ISIL seeking to recruit extremists throughout Africa

ISIL seeking to recruit extremists throughout Africa
Sun Aug 31, 2014 08:21:10

So-called Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militant group has set its sights outside the Middle East and has emboldened extremists in Africa operating in voids left by weak governments and rampant corruption, analysts warned.

The ISIL advance has sparked concern in Africa, with leaders from across the continent meeting Tuesday in Kenya to discuss the threat, the first such conference organized by the African Union.

The terrorist group of ISIL who belong to the Al-Qaeda franchise have already firmly implanted themselves across swathes of territory: from Nigeria's Boko Haram, extremists in the Sahel to Shebab fighters in the Horn of Africa.

"The scale and sophistication of recent attacks, along with the increased regionalization of terrorism by Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Al-Shebab, demand a more robust collective response, both at the regional and continental level," warned the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in a recent paper.

African spy chiefs, who met in Nairobi this week ahead of the conference, voiced concern that militants on the continent may be inspired by ISIL terrorists.

Spy chiefs, who gathered for the AU's Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), said in a final communique that key threats and challenges included "alliances being built by terror groups worldwide, sophisticated sources of funding" as well as Africa's "porous borders".

African militants are apparently watching and learning from ISIL, although there is little evidence of direct links between the groups.

Nigeria's Boko Haram, a funded local uprising made up of poor youths with little tactical training, has, like ISIL, also declared a self-declared "Islamic caliphate".

But by evoking a Nigerian caliphate, experts suggest leader Abubakar Shekau was trying to raise his own profile rather than submit to like-minded extremists in the Middle East.


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