Extremist Triangle a Growing Threat to Africa and America
The growing influence of Islamic radicals in Africa is posing threat to the security of Africa and the United States. These Islamic extremist groups are also responsible for killing Christians in Africa.
By Larry Shaughnessy
06/25/2012 Islam (CNN)-The man in charge of U.S. Africa Command calls growing cooperation between "the three most violent" Islamic extremists groups in Africa a concern for Africa and America.
Gen. Carter Ham, USAFRICOM commander, spoke Monday to a meeting of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies.
He spelled out three major threats from al Qaeda-linked groups facing Africa and the troops in his command.
"In Somalia especially, Al Shabaab's presence has denied delivery of United Nations" humanitarian assistance to the strife-torn nation, according to Ham.
"We're increasingly concerned about al Qaeda in the land of Islamic Maghreb, AQIM," Ham said. "AQIM now has essentially a safe haven in a large portion of Mali and is operating essentially unconstrained. And we have seen through media reporting, just as you have, in many cases very harsh imposition of Sharia law through much of northern Mali."
Regarding Nigeria, he said, "Of concern is the growing strength and growing violent behavior of what I would call the more extremist view of Boko Haram."
Ham said alone, each of these groups represents a risk to the region. But, he said, "What really concerns me are the indications that the three organizations are seeking to coordinate and synchronize their efforts, in other words to establish a cooperative effort amongst the three most violent organizations. And I think that's a problem for America and for African security in general."
A week ago, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a series of bombings at Christian churches that killed at least 50 worshippers. According to Boko Haram's statement, "from now on, they either follow the right religion or there will be no peace for them."
"A large permanent military presence on the continent of Africa is not what any of us desire. And the reality is that in this period of fiscal constraint, simply the cost of establishing a new headquarters would be extremely high and not a cost that I could recommend," Ham said.