Terrorist groups invade Africa


Mpho Tebele

Gaborone – Africa has been the new center of global terrorism and extremism since June 2021, according to a United Nations Security Council report.

Highlighting the rise of Islamic State affiliates trying to establish caliphates across Africa, the Security Council said global counterterrorism efforts should increasingly focus on the continent.

The Security Council has five permanent members – Britain, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – and 10 rotating non-permanent seats.

According to the UN report, “The most striking development during the reporting period was the emergence of Africa as the region most affected by terrorism, and in which the highest number of victims inflicted by terrorist groups. designated under Security Council resolution 1267 (1999) have taken place. . “

He continues: “One of the most disturbing events in early 2021 was the deteriorating security situation in Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique, where the local ISIL affiliate has been operating. stormed and briefly held a strategic port near the border with the United Republic of Tanzania. before retreating with the loot, positioning it for future raids in the area.

UN body warns terrorists continue to recruit new fighters into their ranks under the leadership of Tanzanian Ahmed Mahmoud Hassan, and draws supporters from Burundi, DRC and Kenya; while noting that “some South African and Kenyan members of ISCAP are believed to be former supporters of Al-Qaida”.

“As a destination for economic migrants, Cabo Delgado is an easy arena to which ISCAP (province of the Islamic State of Central Africa) can transfer staff. The region also hosts many trafficking activities and is a major entry point into Africa for drugs from Asia, ”the report said.

ISCAP is said to be self-financing through informal and illegal means.

“The members live in hiding and extort local populations. The group has raised between US $ 1 million and US $ 2 million through looting of banks in the region. Official administrative buildings were searched and identity cards, driver’s licenses and passports presumably stolen. It has also demonstrated its ability to operate at sea, ”says the report.

The report notes that the autonomy of ISCAP, the large number of small operational cells and the absence of significant counterterrorism measures have effectively turned the group into a major threat with the potential to develop further, perhaps to the west or north of Tanzania.

In DRC, ISCAP extended its area of ​​operation in early 2021 to the provinces of North Kivu, Ituri, South Kivu and Tanganyika, attacking military and civilian targets.

As for North Africa, the report says that in Morocco there is a growing threat from supporters of Al-Qaida and ISIS.

He says Algeria’s security is compromised by instability across its southern borders into Mali and Niger.

“About 700 Algerian nationals have joined ISIL and Al-Qaida in the conflict zone. Some 140, including 95 binationals, remain active abroad; 445 were reported as inactive, of which 240 died.

The report states that the Tunisian affiliate of Al-Qaida Uqbah ibn Nafi ‘Battalion recently lost five of its senior members, weakening its capabilities and forcing it into further hiding; while in Libya, six ISIS operatives were recently arrested by a counterterrorism task force.

In Egypt, according to the report, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM), who pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014, has between 800 and 1,200 fighters.

In West Africa, the report says the reported death in May 2021 of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Mohammed Shekau has significantly weakened this terrorist group.

The report says the reported coup in Mali on May 24 underscores the country’s political instability.

“JNIM has consolidated its influence by claiming more and more populated areas and engaging with local actors. Community leaders are forced to engage in dialogue with JNIM affiliates if they want to protect civilians from violence, as illustrated by the ceasefire agreement negotiated in March by traditional dozo hunters with the Katiba Macina in Niono’s circle, ”the report says.

The report says that a JNIM terrorist cell was dismantled in Senegal in January, but significant risks remained in Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Ghana and Togo.

Kidnappings for ransom remained the main source of funding for terrorist groups, with foreign workers being targeted. The recent mass kidnappings in northwest Nigeria have also been confirmed to be for-profit activities.

Turning to East Africa, the UN report indicates that Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahidin (Al-Shabaab), affiliated with Al-Qaida, continued its operations in Somalia, exploiting the security vacuum created by the concern of the security forces with the pre-election violence.

“In southern and central Somalia, the group encountered little resistance to seize several towns and villages in areas previously hostile to them. Heavily armed combatants have entered Mogadishu and have occupied strategic positions from which they continue to plan and carry out attacks, forcing residents to flee. The US military withdrawal and the partial withdrawal of the African Union mission in Somalia have left Somali special forces struggling to contain Al-Shabaab without strategic support, ”the report said.

The report states that Al-Shabaab has increased the use of drones to conduct reconnaissance overflights and record the activities of security forces.

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