News / Africa

Africa Terrorism Threat Remains

Africa Terrorism Threat Remainsi
X
December 24, 2013 2:19 AM
2013 appears to have been the year the world woke up to African terrorism. Military gains against Islamist extremists in places like Mali and Somalia were followed by major terrorist attacks in neighboring countries - highlighting how complex and persistent the threat really remains. VOA's Anne Look has more.
Anne Look
2013 appears to have been the year the world woke up to African terrorism.  Military gains against Islamist extremists in places like Mali and Somalia were followed by major terrorist attacks in neighboring countries - highlighting how complex and persistent the threat really remains.

The year opened with a French military intervention in Mali.  Al-Qaida-linked fighters in control of the north were pushing south.

Malian troops could not have held them back alone.  But even as French and African troops liberated the north, jihadist fighters launched a revenge attack on a natural gas facility in Ain Amenas, Algeria, taking hundreds hostage and ultimately killing at least 36 foreigners.

Somalia looked to be turning a corner at the start of 2013.  Kenyan and African Union troops had chased the militant group al-Shabab from key urban strongholds.

But in September, a small number of al-Shabab militants attacked an upscale Nairobi shopping mall, killing more than 60 people and laying bare failings by Kenyan security and intelligence agencies.

The world watched as hundreds escaped.

Nigeria says it is turning the tide against the homegrown radical insurgency, Boko Haram, that it has wrestled with since 2009.

In May, Nigeria began an offensive against the sect.  The United Nations says the ongoing offensive has killed more than 1,200 people.  But Boko Haram continues to attack.

An all-too-familiar pattern is playing out in Africa.  Islamist insurgents seize territory where they can. They set up safe havens. They may even try to govern.  But faced with military action, they abandon their urban fiefdoms and disperse.  Some are killed.  Others live to strike back, joined by more young recruits.

Senegalese researcher Bakary Sambe says military intervention, in particular by Western forces, feeds radicalization.

"It's absurd to say you can make war on terrorism which by nature is constantly regenerating and evolving.  We also need to fight the causes of radicalization: poverty, a sense of frustration and rejection by the state, and under-development," said Sambe.
Analysts say al-Shabab remains the most organized and far-reaching of the African al-Qaida affiliates and that the publicity it got from the Westgate Mall attack revitalized the al-Shabab brand, helping it recruit internationally.

A Horn of Africa expert in Nairobi, Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamed, says the international community must keep up the pressure.

"They [al-Shabab]  have an agenda beyond Somalia.  They have an agenda beyond the region.  They are going to Islamize the whole world….by force, not by preaching, by force," said Abdisamed.

The United States and the European Union are keeping a close eye on these threats.  But with the exception of France, which continues to battle militants in Mali, Western powers say that in the year ahead, they will continue with the more hands-off approach of financing, assisting and training African troops to contain violent extremism.

Gabe Joselow contributed, reporting from Nairobi

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

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