• COVID-19 & terrorismEU to Examine Cancellation of African Debt to Facilitate Fight against Terrorism, COVID-19

    The European Union (EU) on Tuesday, 28 April, 194 million euros in funding to the G5 Sahel countries to strengthen their security forces. In a videoconference, EU leaders said they would favorably examine a request to cancel African debt to allow African countries to continue to combat Islamist terrorism as they are facing a new challenge in COVID-19.

  • TerrorismIslamists Killed Dozens in Mozambique as Insurgency Intensifies

    More than fifty young people were shot dead or beheaded in northern Mozambique as an Islamist insurgency gains strength. Local and national security forces, as well as foreign mercenaries hired by the government – including the notorious Wagner Force from Russia — have been unable to keep the militants in check. The insurgents began their operations in 2017, and were initially claiming to represent the region’s resident in their disputes with the central government, but earlier this month the group’s leadership announced that the group’s aim was to turn Mozambique into a Muslim “caliphate.”

  • The Russia connectionFacebook, Twitter Remove Russia-Linked Fake Accounts Targeting Americans

    Social-media giants Facebook and Twitter say they have removed a number of Russia-linked fake accounts that targeted U.S. users from their operations in Ghana and Nigeria. Facebook on 12 March said the accounts it removed were in the “early stages” of building an audience on behalf of individuals in Russia, posting on topics such as black history, celebrity gossip, and fashion.

  • African securityIslamic State, Al-Qaeda “On the March" in Africa

    By Jeff Seldin

    Western-backed efforts to counter terror groups across Africa are falling short, increasing the chances one or more affiliates of Islamic State or al-Qaida could try to carve out their own caliphate on the continent, according to the latest assessment by a top U.S. commander. The stark warning, shared with lawmakers Tuesday, builds on previous intelligence showing Africa-based groups have been growing more ambitious and more capable, with some increasingly bent on targeting the West.

  • African securityIslamic State, Al-Qaida “On the March: in Africa

    By Jeff Seldin

    Western-backed efforts to counter terror groups across Africa are falling short, increasing the chances one or more affiliates of Islamic State or al-Qaida could try to carve out their own caliphate on the continent, according to the latest assessment by a top U.S. commander. The stark warning, shared with lawmakers Tuesday, builds on previous intelligence showing Africa-based groups have been growing more ambitious and more capable, with some increasingly bent on targeting the West.

  • PerspectiveWest Africa’s Democratic Progress is Slipping Away, Even as Region’s Significance Grows

    Rising authoritarianism is curtailing individual freedoms around the globe. Jon Temin and Isabel Linzer write that in an alarming development, however, the region that showed the fastest decline in political rights and civil liberties last year was West Africa, which had long been a driver of democratic gains. The warning signs have failed to spur corrective action.

  • African securityOut of Africa: U.S. Pulling Out Combat Troops Operating on Continent

    By Jeff Seldin

    The United States is starting to change its force posture in Africa, announcing it is bringing home part of an infantry brigade and replacing them with specialized military trainers. Pentagon officials described the move as “the first of many” that will impact the way the U.S. military operates on the continent, as it shifts its focus from counterterrorism to the great power competition. The shift comes as a new U.S. report warns the danger from terrorist groups in Africa is spreading and that many African forces are not ready to take on the terror threat alone.

  • African securityU.S. Says Some Troops to Stay in Africa to Counter Moves by Russia, China

    U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says the Pentagon does not intend to remove all its forces from Africa, amid concerns from allies that Washington could abandon the continent militarily while China and Russia “aggressively” look to increase their influence and as the extremist threat remains. Esper is carrying out a global troop review meant to find ways to free up more resources to address challenges from China’s military in Asia.

  • PerspectiveHow Weapons Smuggled by Turkish Criminals Are Fueling a Deadly Herder-Farmer Conflict in the Sahel

    A criminal gang operating out of Turkey has fueled one of West Africa’s deadliest conflicts by smuggling in vast amounts of high-powered pump action shotguns, a study by arm control experts has found. The gangsters have smuggled thousands of the weapons into Nigeria, where they have ended up being used in the escalating violence between nomadic herders and settled farmers in the country’s north and central belts. Weapons of the same specification have also turned up in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and the Central African Republic.

  • African securityThe Changing Face of Burkina Faso’s Terrorist Threat

    By Mahamoudou Savadogo

    Burkina Faso has been experiencing regular attacks led by armed terrorist groups from neighboring countries. Surrounded by six countries, it is the northern part bordering Mali and Niger – particularly the Soum province – that has been most affected. And the security situation is only getting worse. But now the country faces a new terrorist threat. Terrorist groups are also flourishing within its borders.

  • ArgumentAmerica Shouldn’t Abandon Its Allies in the Sahel

    In mid-January the leaders of France, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mauritania met to discuss how to bolster counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel region, where Islamist terrorist activity has been steadily increasing. The background for the summit meeting were reports that the United States was considering reducing its contribution to an involvement in that campaign against Islamist terrorism. “. For the people in the Sahel, a U.S. retreat would leave them even more vulnerable to future terrorist attacks. Simply put, an American withdrawal would be penny-wise, but pound-foolish,” Olivier Rémy-Bel writes.

  • African securitySenators to Secretary Esper: Reconsider AFRICOM Drawdown

    U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware) last week sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper concerning the possible troop reduction or complete withdrawal from the AFRICOM area of responsibility. “Africa is a continent full of potential, and this is the wrong time to withdraw U.S. troops serving to stabilize fragile regions of the continent, the senators write.

  • TerrorismIn Niger, 89 Killed in Islamic State Attack

    Islamic State claimed responsibility for the 9 January attack on a military base in Niger, in which 89 soldiers were killed. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in the Sahel region since Islamist groups began to escalate their activities in the region in 2015, and it came one month after a similar attack on another military base in Niger killed 71 soldiers. In 2019, Islamist terrorists killed more than 4,000 people in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.

  • TerrorismFrance, Five African States Launch New Anti-Terrorist Coalition for the Sahel Region

    The presidents of France, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Chad on Monday formulated a new framework for expanding military operations against Islamist terrorism in the Sahel region. The new framework – with greater contributions from France, the five African states, and several European countries – has become necessary because of the dramatic increase in terrorist activity in the region, and because of the Pentagon’s plans to reduce the U.S. military and intelligence presence in West Africa, and a corresponding reduction in the overall U.S. involvement in fighting Islamist terrorism in Africa.

  • African securityIslamists Kill 71 Soldiers in Niger as Terrorist Attacks in the Sahel Region Increase

    An attack Tuesday on a military base in west Niger left 71 dead and a score missing, according to a statement from the Niger Ministry of Defense. Jihadists have increased the frequency, scope, and boldness of their deadly attacks in the Sahel, particularly in Mali, Niger, and Burkina, despite the increased presence of French troops, now numbered around 4,500, who take part in the Barkhane operation, and the presence of more than 14,000 UN peacekeepers in the area.

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