US African Command Raises Alarm: Al-Qaeda, ISIS Through ISWAP Gradually Taking over West Africa

The United States Military Africa Command (AFRICOM), on Wednesday, raised the alarm that the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaida terrorist groups are gradually taking over the West African region after being displaced from Syria and Iraq.

Major General Davin Anderson, Commander of the US Special Operations Command, Africa, made the disclosure during a virtual media briefing with journalists on Tuesday.

Gen Anderson disclosed that the Al-Qaida has not only expanded in Mali, and moved into northern Burkina Faso, where they are destroying infrastructure and taking out local governance and security forces, the terrorist group is currently controlling the local economy and exerting control over the population.

The Commander said the extremist groups have gone to the extent of deploying strategies to re-establish themselves in the region and expand further in the continent working silently but progressively without attention.

His words, “We are seeing them continue to move further south in Burkina Faso towards those littoral nations in the Gulf of Guinea, and also further west towards Senegal and West Africa. So that’s a concern to us as we watch them continue to move throughout the region.”

Anderson revealed that some aggrieved local terrorist groups were being galvanized into a larger ideology and movement pointing out, that Al-Shabaab, an affiliate of al-Qaida, was currently instigating instability in Somalia in order to destabilize the Horn of Africa.

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Emphasizing that the extremist group is exploiting the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel to gain deeper roots in the region and in West Africa with Islamic State, West Africa ISWAP, and Grand Sahara Gen Anderson said the group’s have established affiliates and consolidated this into a larger movement in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, Mozambique, as well as in Somalia.

Continuing he said, “They are looking to Africa to try to find a means to re-establish themselves. And we can’t forget that Al-Qaida has African roots and has a lot of African connection as well.

“That’s very concerning to us because it’s a deliberate strategy, and part of that strategy is to be quiet about how they act, how they expand. They’re not looking to advertise a lot of what they’re doing.”

He urged the African continent and it’s leadership to be conscious of the plot of these terrorists and extremist groups, study and understand the strategies to counter it.

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