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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid