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UN EXPERTS CONCERNED ABOUT GROWTH OF TERRORISM IN NIGERIA

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By Adeniyi Onaara

Experts from the United Nations have raised worry about terrorist affiliates from Nigeria invading neighboring countries.

Terrorist affiliates are increasing their influence and operations across borders from Mali into Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Niger, and Senegal, as well as incursions from Nigeria into Cameroon, Chad, and the Niger Republic, according to a report to the UN Security Council.

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The Islamic State (ISIS) uses a complex network of communications and highways across West and North Africa to ease the movement of its allied militias, according to the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

Reports from Yaounde yesterday said Boko Haram elements killed seven Cameroonian soldiers during an attack in the country’s Far North yesterday.

Africa, according to the UN  panel, became the region hardest hit by terrorism in the first half of 2021 as the Islamic State and al-Qaida extremist groups and their affiliates spread their influence, boasting gains in supporters and territory and inflicting the greatest casualties.

They said this is “especially true” in parts of West and East Africa where affiliates of both groups can also boast growing capabilities in fundraising and weapons, including the use of drones.

Several of the most successful affiliates of the Islamic State are in its Central and West Africa province, and several of al-Qaida´s are in Somalia and the Sahel region, they said.

In the east, the affiliates´ activities have spread from Somalia into Kenya and from Mozambique into Tanzania, they said.

One of “the most troubling events” of early 2021 was the local Islamic State affiliate´s storming and brief holding of Mozambique´s strategic port of Mocimboa da Praia in Cabo Delgado Province near the border with Tanzania, “before withdrawing with spoils, positioning it for future raids in the area,” the panel said.

Overall, the experts said, COVID-19 continued to affect terrorist activity and both the Islamic State, also known as ISIL, and al-Qaida “continued to gloat over the harm done by the coronavirus disease pandemic to their enemies, but were unable to develop a more persuasive narrative.”

“While ISIL contemplated weaponizing the virus, member states detected no concrete plans to implement the idea,” the panel said.

In Europe and other non-conflict zones, lockdowns and border closures brought on by COVID-19 slowed the movement and gathering of people “while increasing the risk of online radicalization,” it said.

The experts warned that attacks “may have been planned in various locations” during the pandemic “that will be executed when restrictions ease.”

The panel said that in Iraq and Syria, “the core conflict zone for ISIL,” the extremist group´s activities have evolved into “an entrenched insurgency, exploiting weaknesses in local security to find safe havens, and targeting forces engaged in counter-ISIL operations.”

Despite heavy counter-terrorism pressures from Iraqi forces, the experts said Islamic State attacks in Baghdad in January and April “underscored the group´s resilience.”

In Syria´s rebel-held Northwest Idlib Province, the experts said groups aligned with al-Qaida continue to dominate the area, with “terrorist fighters” numbering more than 10,000.

“Although there has been only limited relocation of foreign fighters from the region to other conflict zones, member states are concerned about the possibility of such movement, in particular to Afghanistan, should the environment there become more hospitable to ISIL or groups aligned with al-Qaida,” the panel said.

In Central, South and Southeast Asia, the experts said Islamic State and al-Qaida affiliates continue to operate “notwithstanding key leadership losses in some cases and sustained pressure from security forces.”

The experts said the status of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri “is unknown,” and if he is alive, several unnamed member states “assess that he is ailing, leading to an acute leadership challenge for al-Qaida.”

ISIS terrorists using Libyan weapons in Nigeria

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has warned that the Islamic State (ISIS) adopts a complex network of communications and roads across West and North Africa to facilitate the movement of its affiliated militants, just days after a security report revealed the terrorist organization, ISIS, currently re-deploys its forces in the Lake Chad basin and the African Sahel region.

According to a report issued by the ISS, about 120 militants from Libya are expected to be permanently stationed in the region.

The Geopolitical Research Center in Lagos said that “these militant and terrorist groups have benefited from the proliferation of weapons due to the conflict in Libya.”

It was gathered that weapons of war are carried by migrants through the desert, passing through Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

Seven Cameroonian soldiers killed in Boko Haram attack

Boko Haram militants overran an army base in Cameroon’s Far North region yesterday, killing at least seven soldiers and wounding several others, said military and local sources.

They hit the base in Sagme locality of the region by 4.00 a.m. local time, two soldiers and a local resident told Xinhua.

The militants, well-armed, some of them in military camouflage, arrived in a convoy of six vehicles, one of the soldiers said.

After several hours of fighting, the commander of the military base was killed alongside six of his colleagues.

“The soldiers were very brave and defended strongly.

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