Statistics published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies - a research institution affiliated with the US Department of Defense - showed that nearly 4,000 people were killed in Africa during 2023 due to terrorist attacks.

An increase of about 19 percent compared to 2022;

The total number increased from 19 thousand to 23 thousand people.

According to the center, deaths resulting from extremist violence in Africa have risen significantly over the past year, reaching a “record level of lethal violence.”

The countries of the Sahel region in West Africa and a number of countries located east of the continent are witnessing a frightening increase in the activities of terrorist groups that have grown, developed, divided and reshaped themselves.

The continuing attacks launched by these groups have led to destabilization in Somalia, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.

Wasted efforts

These horrifying results come despite the efforts made by the United States of America, the European Union countries, and a number of other countries around the world to contain the phenomenon.

For decades, these countries have sought to provide billions of dollars in security aid and train thousands of African military personnel, establishing dozens of bases and sending their commandos on a wide range of missions.

For decades, US counterterrorism efforts in Africa have focused on two main fronts: Somalia and the Sahel region in West Africa;

But both of them witnessed a significant increase in the rates of terrorist activities over the past year.

Sahel region

For the Sahel region, deaths have risen nearly threefold from levels recorded in 2020. Deaths in the Sahel region will account for 50 percent of all militant-related deaths reported on the continent in 2023.

The center said, "The military coups that took place in a number of countries in the region undermined the goals and efforts seeking to provide stability and security."

Malian jurist and politician Mohamedou Diyala told Sky News Arabia that the significant increase in terrorist activities in countries of the region is due to weak security and the spread of weapons.

But Edo Agbo;

Professor of Political Science at the Nigerian University of Benin;

He blames the lack of effective strategies to combat terrorism and the absence of frameworks that provide the security forces with intelligence information that determines the nature of terrorist groups and the sources of their arming and financing.

A number of terrorist groups are active in the region, most notably Boko Haram, which was founded in northern Nigeria in 2003. The “Thakhrawi” group, which was formed in 2014 as a terrorist group led by Abdelmadjid al-Sahrawi, is also active and declared its allegiance to ISIS in the Levant.

The organization began its activity by launching suicide operations against the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad in northern Mali.

He then expanded his operations to include a number of regions in Burkina Faso and Niger.

After the entry of international forces and the intensification of military pressure on him;

The group resorted to using fighters from other militant groups such as Boko Haram and others.

There is also the Al-Nusra group, which was formed in Mali in 2017 and included an alliance of a number of terrorists belonging to different armed organizations and movements who announced their gathering and merging into one structure.

and their allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri;

The leader of Al-Qaeda at the time.

The group, which is active in Mali, Niger and other neighboring countries, says it wants to be a dominant force in the face of the growing influence of ISIS in the region.

Observers link the recent increase in terrorist attacks in West African countries to the withdrawal of French forces from those countries last year.

Before its forced exit from Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger;

France had about 8,000 soldiers in the three countries to help it fight terrorism.

Journalist Jelli Sar doubted the possibility of filling the security vacuum left by France.

He explained to Sky News Arabia, "When the West African countries decided to get rid of the French military presence, they were planning to rely on their new allies such as Russia, but the Russian Wagner Group has faced major problems during the recent period."

Somalia spiral

More than 20 years after the start of its mission in Somalia in 2004, US forces are still conducting counter-terrorism operations there, especially against the extremist Al-Shabaab movement.

To that end, Washington has provided billions of dollars in counterterrorism aid, according to a 2023 report by the Costs of War Project at Brown University.

The Americans also carried out more than 280 air and commando raids there and created many military units to conduct low-level military operations.

According to the center, Somalia saw “a 22% increase in deaths in 2023 – reaching a record high of 7,643 deaths.”

At the end of last year, international parties participating in security operations in Somalia revealed new strategies focusing on naval bases, training Somali forces, and paying attention to resolving political and economic dilemmas as a gateway to ensuring security stability in this East African country, which has lived through long decades of security and economic turmoil.

However, the recent period witnessed a 70 percent increase in the severity of Al-Shabaab attacks on civilian and government targets.

According to what was recorded by the International Monitor for Armed Conflict Data.  

backgrounds

  • Experts attribute the increase in terrorist attacks in Africa and the fall of about 20 percent of children into ignorance to the accelerating population explosion witnessed by the continent, whose population gave birth to 34 million children during 2024, accounting for 25 percent of the total population increase in the world during the mentioned period, amounting to about 140 million. According to the World Population Foundation, which specializes in tracking global population statistics.

  • The nature and tactics of terrorist groups in the region have changed dramatically;

    After it initially took on a limited takfiri character;

    It began to expand significantly as new groups were born;

    Others merged with each other, including groups of thieves and bandits tasked with increasing financial support.

  • Terrorist attacks pose a significant security and financial burden on African countries that are already mired in a number of major economic, social and humanitarian crises.

    caused by climate change and economic decline;

    In addition, more than 30 percent of the population suffers from food insecurity, which was exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.