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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid