News / Africa

Africa Terrorism Is Symptom of Intractable Problems

Africa Terrorism Symptom of Intractable Problemsi
X
September 30, 2013 4:33 PM
The past week's terrorist attacks in Kenya and Nigeria have renewed attention on militancy and terrorism in Africa. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London on the rising trend, and the difficulty of reversing it.

Africa Terrorism Symptom of Intractable Problems

Al Pessin
The past week's terrorist attacks in Kenya and Nigeria have renewed attention on militancy and terrorism in Africa. It's a rising trend, and a difficult one to reverse.

The September 21 attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall by Somalia's al-Shabab militants was a shocking event in generally peaceful Nairobi.  

A week later across the continent, the midnight killing of dozens of students at a college in Nigeria was equally shocking, but less surprising. There, the government is at war with the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram.

Rising militancy in Nigeria and Somalia, as well as Mali, Libya, and several other African countries, has killed thousands in terrorist attacks and civil wars. And for the most part, it is linked to local grievances, according to Africa specialist Jason Mosley of London’s Chatham House research organization - speaking via Skype.

“Terrorism, broadly speaking, in Africa is still tightly constrained to regional or local political dynamics,” said Mosley.

Breeding ground

Poverty, corruption and political frustration create fertile ground for radicalism. There is at least an ideological link to global militant Islam, however, according to the director of the King’s College Center for the Study of Radicalism, Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens.

“I don’t think any of these groups are directed specifically by al-Qaida Central. They are affiliated. They are fellow-travelers. They follow the same ideology. But, yes, a lot of these groups in Africa do have also local concerns. And some of them are actually divided,” said Meleagrou-Hitchens.

For example, Meleagrou-Hitchens said not all members of al-Shabab support launching attacks outside of Somalia, like the one in Nairobi, even though Kenya has troops on Somali territory.

But while poverty and other local issues spawn militant groups in many parts of the continent, Mosley said the number of recruits remains small, while the problems that motivate them are big and difficult to solve.

“De-radicalization efforts that are under way in places like Kenya or Somalia are one track. And of course ultimately and broadly speaking, the real answer is economic opportunity. This is more difficult than it sounds,” said Mosley.

And experts say that is particularly true in the areas where it is needed most - Africa’s poorest and most troubled countries.

“It’s likely that this problem, this trend of jihadist activity in Africa will continue in the foreseeable future simply because the problems on which the recruitment and the spread is based, like the poverty, like the corruption, are going to remain for quite some time,” said Meleagrou-Hitchens.

Experts say the combination of economic opportunity, education and leadership that could ensure that children like these do not grow up to be militants is hard to come by, and ever more urgently needed.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
October 01, 2013 6:03 AM
GOODLUCK JONATHAN IS NOT A MILLITARY MAN THIS IS DEMOCRACY.THOSE WHO LIKE TO PUT NIGERIA IN BONDAGE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE CRITISIZING HIM.THE BEST OPTION IN NIGERIA IS TO SHARE THE COUNTARY INTO SIX ZONE .

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid