Loss of territories elsewhere makes Africa more attractive to islamists
By Akpo Ometan
The renewed spate of Islamists attacks in Africa is becoming most worrisome, analysts are saying. And even more troubling is a seeming bent by the groups to pitch some of their strikes at nations that are engaged in cementing their democratic political processes.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo for example, there has been a worrying upsurge in attacks carried out in the past few weeks, and ahead of critical presidential elections that have been scheduled for December 23. The Allied Democratic Forces, ADF in particular, has been fingered as being at the centre of many of the militia strikes in the country recently, and which has contributed to making the nation even more unsafe for health workers who have for months been battling to bring that nation’s worst Ebola virus attack under control.
No fewer than seven United Nations peacekeepers and 12 Congolese troops were killed in the latest offensive by the ADF. There have also been attacks in Somalia in the past few weeks which are believed to have been carried out by Al-Shabab.
Analysts say that while there are indeed no clear links between the rising spate of Islamist attacks and the operations of the better known terrorist groupings such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS, the fact of the dislodging of the bigger groups from their primary bases in nations like Afghanistan and Iraq have put pressure on them to find safer areas and territories from where they can more effectively coordinate their terrorist deployments the world over and with less room of being obliterated.
It is this that sources say has put even more pressure on the African continent where on account of factors such as the high incidence of widespread poverty, poor governance and massive income disparities, Islamists have over the years continued to make inroads in the region.
Other notable African countries that have continued to be at the receiving end of Islamists bombardments include Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire. Others are Libya, Egypt, Cameroon, Niger and Senegal.
In Nigeria, the better known of all of the Islamists is Boko Haram, a trans-national grouping which has been in operations in the country in the past decade. Eliminating it was one of the most prominent pre-election campaign promises of the Muhammadu Buhari administration that is seeking a second term in office in February, 2019.