Armed Hostilities

The Emerging Terrorist Threat in Africa


This research paper looks into the emerging issues of terrorist threats in Africa and especially the Northern African region. The paper tries to answer whether the U.S. has the ability to counter the emerging terrorist threats in Africa through military co-operation missions with aligned countries. As a result, the research paper looks into how the United States can participate both militarily and diplomatically to combat the emerging terrorist threat in Northern Africa. Additionally, the paper discusses the disposition of the threat and future directions. Some of the issues the article looks into include: 1) increasing kidnapping cases for ransoms that fund terrorism; 2) the AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) and Al Qaeda relationship; 3) emergence of Al Shabab in the horn of Africa, 4) the transitional federation government in Somalia and its implication on the state of lawlessness; 5) the AQIM using togs as protection and logistical support; 6) the un-official truce between AQIM and the government; 7) the situation of the anti AQIM movement in Mauritania, and; 8) the U.S. involvement in Africa through the State Department and the Department of Defense (DoD). In line with the 2001 Anti-Terrorism Resolution 1373 by the Security Council, all states are required to work on combating and suppressing terrorist activities within their regions. This is through the suppression of financial help to terrorist groupings and organizations, improvement of cooperation between states, and monitoring of implementation of these resolutions.

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The possibilities of terrorist threats taking place within any particular country are now more than ever very alarming. In the last decade or so, there have been increased terrorist activities in the Middle East, particularly in the region covering Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. Terrorism activities have also been active in Africa particularly Northern Africa and the horn of Africa.1 The United States in particular is becoming more and more uneasy with the increasing frequency of terrorist-related activities and active terrorism cells in North Arica and the horn of Africa.

Political upheavals, social problems, economic imbalances, the ever widening gap between the rich and poor are some of the dynamics being exploited by terrorist organizations in the Middle East to recruit jihadis in North Africa and the Somalia region in the horn of Africa. Terrorist networks such as Somali-based Al Shabaab have now turned to abduction for ransom to finance their terrorist activities. Despite the attempts made by the transitional federation government in Somalia to bring sanity into a country long dogged by political upheavals and religious militarism, the high state of lawlessness have provided adequate breeding grounds for terrorism to thrive.

Another point worth noting is that the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) movement has strong ties and affiliations to Al Qaeda. AQIM’s use of Togs as protection and for logistical support coupled with the uneasy, un-official truce between AQIM and the government of Mauritania have all led to the United State’s focusing interest in Africa. In particular, the U.S. must clearly focus on its ability to combat the ever growing terrorist threat to its interests in the region. These growing concerns have seen the State Department and DOD collaborate with agencies such as the United States foreign internal defense mission and military agencies such as the Special Operations Command Africa -Special Operations Command Europe -EUCOM -AFRICOM and other participating organs with the view to pool together their efforts towards finding ways to combat terrorism in North Africa, both militarily and diplomatically.

Research Question & Thesis Statement

Research Question: – Can the U.S. counter the emerging terrorist threats in Africa through military cooperation missions with aligned countries?

Thesis Statement: Military cooperation and diplomatic interventions can enable the U.S to considerably counter the emerging terrorist threats in Africa.

Discussion of research question

This research has been carried out as a result of emerging terrorist threats in the Northern African region. Africa, for a long time, has been a very focal point in the U.S.’s policies and has been regarded as a friend. However, major economical, political and social challenges observed in the region have led to an upsurge of terrorist activities.

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The U.S. is aware of an emerging trend in North Africa where terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda in the Middle East are recruiting terrorist adherents and financing the establishment of terrorist cells such as Al Shabab East Africa, the AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) movement in Mauritania and so forth. The inclusion of African states in global issues and especially the focus demonstrated by the United Nations and the European Union on such issues have opened up serious obligations concerning civil liberties protection arising from a number of ratified global pacts. To this point, the reaction from the UN has brought out various important weaknesses in the population strategies and legislation, predominantly relating to minorities’ matters.

Increasing terrorist activities in North Africa and the horn of Africa has generated interest both regionally and internationally. The AQIM and Al Qaeda relationship is being solidified, while Al Shabab in lawless Somalia continues to undertake rampant piracy in the Indian Ocean off the shores of Kenya to fund terrorist activities. These dynamics have warranted the world, the United Nations, the European Union and other world bodies to reconsider and revise their terrorism-related policies in the African continent. Davis (2010) notes that “…the overall need to put a stop on emerging terrorist activities and threats in Africa requires updated current legislation and a revision of national policies by the U.S and aligned countries” (p. 16). This offers the basic background for motivation to discuss the issues that have generated interest in the emerging terrorist threats in Africa and America’s ability to combat this.


A random number generator was used to assign participants with number identities to facilitate the research. But before this was done consent forms were given out to all the participants and they were asked to fill out the necessary details. All participants were given the necessary instructions.

The research utilized a qualitative research methodology to evaluate the impact and implications of terrorist threats in North Africa and, in particular, the implications of these threats to America’s foreign policy in Africa. Through interviews, the respondents were asked to respond to a number of questions in regards to current issues and political matters within their country. The participants were all provided with information regarding the effects of terrorism threats on the region. The participants were asked to recall past and ongoing events that are either directly or indirectly related to terrorism within their countries. The interview questions were administered with the hope of discussing the stated dependent and independent variables.

Research findings

The research found that most local people in North Africa are aware of the looming threat from terrorist activities. There is a general feeling that international bodies such as the United Nations and the European Union are not doing enough to combat terrorism in the region. Another important finding is that the social, political and economic challenges facing African countries, including political instability, social problems, and economic inequalities, present hindrances to United States attempts aimed at strengthening counterterrorism efforts.


Background Study of Terrorist Threats in Africa

Terrorism refers to the violent acts or attacks perpetrated by a group of people for religious, political or ideological goal. Most terrorism acts are usually portrays political, emotional or religious undertones. Terrorist’s threats in Africa started way back in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1989, the National Islamic Front (NIF) assumed leadership of Sudan, triggering an increase in terrorist groups in Africa by providing safe havens for well known international terrorist groups. It is believed Osama Bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader killed by U.S. elite forces, once established a terrorist base in Sudan to conduct his operations until he went back to Afghanistan in 1996. During the period, Osama bin Laden planned to attack Hosni Mubarak, the then Egyptian president, while he was on official duty in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In August 1998, the Al-Qaida planned and executed a terrorist attack on two American embassies based in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam, killing hundreds of innocent people and injuring many others. These coordinated terrorist bombings served as a wake up call for African countries as well as the U.S. about the possibility of terrorist attacks in Africa. The United States sought to find those who were behind the attacks in the two terrorist bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Militarily, America targeted a chemical plant in Sudan, which was claimed to be supplying chemicals and weapons to the Al Qaeda terrorist organization. The U.S. also implemented a policy aimed at searching, capturing and killing the Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam terrorist masterminds believed to have sought refuge in lawless Somalia.

In September 11, 2001 the Al-Qaida executed a well-planned terrorist attack on U.S, soil, targeting and destroying the World Trade Center in downtown New York and the Pentagon in Washington. These events would mark the reaffirmation of a trend that had been evident for several years. After four years since the august 1998 attack, in November 2002, Al-Qaida executed yet another attack on the Israeli-owned Paradise hotel along the Kenyan coastline, killing 15 people. The attacks also included the firing of artillery at an Israeli passenger aircraft that was departing from the Mombasa airport. Many U.S. administrators believed that Africa stood as the best breeding ground for terrorism acts (Rothchild and Keller 2006, 100-8). The attacks in Kenya and Tanzania placed Africa right in the middle of war on terrorism. Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations could willingly operate in Africa, particularly the horn of Africa and North Africa, due to weak security infrastructure, political instability, and socioeconomic upheavals. Although the main objective of the terrorist organizations was to attack American interests in Africa, they also sought to coerce weak states in Africa to let them establish radical Islamism from within their borders. For example, Al Shabab in Somalia is fighting to establish an Islamic state in the horn of Africa, presenting limitless opportunities to international terrorists particularly in providing them with a safe haven from where to perpetuate terrorist activities. The absence of a central government in Somalia has generated a very favorable environment for terrorist and extremist groups to thrive in. Al-Qaida is actively involved in organizing and financing sub-organizations that carry out terrorist acts in Somalia such as the Al-Shabab, an Islamic militant group responsible for a number of assassinations on prominent members of Somali transitional government. These small terrorist groups have warlords who control the activities of the group and maintain stability and order. Currently, Al-Shabab is directly working with Al-Qaida in forming training camps to recruit unsuspecting poverty-stricken Islamic youth to join the organization in the horn of Africa. Consequently, this implies that Al-Qaida is spreading its network and the terrorist threat in Somalia surpasses regional borders into the international arena since these groups have evolved a political and military system capable of influencing local and regional politics. In one report, there is evidence that Kenya is home to 17 training centers for the Al-Qaida affiliates.

