Boko Haram have released a video purporting to show the beheading of two men, the feared group’s first online posting using advanced graphics and editing techniques reminiscent of footage from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The film, released Monday, shows Boko Haram fighters standing behind the two men who are on their knees, their hands tied behind their backs, with one man standing over them, holding a knife.
One of the men is made to tell the camera that the pair had been paid by authorities to spy on the militant group, before the film moves to another scene showing their decapitated bodies. It was not possible to confirm the film's authenticity or date.
The footage will stoke concerns that Boko Haram, which is seeking to carve out a separatist state in northeast Nigeria to be governed along its own interpretation of Islamic law, is expanding its scope and seeking inspiration from global networks like ISIL.
The group has killed thousands and kidnapped hundreds more in their brutal campaign against civilians. In recent months, Boko Haram has stepped up cross-border raids into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
The Boko Haram film's use of graphics, the footage of black-clad radicals with a black flag and the editing to show only the aftermath of the beheading, were particularly reminiscent of recent clips released by ISIL, which has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria and killed a number of hostages in high profile propaganda videos.
In the Boko Haram film, one of the men says he comes from Baga in Borno state, and the other says he is from Michika in Adamawa state, both areas where the army says it has recently recaptured territory from Boko Haram.
Past Boko Haram films have been much cruder affairs, often featuring a man identified as leader Abubakar Shekau talking more about local gripes rather than wider conflict. A number of recent releases have included much more gruesome footage of beheadings.
Al Jazeera and Reuters