Owner security

Security Expert Warns UN Africa Could Be ISIS’s Future Caliphate

UNITED NATIONS – The threat of the extremist group Islamic State is growing day by day in Africa and the continent could be “the future of the caliphate”, an African security expert warned on Tuesday before the UN Security Council.

Martin Ewi said the Islamic State “has extended its influence beyond measure” in Africa, with at least 20 countries directly confronted by the extremist group’s activity and more than 20 others “used for logistics and for mobilize funds and other resources”.

“These are now regional hubs, which have become corridors of instability in Africa,” said Ewi, who coordinates a transnational organized crime project at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, the capital of India. South Africa, and was previously the African Union Commission’s Organized Crime Officer. terrorism program.

He said the Lake Chad Basin – which borders Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon – is the extremist group’s biggest area of ​​operation, areas of the Sahel are now “ungovernable” and Somalia remains the biggest area of ​​operation. IS “hotspot” in the Horn of Africa. .

A recent attempt to take over or destabilize Uganda failed, but Ewi said an IS affiliate, the Allied Democratic Forces, “remains a serious threat”. Moreover, he said, the Islamic State of Central Africa has turned parts of Congo and Mozambique into “human slaughterhouses”.

The Islamic State, also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh, invaded large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014 and established a so-called Islamic Caliphate in the region it controlled, covering a third of both countries, brutalizing the population for years. The group was officially declared defeated in Iraq in 2017 after a bloody three-year battle that left tens of thousands dead and cities in ruins, but its sleeper cells continue to launch attacks in different parts of the two countries.

Ewi told a Security Council meeting on Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ latest report on the threat posed by Islamic State that after extremists established the caliphate in Syria and Iraq, an international coalition s came together and mounted a military campaign to defeat ISIS.

Terrorism was driven south in Africa, he said, “but no similar coalition was assembled to defeat Daesh in Africa… which meant the continent had to bear the consequences of those fleeing Syria and find refuge on the mainland”.

Ewi also pointed to several other factors that have made Daesh “such a success in Africa” ​​- the presence of natural resources that allow groups like Daesh to finance themselves, poverty and the lack of political will to deal with the Palestinian issue that are the main sources of “radicalization” for many young Africans and the ability of Daesh to work with other terrorist and criminal groups on the continent.

He also cited the lack of new initiatives in Africa to fight terrorism and the “ostrich approach” of many countries that ignored early warnings of terrorist threats.

“The international community is then called upon to help at a time when the threat has spiral out of control,” Ewi said. “We see this happening in Benin and Togo, which are the last coastal countries in Africa to suffer concentrated attacks from Daesh and other terrorist groups.”

He added that this same phenomenon had already been observed in Mozambique when terrorism broke out, as well as in Nigeria, Cameroon and many other countries “where the threat was misdiagnosed and the responses equally inappropriate”.

To defeat Daesh in Africa, Ewi said, “the strategy must transcend the group and include its alliances with al-Qaeda and other criminal groups, including bandits, ranchers, gangs and various organized crime groups.”

He urged the Security Council to mobilize equipment and funds to support the many ongoing peace support operations in different regions and to ensure that its sanctions against groups and individuals are enforced.

UN counterterrorism chief Vladimir Voronkov also warned the Security Council that the threat from Daesh has been growing since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020.

Voronkov said the Iraq-Syria border “remains highly vulnerable, with up to 10,000 IS fighters estimated to be operating in the area.”

“From there, the group launched a global campaign of heightened operational activity in April to avenge senior leaders killed in counterterrorism operations,” he said.