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The most recent example is the kidnapping of two Kenyan citizens in Mogadishu by members who were alleged to be associated with the Al-Qaida linked Al-Shabab group whom were later released. The attack proves that the Islamic terrorist organizations feel they have the power to control areas in Somalia and conduct attacks with impunity, using this as a strategy to impose threats to the surrounding regions. This strategy has worked to the terrorists’ advantage, causing security threats and destabilization. In the recent past, threats from the Somali based Al-Qaida commanders were directed to Uganda and Burundi when they deployed their army to bring security to Somalia. These terrorist threats are taken seriously by various countries. According to Gaudefroid Niyombare, the chief of Burundi army, terrorist threats by the Al Shabab are taken seriously ever since Burundi partnered with Uganda to deploying armed troops in Somalia under the auspices of the African Union.

Sub-Sahara Africa is home to poor and unstable states Africa as compared to other regions in the continent. Nigeria in West Africa is a state that faces major terrorist threats considering that the country is home to over 65 million Muslims. The country is considered as the second largest Muslim population state in the continent and, for this reason, Nigeria is under constant attack from radical Islam militants bent at entrenching tribal and religious animosity. Analysts are of the opinion that Nigeria could be a strategic state in war against global terror but the high level of Islamic militancy makes the country a fertile ground for extremist recruiters. Presently, Al-Qaida operations are said to have been established and are active in Nigeria. According to an article in the new York times, Douglous Farah points out that during the capture of fighters in Iraq a quarter of the total came from the sub-Saharan region in Africa mostly from Nigeria, Niger, Mali and Mauritania. These observations necessitate action to prevent unsuspecting Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa from becoming a fundamental component of the Al-Qaida terrorist network.

Africa is not an exception to terrorists’ threats. A combination of challenges such as political instability, tribal hatred, economic woes, social upheavals and porous boundaries have made most African countries susceptible to the proliferation of radical extremists with international ties. The reality is that international terrorism in Africa is awakening and many African non state actors in the horn of Africa and Northern Africa have links to international terrorist organizations.

Using Military Cooperation to Counter Terrorist Threats in Africa

The United States has over the years shown concern about the probable signs of Africa providing a fertile breeding ground for terrorists. As such, the United States is leading initiatives aimed at countering terrorist activities in Africa in line with other activities carried out globally. African states that have been confronted with terrorist’s threats have considered help from the U.S. The aid provided by the Americans acts to strengthen local security frameworks and other agencies tasked with the responsibility of countering terrorism. The U.S. military operation consisting of about 18,000 U.S. forces dispatched in known terrorist zones in Africa, Afghanistan and Columbia is one of the initiatives the United States is using to fight the War on Terror. The military operations that started in October 7, 2001 are believed to cover a broad range of warfare and non combat missions that include combating rebels, administering civil affairs and offering modern military training to military personnel of aligned African countries in efforts to counter terrorism. These military operations are considered as critical in the fight against global terrorism as they involve diplomatic intelligence sharing and training of law enforcements intended to defeat terrorists around the world.

African leaders have shown interest in dealing with terrorist threats in their states. After the 1998 bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the African states adopted the African Convention on Terrorism, although the signing of this convention has been slow. When the Algerian president visited United States in November 2001, he stated that “terrorism is one and indivisible and that for the world to be able to counter it, then there was need to work together.” However, a major conflict of interest arises from the fact that while African political leaders are more concerned with fighting local terrorism, Western countries are more concerned with fighting terrorists who threaten western interests while operating in Africa.

The recent attacks in Mali, initiated by the Islamic rebels, led to the death of 28 Malian army soldiers. The U.S. government promised to help Mali fight the war against terrorism by giving the government about $5 million to help the military purchase vehicles and communication equipment in a bid to reduce the growth of Islamic rebel groups. The U.S. military has also considered several countries to provide sites for U.S. troops as they go about routine military surveillance, not mentioning that the U.S. has established bases that can assist in rapid deployment of troops in terrorist hotspots in the vast African continent. To effectively manage the emerging terrorist threats, however, the U.S. has to network with the African militaries particularly in information sharing and gathering of facts.

In October 2002 the United States instituted the Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) in the horn of Africa in the bid to enhance and harmonize counterterrorism activities in the region. CJTF is based in Djibouti, which is in close proximity to the horn of Africa, and has approximately 2,000 military personnel, Special Operations Forces and other U.S. civilians. In addition, there are naval task forces consisting of military ships from Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Pakistan, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States who keep watch over the waters of the horn of Africa region and promote the support for ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom.’ The United Nations Security Council, “under terms of the text (UN Security Council Anti-Terrorism Resolution 1373 of 2001), decided that all States should prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, as well as criminalize the willful provision or collection of funds for such acts.” According to the resolution, the funds, financial possessions and economic resources of individuals or groups who engage or endeavor to engage in terrorist activities or participate in or aid the commission of terrorist acts and of individuals and organizations acting under the instructions of terrorists should also be frozen without delay.

In the west of Africa, the U.S. EUCOM launched a program known as the ‘Gulf of Guinea Guard Initiative,’ which is intended to assist regional governments improve their maritime security. The initiative, according to the U.S government, will help them focus on the near lands since most vessels that are used by terrorists need a shore-base that is well supported. The initiative is a major boost to the continent since most of the African states lack ocean-going forces.

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United State’s Ability to Participate militarily and diplomatically to Combat Terrorism Threats

The United States must adopt a more holistic approach to fighting terrorism in Africa. Other than just trying to shut down the existing Al-Qaida groups they should also help states with their everyday problems which include economic difficulties, ethnic and religious wrangles, weak democracy and continuous abuse of human rights, and which are known to provide a suitable environment for terrorism to thrive in. Particularly, the U.S. can support African countries by providing them with funds, arms and strategic advice on how to combat terrorism. Former United States president George W. Bush, on November 6, 2001 stated that, “no group or nation should mistake America’s intentions: “We will not rest until terrorists groups of global reach have been found, have been stopped, and have been defeated.”

The United States has a distinctive way of putting up partnerships and motivating projective power to counter attack terrorism. In addition to utilizing their previous alliances with aligned countries, the U.S. creates affiliations with regional agencies to further isolate terrorists. However, the success being achieved in the fight against terrorism may project new forms of enemies, hence the need to come up with strategies that can be used in the future. African countries are being encouraged to take aggressive actions against individuals and groups linked to terrorist activities and gather as much information as possible to understand the terrorists’ strong and weak points in order to be effective in the war against global terrorism.

Africa together with United States and other international partners will have to come up with a good strategy that could be used effectively to respond to the regular threats in Africa. Foremost, the African states should have strategies for long term development and support of efficient state institutions that are capable of protecting their own territories and confronting violation of local laws that could have international consequences. Secondly, the U.S. ought to collaborate with other international partners to develop their own intelligence law enforcement agencies and military work forces in a number of African countries intended to assist in tackling terrorist and criminal dynamics in Africa which creates threats to its interests.

Lastly, the African leaders are required to strengthen their political will and deploy their evolving security personnel to uphold the rule of law. Even though nothing is putting a stop to the increased commitment of both the United States and the African states in preventing terrorist threats, the United States and other nations should make the commitment with the right reasons and with their eyes open. The United States has to carefully understand the magnitude of the problem and its complexity together with the limitations experienced in African states in coping with their problems and in solution implementation.

Respective Actions used by Countries to combat Terrorism Activities

The United Nations through its Security Council is at the forefront of countering terrorist activities all around the world. All courses of action taken by the Security Council to try and tackle emerging terrorist threats that leads to development of war in North Africa are based on the United Nation’s security mandate in peacekeeping operation within the region. Rothchild & Keller (2006) note that the UN Security Council Anti-Terrorism Resolution 1373 of 2001 “called for a unanimous suppression of financing, improving international cooperation and creation of a committee to monitor implementation.”

From time to time, the mandates governing the Security Council’s decision and actions are formed in accordance with a general attitude that is usually neutral, consequently resulting in contradictions that may possibly destabilize UN operations en bloc. Rothchild & Keller (2006) note that the UN Council also decided that countries should bar their citizens or organizations from submitting funds, financial possessions, economic resources or any form of assistance to individuals who perpetuate or attempt to perpetuate, facilitate or participate in the commission any form of acts deemed as terrorist in nature and orientation.4 The call for an Anti-Terrorism Resolution by the UN Security Council shows its commitment to putting in place mechanisms that could be used to prevent terrorist acts and the desire to take bold steps and strategies to fight international terrorism.

Davis (2010) notes the Security Council’s wish is that all states should be able to “suppress and prevent financing of terrorism, as well as criminalize the willful provision or collection of funds for such acts.” The United States in its case has four major identifiable counter-terrorism goals: “1) defeating terrorist organizations with global reach; 2) denying sponsorship, support, and sanctuary to terrorists; 3) diminishing the underlying conditions that terrorists seek to exploit; and defending U.S. citizens and interests.” Oudraat notes that this “can not be achieved through unilateral action alone.”

