Africa became the region hardest hit by terrorism in the first half of 2021 as the Islamic State and al-Qaida extremist groups and their affiliates spread their influence, boasting gains in supporters and territory and inflicting the greatest casualties, U.N. experts said in a new report to the U.N. Security Council. This is “especially true” in parts of west and east Africa where affiliates of both groups can also boast growing capabilities in fundraising and weapons, including the use of drones. Several of the most successful affiliates of the Islamic State are in its central and west Africa province, and several of al-Qaida’s are in Somalia and the Sahel region.
The experts said it’s “concerning” that these terrorist affiliates are spreading their influence and activities including across borders from Mali into Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Niger and Senegal as well as incursions from Nigeria into Cameroon, Chad and Niger in west Africa. In the east, the affiliates’ activities have spread from Somalia into Kenya and from Mozambique into Tanzania, they said.
One of “the most troubling events” of early 2021 was the local Islamic State affiliate’s storming and brief holding of Mozambique’s strategic port of Mocimboa da Praia in Cabo Delgado province near the border with Tanzania “before withdrawing with spoils, positioning it for future raids in the area,” the panel said.