Islamic State attacks in Africa rise by third in a year as UK and US authorities warn of Islamist insurgency
Article RadarTHIS ARTICLE CONNECT:
- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
Attacks by Isis in Africa have gone up by a third over the past year in a relentless rise of Islamist insurgency in the continent, Antony Blinken and Dominic Raab have warned, as they called for a united international strategy to counter the threat.
The US secretary of state and the British foreign secretary issued a statement along with ministers from the Global Coalition against Daesh [Isis], highlighting how the group has become lethally active in Africa, as well as showing signs of a resurgence in the Middle East.
The ministers pointed to a recent coordinated double suicide attack in Baghdad as evidence that the group has been able to “rebuild its networks and capabilities to target security forces and civilians” in regime-held areas of Syria, and that this could enable it to carry out operations in other areas.
The coalition emphasised that there was a “serious and growing threat” in Africa, with jihadi violence in a swathe of states, including those in the Sahel region. There have recently been attacks on aid workers in the Chad Basin region, continuing conflict in Mali, and Isis and al-Shabaab-affiliated fighters have launched an offensive in Mozambique, with civilians being beheaded.
The British military, under UN auspices, are part of the international force in Mali and also have training missions in a number of African countries, including Kenya and Somalia.
The recent integrated review into defence and foreign policies has led to the formation of a new special operations Brigade – the core of which will be four battalions of the new Ranger Regiment – which is likely to deploy to Africa.
Mozambique, a Commonwealth country, could be one of the destinations, according to senior officers. Separately, the Foreign Office stated that it was “looking closely at the terrible events ongoing in Mozambique and is in close contact with the authorities on this”.
The attacks last week on the town of Palma, in Cabo Delgado province, in northern Mozambique, were the most serious in four years and pose a severe threat to the country’s economy, with sites of natural resources, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, in danger. The government has been unable to stem the assaults, and the largely conscripted force in the area is said to be poorly armed and demoralised.
Mr Raab said: “Two years on from the territorial defeat of Daesh and the liberation of nearly 8 million people from its cruel grip, we remain committed to preventing its resurgence.
“The UK is supporting partner forces confronting Daesh in Iraq and Syria, stabilising liberated communities, building institutions so that terrorists face justice, and leading efforts against its twisted propaganda.”