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ISIL Expanding into Africa

Ikebesi Omoding

ISIL Expanding into Africa

Even if you dislike Egyptian President Fatah al Sisi, for hijacking the democratic process by getting rid


Even if you dislike Egyptian President Fatah al Sisi, as is known in the Arab world, extending its tentacles.

The Jihadists’ manner of getting attention is particularly gruesome. Posting its executions on the Internet, it continues horrifying the world by the tasteless manner of killing its captives. No sooner had we watched the burning alive of the Jordanian pilot, than we are treated to a march-to-death for the 21 Egyptian Copts, who had sought work in Libya.

DASH is making inroads, first to North Africa – but eventually to all Africa. It has found a power vacuum in Libya where there are two contesting governments; one based in Tobruk, the other in Tripoli. DASH has occupied the Libyan towns of Misrata, Sirte and Dirna. And because of the civil war in Libya, there is no authority now capable of stopping the spread of the Jihadists.

Europe is understandably concerned that DASH’s extension to North Africa is a detour meant to attack Europe from its southern soft underbelly of the Mediterranean. But Africa should be more worried that this apparent parry appears to be more intended for extension into Africa than Europe. This is more so when you look into the events taking place in this region.

During the revolution to topple Muammar Ghaddafi, four years ago, he armed dissident groups in the whole Magreb region to the extent that there was what was called the Libyan Legion composed of fighters from all these regions that embroiled mainly Fulani and Songhai tribesmen.

These Islamists eventually led to the coup in Mali and the subsequent chaos. Even now the region is not sufficiently at peace as a result of these events.

Indeed it is safe to say that the emergence of Boko Haram in Nigeria has its genesis in the chaos in southern Libya.

Its crazy leader, Abubakar Shekau, says that his Jihadist group aims at introducing Islam globally. This call mirrors the claim by DASH’s Mahmoud al Bagdadi that it is intent on creating the Islamic Caliphate in the whole Arab world.

The execution of the Egyptian Coptic Christians can be seen as a step in the direction of extending and incorporating the Jihadist problem into West Africa. Now Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Cameroon are getting drawn into the Boko Haram debacle. Not far from here is Central African Republic (CAR), Southern Sudan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda. And not far from here in Somalia, the African boiling pot of Jihadist influence from Yemen, Afghanistan and Iraq.

All these countries are in a state of political flux in one form or another and are therefore a breeding ground for destabilization. This are the regions that DASH and Boko Haram have seen as potential for extending Islamic fundamentalism.

The delay of elections in Nigeria plays into the hands of these Jihadists. In as much as President Goodluck Jonathan Ebeere sees this as an advantage for him to continue to manipulate the population for him to win a second term, Shikau sees it as an opportunity for Boko Haram to continue its destabilization of the region. Now, he says that Boko Haram will see to it that the election in Nigeria does not take place.

African Affairs analysts agree that the delay of the elections in Nigeria, announced to take the next six weeks so as to stabilize Northern Nigeria, for the poll to be carried out in the region, is not possible. Jonathan could not have waited five years to attempt to defeat Boko Haram; and now can do it in six weeks, even with the military help of its neighbours.

DASH’s style of recruiting teenage suicide bombers has been taken a notch higher by Boko Haram in recruiting girls who are not even teenagers, yet. So the chaos in the Arab world is being duplicated in Africa in the name of Islam; and the politicians in Africa are playing into the hands of the Jihadists, as they fail to discern the southward march of the craze of the Islamic Caliphate.



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Ikebesi Omoding is the acclaimed author of a weekly column titled: From the Outside Looking In

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