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Confronting the Terrorist Threat in Africa

Police officers stand guard near Hayat Hotel, the scene of an al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group militant attack, in Mogadishu, Somalia August 21, 2022.

Terrorism continues to threaten countless lives and livelihoods across Africa.

Confronting the Terrorist Threat in Africa
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Terrorism continues to threaten countless lives and livelihoods across Africa. Indeed, just last month, the Al-Shabaab terrorist group laid siege to the Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, in an attack that killed 30 people and left 117 injured.

The United States continues to assist its African partners to build and sustain capable, professional, and accountable military and civilian security services to prevent and counter terrorist threats, said U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs at the United Nations. He welcomed “further collaboration with Somalia, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia and its troop contributors, and the members of the Security Council, to address better the al-Shabaab threat and enable Somalia to take more responsibility for its own security.”

At the same time across Africa, ISIS and al-Qaida continue to exploit conflict, governance failure, political turmoil, socioeconomic inequalities, and grievances to attract followers and resources, as well as to incite and organize terrorist attacks, noted Ambassador DeLaurentis.

He urged the international community to “augment the efforts of vulnerable populations to reject these appeals to violent extremism.” Indeed, a recent UN report warned that this “threat is increasing across various areas of the African continent. ISIS and al-Qaida affiliates continue to exploit Africa’s standing conflicts and grievances to bolster their illicit activities, providing them heightened lethality.”

Terrorist groups are also beginning to employ new and emerging technologies, including unmanned aerial systems. These are exploited by terrorist groups to facilitate attacks, conduct intelligence, and develop propaganda.

The United States is committed to continuing its Counterterrorism-Unmanned Aerial Systems capacity-building efforts and appreciates Kenya’s dedication to this mission. There has been an increase in terrorist use of unmanned aerial systems and multi-use technologies to threaten soft targets, and the United States looks forward to continuing cooperation with Kenya against these efforts.

The international community must remain united in its commitment to stamp out the scourge of terrorist organizations such as ISIS, al-Qaida, and al-Shabaab as they threaten peace and security in too many places in Africa and beyond.