As local militant groups sign on to Al Qaeda's ideology in Somalia, Nigeria, Mali and beyond, Africa is becoming the war on terror's newest front line. After a terror attack in Nairobi on Sept. 21 left at least 62 dead, extremism in Africa is grabbing headlines around the world. Here's GlobalPost's complete coverage of a trend that's getting more and more attention from the West.
NAIROBI — For Western nations, wars in far off places like Mali and Somalia cannot be ignored, though they might wish they could. US and European governments worry that Al Qaeda groups in Africa might threaten their citizens and interests — at home and abroad — and while France was willing to briefly intervene in Mali, most are wary of entrenching their own troops in potential quagmires on the continent. A cooperative model, where African armies supply the soldiers and the West provides the rest, might offer a way forward.
ABUJA, Nigeria — Most of Africa’s terror groups are homegrown, inspired by corrupt and ineffective governments, incessant poverty and meddling by international governments and corporations. In recent years, however, foreign extremists have arrived in greater numbers, bringing with them expertise and weapons. And now, many of Africa’s localized militant organizations are embracing Al Qaeda-style, cross-border ambitions.
ABUJA, Nigeria — If the goal is carnage, Boko Haram has had its best year ever. Authorities blame the homegrown Islamist rebel movement with ties to Al Qaeda for more than 750 deaths in 2012. The militants have obliterated churches, schools, government offices, security forces, media houses, market places and communications infrastructure. Boko Haram has also stoked ethnic tensions and leveled the economies of several cities. And there appears to be no end in sight.
After the successful ousting of the former Egyptian regime, many thought the revolution had achieved its objective — asking for three basic demands: bread, liberty and social justice. The question is, did they get what they asked for?
NAIROBI — The top US military commander for Africa has warned that Al Qaeda affiliates are seeking to strengthen ties across the continent. General Carter Ham, commander of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), described Nigeria's Boko Haram, Somalia's Al Shabaab and the Saharan Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb as "dangerous and worrisome" but added that there were signs the groups were trying to coordinate their activities.