Militants carrying the black flag of the Islamic State launched a daring land-and-sea assault on the strategic port city of Mocimboa da Praia in northern Mozambique. In less than a week, they routed government forces and captured the entire town, decla...
is, trump, surge, africa, terrorism
Militants carrying the black flag of the Islamic State launched a daring land-and-sea assault on the strategic port city of Mocimboa da Praia in northern Mozambique. In less than a week, they routed government forces and captured the entire town, declaring it the capital of a new Islamic province.
Days later, a different band of Islamist gunmen rampaged through a famous wildlife park for giraffes in Koure, Niger, just 35 miles from the country’s capital. Firing from motorbikes, they killed eight people, including six French humanitarian workers.
The two attacks on opposite sides of Africa are among the scores of violent episodes to shake the continent in what experts are calling a breakout year for extremist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda or the Islamic State. Less than two years after the fall of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq, the terrorist group is attempting a comeback in Africa, with far-reaching implications for a region already beset by poverty, corruption and the novel coronavirus.
At least three Islamist insurgencies are surging across broad swaths of territory, from the deserts of the Sinai, to the scrublands of the western Lake Chad basin, to picturesque Indian Ocean villages and resort islands in the Southeast. The spike in terrorist attacks mirrors a steady, if less dramatic, increase in Islamist violence in parts of Syria and Iraq, driven by Islamic State fighters who slipped away after the caliphate’s defeat and have now regrouped.
The resurgence threatens to undermine one facet of President Trump’s reelection pitch to voters: his oft-repeated claim of victory over the Islamic State. While Trump presided over the final phases of the U.S.-led military campaign to destroy the physical caliphate, the effort to contain the group and its violent ideology has faltered, according to current and former counterterrorism officials and independent analysts.
The rise in violence comes as the Trump administration moves to slash U.S. troop deployments and threatens to curtail support for local governments on the front lines of the battle against Islamist militants. The White House is considering steeper cutbacks in U.S. military forces in Africa, despite warnings from some analysts that the reductions could further hamper efforts to check the extremists’ advance.