The United States adopted a strategy in February of 2003 referred to as the U.S. National Strategy for Combating Terrorism that acknowledges that an effective counter terrorism campaign necessitates widespread multilateral cooperation. To this extent, America is constantly looking for ways to work together with aligned countries by leading military co-operation missions to counter the terrorist threats. However, America is faced with a dilemma of how it can be able to participate both militarily and diplomatically to combat the emerging terrorist threat since the 2003 strategy does not offer guidelines on how “to bring about such cooperation and [says] next to nothing about the role of the United Nations.” As acknowledged by Rothchild & Keller (2006), “the UN has set a precedent legitimizing unilateral force against terrorist attacks.” Britain understands that terrorist attacks in the last two decades or so underline a great threat to peace and security to “the UK, British nationals and British interests abroad, and that it is current and very real.” The United Kingdom has had anti-terrorism laws in place for more than thirty years. The Prevention of Violence Act 1939, for example, arose due to aggressive campaigns perpetuated by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) on British nationals and interest, not mentioning that this act was strengthened in 1973 and renamed the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The potential for terrorist attacks from outside the UK became evident after the September 11, 2001 attacks, causing the government to amend existing terrorism prevention laws and develop new offenses related to terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2006. The 7 July 2005 London bombings provided the impetus for drafting the Act to protect the country from terrorist threats.

Australia on its part uses legislations to combat emerging terrorist threats. Rothchild & Keller (2006) acknowledge that a number of counterterrorism measures have been implemented since 2000s, with the climax being the implementation of the Anti-terrorism bill 2004 by then Attorney-General Philip Ruddock. The bill was described as a “bill to strengthen Australia’s counter-terrorism laws in a number of respects — a task made more urgent following the recent tragic terrorist bombings in Spain.” This came about after calls on the reviewing and updating of Australian anti-terrorism laws to provide a legal framework capable of protecting all Australians from the real threats posed by terrorism both locally and internationally. In 2005 the government introduced The Australian Anti-Terrorism Act 2005 which enhanced the powers of the earlier acts. This particular Act gives powers to the Australian security apparatus to detain terrorist suspects for up to 14 days without legally charging them, and to amass intelligence on terrorist suspects using electronic means for a period of up to 12 months. There is a clause within the Australian Anti-Terrorism Act 2005 which authorizes security personnel to “shoot-to-kill” terrorist suspects when they resist arrest or present eminent danger to the populace. In a nation with deep-rooted liberal independent customs, such clauses are largely viewed as contentious and have been condemned by civil libertarians and Islamic organizations.

Relationship between Terrorist Organizations in North Africa & the Horn of Africa

The Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has strong affiliations with Al Qaeda. AQIM’s major objective is to replace the Algerian government with Islamic law and transform Algeria to an Islamic state (Davis, 2010). Recent developments in the Middle East have seen terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda establishing cells in African states. All these terrorist organizations have one thing in common – their constant engagement in insurgent campaigns.

Somalia is one of the states in the Horn of Africa that has long been without a stable government, a scenario that creates a favorable breeding ground for international terrorist organizations. The horn of Africa acts as a bridge to many parts of the Middle East, with analysts observing that this corridor provides impetus for terrorism to thrive. Al-Qaeda continues to utilize the largely lawless corridor in the horn of Africa to form and establish terrorist cells bent on perpetuating terrorist activities in Africa and worldwide, with the most common and prominent terrorist cell in the region being the Al-Shabab.

The lack of proper implementation strategies of resolutions passed on counter- terrorism makes it difficult to combat emerging terrorist threats. Only 12 countries in the 1990s had established laws that enabled them to put into effect financial sanctions aimed at curtailing terrorist activities. In the 1990s, the UN also faced challenges in implementing antiterrorist sanctions and resolutions, with two analysts who reviewed UN sanctions administrations in the 1990s reporting that only 12 nation states had endorsed laws and regulations enabling them to put into effect financial sanctions against suspected terrorists. A 2002 UN report showed that the Taliban and Al Qaeda continued to have access to substantial financial and economic resources despite all the efforts that had been put in place to effect financial and economic sanctions on the two outlaws. This particular report noted that although an estimated $112 million of the terrorists’ funds had been traced in the first three months after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S., only $10 million of the total haul was successfully blocked in the subsequent eight months. The report concluded that “Al-Qaeda is by all accounts ‘fit and well’ and poised to strike again at its leisure.”

