Baffling silence over escalating terrorism in Africa

Lin Congyi
2022-09-03 16:05:34
Members of security forces during an anti-terrorism simulation exercise in Abuja, Nigeria, July 7, 2021. /Xinhua


By Nadim Siraj

Editor's note: Nadim Siraj, author of Secret Notes from Iran: Diary of an Undercover Journalist, is an India-based journalist who writes about conflict and current affairs. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily those of CGTN.

While the global media is busy covering the Russia-Ukraine conflict in granular detail, there's barely any attention on a crisis snowballing in Africa. Slowly, silently, and surely, the continent is turning into a gigantic hotbed of terrorism on an unprecedented scale.

Terror networks and terror-related escalations first intensified a few years back in the sub-Saharan country of Mali. Then in recent times, jihadists took their destabilizing activities beyond Mali to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

In more recent days, the fast-growing tentacles of terrorism went beyond the Sahel region and reached Africa's western coastline. With the Sahel already in terrorism's vice-like grip, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, and Togo have now emerged as the new hubs of jihadist groups.

The Mogadishu attack

The Somali capital of Mogadishu was recently in the news when Al Qaeda-linked terror group Al Shabaab carried out a deadly siege at an upscale hotel, resulting in more than 20 deaths. News of the attack, however, was quickly swept aside by sustained media coverage and an unending torrent of headlines about developments in Ukraine.

Mogadishu served as an alarming sign of how far and wide terror organizations have spread their wings across Africa – spanning the whole of the Sahel from Senegal to Djibouti; the countries along the Gulf of Guinea in the west; and the eastern coastline centering on Somalia.

It's not Al Qaeda alone but terror groups affiliated with Islamic State, or Daesh, as well that are carrying out disruptive activities. Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger are already badly hit by jihadist terrorism. Terror groups are also stepping up attacks in Senegal, Nigeria, Chad, and Sudan.

A rescue operation during an anti-terrorism simulation exercise in Abuja, Nigeria, July 7, 2021. /Xinhua

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