The wave of terrorist attacks in Africa has continued at a steady pace, with the loss of increasing numbers of innocent people, a report by the Algerian Prime Minister has revealed.
Presenting a report at the AU summit on Monday, February 11th, on the issue of combating terrorism and violent extremism in Africa, Ahmed Ouyahia said terrorist threats have not lessened in the African continent despite substantial mobilisation of resources to deter them.
He said new countries have been affected by the scourge, while others have taken additional precautionary measures to guard against possible terrorist attacks.
The various terrorist groups operating in certain parts of the continent remain active and continue to threaten peace, security, stability and social cohesion, particularly in the Sahel-Saharan region, and keep changing their modes of operation, according to the report.
These groups invest more in the use and control of social media and the internet, and use the dark net, just as much, and multiply encrypted platforms, especially for their communications, the report said
According to the report, radicalisation, particularly among young people is gaining ground, and especially among the economically disadvantaged segments of the population. In order to mobilise, sensitise and recruit members, terrorist groups are increasingly resorting to financial incentives.
Terrorist groups are also increasingly involved in criminal activities related to trafficking drugs, weapons and cultural property, as well as to illegal migration, counterfeiting, smuggling, gold panning, cattle theft, and the exploration of natural resources and minerals.
“A growing number of foreign terrorist fighters has been observed in various parts of the continent particularly in areas affected by armed conflict,” the report continued.
Women and children have increasingly become prime targets for terrorist groups which seek to recruit them and make them carry out their criminal attacks.
Trafficking in small arms and light weapons, in addition to other arms trafficking, results in a profusion of such weapons on the continent. Terrorist groups and traditional organised criminals take advantage of them to boost their capacity to harm.
Furthermore, the persistence of military conflicts and the absence of definitive solutions to these conflicts create spaces of insecurity and instability which favour the development and expansion of terrorism and the activities of terrorist groups.
Socio-economic development is hindered in many parts of our continent by this worsening terrorist threat which increasingly impedes efforts by African countries and their populations to improve their living conditions and sees badly needed investment projects cancelled.