Analysis of the Main Issues leading to Increased Terrorism Activities in Africa

A major hindering block to combating of terrorist threats is the constant political upheavals within the region (Africa). Political upheavals, social problems, economic imbalances, lack of political goodwill and the ever widening gap between the rich and poor are some of the dynamics that continue to be exploited by international terrorist organizations to set up terrorist cells and undertake terrorist activities in Africa. The terrain is also a major hindrance to efforts aimed at combating emerging terrorist threats since the region is vast and dry. The terrorist groups are well versed with the African terrain, advantaging their terrorist operations while derailing counterterrorism efforts. An example of this is the situation in Afghanistan. Davis (2010) notes there are numerous cases where states “refrain from providing any form of support to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts; nor take the necessary steps to prevent the commission of terrorist acts; deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, commit terrorist acts and provide safe havens as well.”

Recommendations and Action

Countering terrorism involves various techniques that governments, militaries, police departments and corporations should adopt to respond to the growing terrorism threats and activities. There are a number of recommendations that could be implemented in Africa and globally to defeat terrorism.

Governments should come up with ways that would ensure the authorities and the public cooperates instead of having a government in place that is hated by civilians. Efforts should be made to make the people trust the governments instead of fearing them since many terrorists operate by creating a gap between the people and the authorities to facilitate commissions of acts of terrorism. Once there is cooperation and information sharing between the authorities and the people it becomes easier to uncover individuals and groups associated with terrorists, consequently reducing terrorism activities both locally and internationally.

Stakeholders must encourage international cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of terrorists and their terrorist activities. For success, any efforts aimed at combating global terrorism must rely on cooperation among aligned nations particularly in investigating and prosecuting terrorists and acts of terrorism. As such, all states should work towards ensuring the implementation of comprehensive and relevant international and regional counter- terrorism legal acts that are relevant to UN since terrorism cases are related to complex intersections of human rights.

Africa states are obliged to come up with comprehensive counter-terrorism strategies. But to be able to do this, African states must be assisted to deal with their many challenges, including economic anguish, ethnic and religious wrangles, weak governance, fragile state structures and uncontrolled human rights abuses. These challenges are known to provide fertile breeding grounds for terrorism to thrive, thus their removal will effectively take away the terrorists havens and recruiting grounds. In addition, African nations need to be strengthened to be able to provide enough security to its citizens and preserve their territorial veracity and sovereignty. For instance, the reinforcement of regional security as a counter-terrorism measure in West Africa will serve as a way to put off a variety of border-linked crimes in the sub- Sahara region and their effects in other regions around the continent and globally.


From the study, one thing that stands out is that terrorist attacks in the last two decades or so underline a great threat to peace and security. Terrorism is not a problem faced by the United States, the UK or the United Nations alone; on the contrary, terrorist threats are real everywhere as evidenced by the emergence of terrorist cells and groups within the northern region of Africa and the horn of Africa. The AQIM in North Africa and the Al Shabab in the horn of Africa are vivid reminders that terrorism threats are real in the African continent. These terrorist groups have strong affiliations with the Al Qaeda in the Middle East, thus the possibility of these terrorist networks to stage a global terrorist activity.

This study has revealed that African states are disadvantaged by a myriad of challenges that dampens efforts aimed at fighting terrorism. Some of these challenges include political upheavals, social problems, lack of political goodwill, economic imbalances, and the ever widening gap between the rich and poor. International terrorists have made use of these challenges to perpetuate terrorist activities in Africa, particularly in North Africa and the horn of Africa.

The United States is currently using military cooperation and diplomatic interventions to stem the tide of terrorism operations in Africa. These initiatives can be seen in the establishment of a Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) in October 2002 in the horn of Africa to combat terrorism in the region and the launch of EUCOM in the west of Africa to deal with maritime security concerns. However, these initiatives need to be complimented with genuine information sharing among aligned countries and frequent joint military surveillance programs to enhance the chances of defeating the emerging terrorist threat in Africa.

Reference List

Davis, J. (2010). Terrorism in Africa: the evolving front in the War on Terror. Lexington: Lexington Books

Oudraat, de Jonge Chantal. (2003). Combating Terrorism. The Washington Quarterly, 26(4), 163–176.

Rothchild, D., & Keller, E. (2006). Africa-US Relations: Strategic encounters. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Pub.

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