Al-Qaeda 'seeks to regroup in Africa'

2012-04-04 16:00

London - A weakened al-Qaeda is seeking to regroup and re-energise by linking up with established Islamist movements in Africa, a new report from Britain's Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) said on Wednesday.

Deprived of its base in Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden's terror network appears to be seeking influence in Somalia, North Africa and beyond, raising the prospect of a new "arc of regional instability", the study said.

"The focus of anti-jihadist counter-terrorism is shifting to Africa," wrote Valentina Soria, a research analyst at the RUSI defence think-tank.

Her report details "disturbing new trends" across the continent which pose fresh challenges for Western countries such as Britain and the United States, whose citizens may be increasingly targeted in Africa and which could even be attacked themselves, although there is no public evidence of this so far.

"If correct, this assessment would raise the worrying prospect of an arc of regional instability encompassing the whole Sahara-Sahel strip and extending through to East Africa, which the now weakened al-Qaeda-core could well exploit to re-group, re-organise and re-invigorate its terrorist campaign against the West," the report said.

Using a tested model from Yemen, the home of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the network has forged alliances with the Shabaab movement in Somalia and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in North Africa.

Meanwhile, Nigeria's Boko Haram, while remaining separate and focused on local issues, has shifted towards more spectacular attacks reminiscent of al-Qaeda, the report said.

Al-Qaeda "appears to be adopting a strategy of 'going native', which implies seizing upon and exploiting local grievances with the ultimate aim of securing a stable foothold in volatile countries", the report said.

The African groups benefit from al-Qaeda's expertise to plan and carry out high-profile attacks and to disseminate propaganda, as well as physical support in the form of fighters, finances and weapons.

However, the report said the decision to link up with Bin Laden's group could cause internal divisions and also scare off potential recruits, noting that Shabaab’s reliance on foreign fighters may not be a choice but a necessity driven by the alienation of the Somali movement's African supporters.

  • leigh.ridgway - 2012-04-04 16:29

    As long as those scum stay away from our country!

      Dawood - 2012-04-04 17:39

      don't worry..the american scum will stay out of our country,cos the minerals are already flowing out freely..

      Fred - 2012-04-04 19:17

      Dawood, you're a bigot. South Africans don't take kindly to your sort. Change now or leave.

      Fred - 2012-04-04 23:18

      Your idea of Brics success is actually its failure, but you don't understand this. Not surprising coming from someone who's on record saying, "the world would be a better place if Jews were removed from all walks of life".

  • Junebugg - 2012-04-04 16:45

    I am glad we are a strong Christian country .I hope it stays like that forever and ever Amen

      J-Man - 2012-04-04 17:10

      Strong? You call this country strong? When 30 year old Woodwork-experts can bring the government to its knees? And people like the Dalai Lama aren't allowed to visit? Strong? An based on Christian views? Don't make me laugh.

      Fred - 2012-04-04 19:20

      South Africa is NOT a Christian country, and it should never be. No religion should ever have the supreme arrogance to claim a country for itself. Supreme arrogance.

      Fred - 2012-04-04 23:19

      You have a real obsessive compulsive disorder Patrick.

  • stoute.babuseng - 2012-04-04 16:50

    please regroup in Somali so that when NATO invade the pirates there, they also take you down :)

      Dawood - 2012-04-04 17:42

      yes,NATO will get a hiding in Somalia as well,the same way they are catching it in Afghanistan...

      Fred - 2012-04-04 19:22

      Dawood, you have a stupid anti-West OCD.

      Fred - 2012-04-04 23:20

      Ignorant Patrick with an OCD who doesn't realize he's working for his own downfall and the for fall of his loved ones.

  • Cassandra Olivier - 2012-04-04 17:06

    I wonder what the USA want from us

      Dawood - 2012-04-04 17:43

      your minerals,oil,and whatever else valuable you have...America is run by big business.

      Fred - 2012-04-04 19:24

      You're both being so dumb. When your family are blown up by Jihadist extremists it'll be too late to wake up.

  • Tano - 2012-04-13 13:43

    quote: Meanwhile, Nigeria's Boko Haram, while remaining separate and focused on local issues, has shifted towards more spectacular attacks reminiscent of al-Qaeda, the report said. The above quote smacks of a desperate need by many to see Nigeria crumble. It's like, let's lave them (Nigerians) to suffer and perish at the hands Al-Qaeda by pretending what is happening there is only a local issue.

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