UN – Africa became the region most affected by terrorism in the first half of 2021 as Islamic State and al-Qaeda extremist groups and their allies spread their influence, gain supporters and gains in the region and inflict the greatest casualties, UN Experts said in a new report.
The panel of experts said in a report broadcast Friday to the UN Security Council that this is “particularly true” in parts of West and East Africa where allies of the two groups are using increasing capabilities in fundraising and weapons, including the use of drones. can claim.
He added that many of the Islamic State’s most successful allies are in its Central and West Africa provinces, and many of al-Qaeda’s are in Somalia and the Sahel region.
Experts said it is “concerned” that these terrorist allies are spreading their influence and activities, including infiltration from Mali into Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Niger and Senegal, as well as from Nigeria into Cameroon, Chad and Niger in West Africa. He said that in the past, the activities of allies have spread from Somalia to Kenya and from Mozambique to Tanzania.
One of the “most disturbing events” in early 2021 was the storming of a local Islamic State affiliate and the brief “holding of Mozambique’s strategic port Mokimbo da Praia in Cabo Delgado province near the border with Tanzania” First, position areas for future raids,” the panel said.
Overall, experts said, COVID-19 continued to affect terrorist activities and the Islamic State, also known as ISIL and al-Qaeda, both “gloom over the damage done to their enemies by the coronavirus pandemic.” remained, but was unable.” Develop a more persuasive narrative.”
“While ISIL considered weaponizing the virus, member states did not find any concrete plans to implement the idea,” the panel said.
In Europe and other non-conflict regions, the lockdowns and border closures brought on by COVID-19 have slowed the movement and gathering of people, while “increasing the risk of online radicalization,” it said.
Experts warned that “attacks may have been planned at different locations” during the pandemic that will be executed if restrictions are eased.
The panel said that in Iraq and Syria, “the main conflict areas for ISIL,” the extremist group’s activities are “a rampant insurgency, exploiting vulnerabilities in local security to find safe havens and to target forces engaged in operations against ISIL.” have evolved.”
Despite heavy counter-terrorism pressure from Iraqi forces, experts said the Islamic State attacks in Baghdad in January and April “underlined the group’s resilience.”
In Syria’s rebel-held northwestern Idlib province, experts said al-Qaeda-linked groups dominate the region, with “terrorist fighters” numbering more than 10,000.
“While 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, particularly to Afghanistan, whether the environment there is more hospitable with ISIL or groups.” It should be done. Qaida,” the panel said.
In Central, South and Southeast Asia, experts said Islamic State and al-Qaeda affiliates continue to operate “despite the loss of key leadership in some cases and continued pressure from security forces”.
Experts said the status of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is “unknown,” and if he is alive many unnamed member states “assess that he is ill, posing an acute leadership challenge to al-Qaeda. ”