Qaida," Abdelkader Messahel told reporters. "The way both groups operate and intelligence reports show that there is cooperation."
AQIM grew out of a conflict in Algeria between the government and Islamist militants. In the past few years it has expanded its activities to include Mali, Niger and Mauritania but was not thought to have reached as far south as Nigeria.