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Africa's Islamist Problem
Terror-Wracked Africa

The wave of terror attacks continues unabated across Africa. The New York Times:

The Shabab militant group said on Friday that it had overrun an African Union base in a village in southern Somalia and killed dozens of peacekeepers.

Residents described what appeared to be a suicide car bombing, followed by a ferocious firefight that lasted at least five hours. The African Union confirmed an attack on its troops. But central details, including the identity of those killed, were not immediately clear.

Sheikh Abdulaziz Abu Muscab, a spokesman for the Shabab, which is affiliated with Al Qaeda, said the group had killed 63 Kenyan soldiers at the African Union base near the village of El-Adde and had seized ammunition and military vehicles.

Meanwhile, in Burkina Faso:

Attackers raided a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso overnight, shooting some and taking others hostage in a siege that lasted hours and ended with dozens of people dead.

An al Qaeda-linked terrorist group claimed responsibility for the assault at Splendid Hotel — a popular meeting place for Western diplomats in the capital, Ouagadougou.

The attack began Friday night and dragged on under the cover of darkness. Security forces circled the perimeter to assess the situation before they stormed in hours later.

There’s an emerging pattern of increasing jihadi activism across Africa. It’s important to remember that these attacks are partly the result of a set of unrelated local conflicts, often over things like grazing rights. But the growing presence of jihadi ideology, funding, training and weapons is beginning to pull these unrelated conflicts into something larger and more dangerous. With Africa now facing some serious economic problems due to the commodity crash, it’s going to be harder for governments to respond—either in military terms by enhancing the training and capacity of security forces, or in political terms by instituting reforms and promoting development that can attack the problem at its roots.

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