Across Africa’s 5-15 window, Islamic militancy is on the rise as insurgencies in Nigeria, the Central African Republic and the East African Horn fight for separate Islamic states to be ruled by Sharia law. Boko Haram in Nigeria has slaughtered more than 1,600 Christians this year alone in its campaign for an Islamic Caliphate in the country’s remote northeast. Séléka, a coalition of radical Islamic mercenaries and enthused Central Africans that staged a coup in March of last year, continue to stoke sectarian violence between Christian and animist anti-balaka (anti-machete) forces and armed Islamic militants. And al-Shabaab, a radical Islamic insurgency based out of Somalia, has committed several attacks this year on Christians and civilians on Kenya’s coast, in addition to executing Christians and assassinating pro-Western Prime Ministers in Somalia.
08/19/2014 Africa (RT) – Even without the huge amount of dollars coming from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, as happens in Syria and Iraq, in recent years Islamic extremism has found fertile ground to flourish in Africa.
In 2013 and 2014, Kenya, Somalia, Algeria, Mali, Nigeria and Tunisia have been theaters of some of the bloodiest terrorist actions that the African continent has ever seen. African terrorist groups are proselytizing, primarily because Africa’s Islamists are able to take advantage of the fact that many of the continent’s countries have porous borders, vulnerable and corrupt central governments, undertrained and underequipped armies and booming drug trades that provide a steady source of income.
Elsewhere on the continent, Islamist militancy has been very active in West Africa, particularly in Nigeria, where Boko Haram is fighting to establish a ‘pure’ Islamist state based on Sharia law, killing hundreds of people in attacks on schools, army bases and churches. The information that Boko Haram is trying to connect with Al-Qaeda-linked groups in North Africa to expand Islamist influence in this uncontrolled area without rules and without the presence of strong governments is nothing new. Indeed members of Boko Haram have also traveled to Somalia, where they have been trained by the current leaders of Al-Shabaab.
Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militant group, an inflexible offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union that was removed from power in 2006 by the Ethiopian army, has been responsible for some of the worst atrocities: perhaps the best-known is the attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi in September 2013. Al-Shabaab can proselytize in a poor country left to its own devices, and it finances its activities with drug trafficking, ivory smuggling and piracy, which has led it to carry out terrorist attacks outside Somalia – in Kenya, for sure, but also in Uganda.
It is advisable to keep one eye on Syria and Iraq, and the other on Africa, as the next expression of militant Islam is likely to come from this area.