Terrorism a Global issue, not just an African problem

2014-08-11 08:47

For decades, Africa has been plagued by complex conflicts. If anything, Africa has been the battleground in which proxy wars have been fought for private interests. Of late, we have seen the emergence, or re-emergence, of intensified violence. The Central African Republic has been in a state of civil war since late 2012. Further, to South Sudan continues to struggle with its own internal conflicts over power and resource control. These issues aren’t new; they have been prevalent since decolonisation. Terrorism, on the other hand, is a ‘new phenomena’ in Africa. However, it has often been overlooked. It is not until recently that groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shabaab in Somalia, and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, have brought new attention to this topic. While the United States, and the rest of the international community, have struggled for years to find a solution for terrorism, we need to consider what makes Africa different?

Bonolo Mogotsi, in her article ‘The rise of terrorism in Africa,’correctly points out that there has been a rise in terrorist attacks in Africa. Boko Haram’s actions in Nigeria, from kidnapping girls and bombing cities, is evidence of this. So too is Al Shabaab’s activity in Somalia: ranging from bombing UN convoys, UN offices and government buildings. There are significant difficulties in tracking these groups. However,the first assumption Mogosti makes is that the rise of terrorism is due to the lack of military intelligence, and apathy of African leaders that has exposed the continent’s inadequacy to deal with Terrorism. This seems nonsensical. Despite The United States’ extensive military spending and intelligence gathering capabilities, it took them close a decade to find Osama Bin Laden. And even then, killing him has not solved their problems. And even though finding Bin Laden was one of America’s top priorities, no matter how much its leaders wanted to find him, it was not that simple.

The Middle East has seen its fair share of terrorist attacks with little being done to either prevent or capture the culprits. The recent terrorist Islamic state is indicative of how uncontrollable terrorism can be. The IS has recently been reported to have killed about 500 members of the Yazidi ethnic minority in Iraqi further kidnapping and enslaving 300 women. The ethnic minority as well as Iraqi Christians have fled the country in order to save themselves from the brutality of the group. This has prompted the United State to authorize Military air strikes in an attempt to defeat the group which is now considered the wealthiest and most powerful terrorist organization. Whether It will succeed in its efforts is yet to be known. However what is certain is that most countries have struggled to find viable solutions in defeating these groups which often act meticulously and quickly and retreat back into hiding.

Thus the focus should be on how the international community can unify and place terrorism as a top priority before terrorist groups become as strong as the ISIS and potentially wipe out communities that refuse to convert or align themselves to beliefs represented by terrorist organizations. The longer we take in tracking terrorist groups the stronger they become and AL Qaeda ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab are examples of terrorist groups becoming stronger because of the difficulty in tracking their whereabouts.

Therefore terrorism shouldn’t be seen as just an African crisis that African leaders are ineffective in dealing with but rather a global crisis that needs the international community to find solutions that will defeat terrorism once and for all.

The biggest challenge facing the fight against terrorism at the moment is that the attention is already divided because of the many ongoing conflicts around the world such as The Israeli-Palestinian conflict dominating the news, the Ukraine civil war, as well as mineral and resource conflicts in the DRC, and South Sudan civil war Crisis. We need to show why Leaders need to prioritize the fight against terrorism above the devastating wars that have been unending.

Whilst the African Union struggles with consistency in dealing with some of the problems that plague the continent or intervening in times of crisis, One needs to be careful in attributing all failures to the institution, particularly when certain problems like terrorism are issues that the global institutions also struggle with.

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