Africa Remains Important Battleground in Global War On Terror
The brutal nature of the war to combat radical Islam was on display in Nairobi on Saturday when al Shaabab seized control of a shopping mall and killed more than 50 people.
Somalia emerged weakened after a long civil war – a weakness Al Shaabab has sought to exploit to achieve its goal of an Islamist government since 2006.
The EU and the U.S., as well as international donors have poured funds into the country in an effort to fight militants.
That effort primarily is being led by the Union Nations and the African Union, including Kenyan forces, which has been successful in driving al-Shabaab out of the capital Mogadishu and its port stronghold of Kismayo. They retain control parts of Somalia’s southern countryside.
In September President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected. The attack is seen as revenge for Kenya joining African Union forces in 2011 to repel those forces. The Islamist terrorist group has claimed responsibility for multiple attacks in Africa this week, reports Bloomberg News.
The fight against Islamism is not confined to Somalia. There also has been an uptick in violence by the terror group Boko Haram in Nigeria, which declared a state of emergency in May. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “there have been fewer incidents total over the past three months (June-August) than in the three months before that (February-May), but more incidents over the summer resulted in higher casualty rates.”
In August, however, Boko Haram was involved in 261 deaths and in September, almost 160 people were killed in attacks over two days.
In Mali, the battle involves the group known as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, writes Yochi Breazen in The Atlantic.
“The foreign militants battling Malian and French troops across northern Mali are part of a little-noticed but hugely important shift. American policy makers have long treated the Middle East and South Asia as the main battlegrounds of the war on terror, but those regions are quickly being joined by Africa, which is now home to some of the largest and most active Islamist militias in the world,” Breazen reports.