The New Arab, November 2021
While ten years ago there were only two significant Africa-based violent extremist groups – Nigeria-based Boko Haram and Somalia-based al-Shabab – a new report by HORN International Institute for Strategic Studies shows that today there are at least ten active extremist groups operating on the continent. Despite the number of global deaths linked to terrorist attacks declining since 2014, according to the Global Terrorism Index, the number of casualties in Africa, conversely, has dramatically increased. Moreover, the HORN IISS’ report finds that the expansion of militant groups in Africa corresponds with the decrease in similar activity in the Middle East following the ‘defeat’ of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria.
IS and al-Qaeda affiliated groups have been rapidly spreading their influence across Africa, where the “Islamic State in the Greater Sahara” killed hundreds of civilians in 2021 alone and carried out attacks in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger. Meanwhile, the insurgency earlier this year by local Islamic State affiliate – named Al-Shabab – in northern Mozambique, which saw the jihadists seize and hold the strategic port of Mocimboa da Praia in Cabo Delgado province near the border with Tanzania, is a clear sign that the continent is facing the threat of an eruption of terrorism that could have far-reaching implications.