News / Africa

Terrorists Exploited Unrest in Africa in 2012 says US Report

A girl walks past a wall with graffiti about the al-Qaida network in a Muslim area of the northern city of Kano, Nigeria. (File).
A girl walks past a wall with graffiti about the al-Qaida network in a Muslim area of the northern city of Kano, Nigeria. (File).
VOA News
The United States said progress has been made in combating terrorism across Africa, but that militant groups are still taking advantage of unrest, political instability, and weak governance in several areas of the continent.

In an annual report to the U.S. Congress, the State Department said Thursday that counterterrorism efforts by U.S., European, and regional forces have "done much to roll back and contain the threat" of terrorism in Africa over the past year.

But it said a series of revolutions, ethnic rebellions and military coups in the region have "complicated the terrorism picture" and presented militant groups with new opportunities to operate in the region.

In Libya, it said terrorists were able to exploit the security vacuum, weak governance, and abundance of weapons left in the wake of the country's 2011 revolution, which overthrew longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi. One of the most notable terrorist attacks in Libya came in September, when the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed during an attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

The report noted that Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), an Islamist group with expanding capabilities, took advantage of regional instability, stepping up its profitable kidnapping for ransom operations and other attacks in the Trans-Sahara region.

It said that AQIM, as well as extremist mercenaries returning from Libya, also profited from a military coup and separate rebellion by ethnic Tuaregs in Mali to overtake much of the northern part of that country. That Islamist insurgency was later quelled by a French-led military force, which was praised by the State Department report for quickly dealing with the threat.

In West Africa, the report said the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram was carrying out a rising number of increasingly sophisticated attacks. While most of the group's attacks have occurred in northern Nigeria, the report said there is evidence that Boko Haram may be "developing financial and training links with transnational violent extremists."

Somali insurgent group al-Shabab remains the State Department's "primary terrorist threat" in East Africa. The report said al-Shabab continues to carry out attacks in Somalia, and claims credit for some attacks in neighboring Kenya.

African Union and Somali forces, the State Department noted, have had some success in taking out al-Shabab strongholds in major cities in southern Somalia. It said the insurgent group has now been "fragmented by dissension and much weakened."

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
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 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 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 Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
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.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid