By Charles Nwabardi
The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism has warned that the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS), a terrorist group, is expanding its affiliates and network beyond Syria and Iraq to Africa.
The Under-Secretary-General of the UN office of counter-terrorism, Vladimir Voronkov told the Security Council on Wednesday, Feb. 9, that the epicentre of ISIL terrorist group – officially known as Da’esh – activities now appeared to be in the African continent.
The under-secretary-general said that the terrorist activities were gaining ground in Central and West Africa at an “unsettling” scale and pace.
Voronkov said the terrorist activities are intensifying in Central and West Africa, especially Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Niger, and attacks are increasingly reported in the border area between Mozambique and Tanzania.
He added that a targeted attack reportedly resulted in the death of the ISIL/Da’esh leader, Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Salbi, widely known as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi.
However, the UN counter-terrorism warned that ISIL/Da’esh is known for its ability to re-group and even intensify its activities.
“We have learned over the past two decades that counter-terrorism is a long-term game and that there are no quick fixes,” Voronkov stressed.
Citing the need for both military counter-terrorism operations and more comprehensive measures with a focus on prevention, he urged states to use all tools at their disposal, adding, “As we begin a new decade of counter-terrorism, it is time to ask ourselves difficult questions and search for honest answers.”