A review of militant Islamist group activity in Africa over the past year reveals considerable variation and a geographic concentration of most of these actors.
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Violent extremist organizations have expanded their ambitions, capacities, and geographical reach into the Sahel and West Africa, creating an arc of instability across the region. Boko Haram, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and other militant groups present a continuing threat to the stability of the region. As they come under increasing pressure from regional and international security forces, their future evolution is uncertain, but they have proven their ability to adapt and rebound in the face of previous setbacks. The Africa Center’s Benjamin Nickels joined a panel experts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies to discuss the continuing challenges facing the Sahel.
Dr. Raymond Gilpin discusses how Boko Haram has evolved since it pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in March 2015.
Most of Nigeria's security threats require security forces—especially police—that are well-governed, respected, and have effective oversight mechanisms.
The unfolding events between Morocco and Western Sahara could provide a sought-after opportunity for AQIM to reassert its relevance in the region.
Africa currently hosts over 100,000 peacekeeping personnel. Contributions by African nations are rising and are more diversified—with some big exceptions.
A review of militant Islamist group activity in Africa over the past year reveals considerable variation in the groups involved. Most are locally focused even if they have declared an allegiance to a global terrorist network. Activity has also been confined to a relatively few, concentrated areas on the continent. This map details the trends.
Africa's fast changing conflict environments compel new thinking on effective strategies for building peace. African leaders and institutions have stepped into this political and operational space to produce the contours of a unique model of African peace operations, suited to the challenges and constraints facing the continent today. The Africa Center held a public roundtable to discuss the implications of Africa's new conflict environment on peacebuilding, the African Standby Forces, and the international community.
The terrorist attack on a luxury hotel in Ouagadougou is the second time in recent months, following the deadly assault on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako in November 2015, that groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), largely based in northern Mali, have conducted attacks of this type outside their base area.... Continue Reading
Four of the eight ‘provinces’ or wilayat of the group’s self-declared caliphate are located in Africa Algeria, Libya, Egypt and Nigeria. While there are questions about the group’s ability to direct affiliates in a unified and coordinated campaign, those who have declared loyalty to ISIS have adopted its signature brutality. Efforts to counter violent extremism... Continue Reading
To block the spread of recruitment and radicalization in West Africa, African policymakers and their partners should seize the window of opportunity to support preventative measures in as-yet untouched communities. The Africa Center’s Dr. Benjamin P. Nickels, Academic Chair for Transnational Threats and Counterterrorism, offered these observations while participating as a speaker at a recent... Continue Reading
Africa hosts a disproportionate level of conflict compared to other regions in the world. Since 2011, there has been an upsurge in fatalities attributed to violent Islamist extremism, mostly as a result of Boko Haram. Nonetheless, other types of political violence are still responsible for more incidents and higher levels of casualties than Islamist extremist violence in Africa. These conflicts often result from high youth unemployment and lack of political inclusion. Thus, while countering violent extremism should remain a security priority, governments must also put adequate effort toward improving accountability and capability to provide inclusive security and economic opportunity for citizens.