Self Help

The Islamic State in Africa - Warner, Jason

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 88 min read



Here is a summary of the key points from the book “The Islamic State in Africa”:

  • The book analyzes the emergence and evolution of branches and affiliate groups of the Islamic State terrorist organization across North, West, Central, and East Africa.

  • It covers the Islamic State’s activities and networks in Libya, Algeria, Sinai, Tunisia, West Africa, the Greater Sahara region of West Africa, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mozambique.

  • For each region, it describes the origins and history of the Islamic State affiliate, its leadership structure, tactics and targets of violence, relationships to other jihadist groups, and sources of financing and territorial control.

  • A key theme is how the Islamic State has adapted its franchise model to local contexts while still maintaining contact and influence from its core leadership in the Middle East.

  • The conclusion discusses the future trajectories for each Islamic State branch based on internal and external factors like counterterrorism efforts, competition with al-Qaeda, and local political and security conditions.

  • Overall the book provides an in-depth look at the emergence of the Islamic State as a transnational terrorist threat across Africa, the dynamics shaping its spread on the continent, and prospects for its continued evolution.

  • Salafism is a conservative reform movement within Sunni Islam that advocates returning to the traditions of the first three generations of pious Muslims.

  • Sharia refers to Islamic law.

  • Takbeer means “Allah is the greatest” in Arabic.

  • Takfir is when one Muslim declares another to be an apostate or infidel, warranting excommunication.

  • Umma refers to the global Islamic community.

  • Wali means governor, typically of a province.

  • Wilaya generally refers to an administrative unit, often used to refer to provinces of the Islamic State.

  • Yusufiya is a slang term for followers of Mohammed Yusuf, the first leader of Boko Haram.

  • Zakat refers to the Islamic tax.

The introduction provides an overview of claims by the US president in 2018-2019 that ISIS had been defeated, but notes that many remained skeptical as ISIS continued attacks. It summarizes the key events of ISIS losing its last stronghold in Syria in March 2019 and its leader al-Baghdadi dying in October 2019. Despite these losses, ISIS affiliates in Africa continued expressing loyalty.

The chapter then explores the emergence and growth of ISIS affiliates across Africa since 2014, and their increasing attacks, territorial control and fighter numbers. It notes that by 2019, ISIS had several official provinces in Africa and claimed over 400 attacks that year.

The argument and methodology section introduces the core questions of how ISIS affiliates in Africa emerged and evolved, and why they continued showing loyalty despite the decline of ISIS centrally after losses in 2019. It previews how subsequent chapters will address these questions.

  • The book analyzes 9 Islamic State affiliates in Africa between their emergence and al-Baghdadi’s death in 2019. Each chapter looks at one group.

  • The chapters are divided into three time periods for analytical consistency: pre-bayah (before pledging allegiance in 2014), bayah period (between pledge and official IS acceptance), and post-bayah (after acceptance until 2019).

  • Within each period, the chapters ask distinct questions about the group’s dynamics and relationship with ISIS central.

  • The book argues these experiences can be viewed through three lenses:

    • “Democratization of jihad” - ISIS rise facilitated new opportunities for affiliation pre-bayah
    • “Affiliate utility validation” - Groups had to prove usefulness to ISIS during bayah period
    • “Sovereign subordinates” - Groups operated autonomously post-bayah despite nominal subordination
  • These lenses help explain why African affiliates remained committed despite ISIS decline, as benefits came from branding over material support.

  • The book uses qualitative case studies and mixes primary sources like ISIS/affiliate media with secondary sources for a rigorous yet accessible analysis.

  • The book relies on primary interviews conducted with over 90 individuals who had exposure to or expertise on IS’s presence in Africa. This includes defectors from IS organizations, hostages, witnesses to IS violence, and victims’ friends/family.

  • Secondary interviews were also conducted with dozens of subject matter experts like academics, analysts, officials, and journalists to study the opaque phenomenon of IS affiliates in Africa.

  • Secondary source material from reports by government, intergovernmental, and non-government organizations are also extensively cited.

  • News reports, social media, and materials in 10+ languages provide additional insights.

  • The book focuses deeply on 9 specific IS-affiliated groups in Africa that demonstrated hierarchy, sustained attacks, and durable ties to IS central. Smaller unorganized cells/individuals are excluded.

  • Groups discussed include official IS provinces in Libya, Algeria, Sinai, Somalia as well as non-province affiliates like in Tunisia. Operational “wings” under provinces are discussed separately.

  • The analysis covers the development of these groups up until October 2019, after the death of al-Baghdadi.

  • The analysis of clandestine global jihadist groups is inherently limited due to their desires for secrecy and lack of internal documents/member access. Findings represent the most rigorous analyses to date but are subject to revision with new information.

  • The four authors have varied backgrounds that inform their perspectives, and have aimed to minimize personal biases in their analysis. They welcome critique and refinement from others.

  • The Islamic State (IS) originated from al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. After leadership changes, it became the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). Under Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, it expanded into Syria as Jabhat al-Nusra, then declared itself the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Syria (ISIL/ISIS), controlling territory across borders. This bureaucratized local insurgent force attracted pledges from some African jihadist groups due to its presence and claims of governance.

  • ISIS originally began as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In 2013, al-Baghdadi declared AQI as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), claiming authority over Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate. Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri disagreed and limited ISIS’s role to Iraq.

  • Tensions rose between ISIS and other Syrian rebel groups as ISIS imposed strict administration in seized towns. Major fighting erupted in early 2014 when rebels pushed ISIS out of much of Syria, though ISIS took control of Raqqa and Fallujah.

  • Al-Zawahiri formally cut ties with ISIS in 2014, accusing them of “sedition.” However, ISIS continued expanding in Iraq and Syria, taking Mosul and declaring a caliphate with al-Baghdadi as Caliph in June 2014.

  • Under al-Baghdadi’s leadership, ISIS sought to destroy existing political borders and nation-states to create a global caliphate. It used extensive violence against its enemies and committed atrocities to govern and expand its territory. This established ISIS as a feared extremist group known for its brutality.

  • The Islamic State’s wealth and success enabled it to offer actual functioning governance over territories, which attracted transnational jihadist groups. It was unprecedentedly wealthy from various revenue streams, with an estimated $6 billion in assets at its peak in 2015.

  • Its power, success in governing territories, brutal tactics, and wealth made it inspirational and captivated supporters worldwide, including in parts of Africa.

  • The subsequent chapters detail how and why nine distinct IS-affiliated groups emerged across Africa between 2014-2019 and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

  • The dynamics of these African IS groups are divided into three periods: pre-pledge, during the pledge process, and post-pledge once allegiance was accepted.

  • Prior to IS, al-Qaeda largely monopolized transnational jihadist affiliations. IS’s rise created a new alternative pole of affiliation and “democratized” the global jihadist movement, opening opportunities for African militant groups.

  • Factors like gaining greater legitimacy, resources, recruits, and repairing organizational deficiencies drew African groups to pledge to IS when they faced internal challenges they couldn’t independently overcome.

Based on the summary, the most successful attack in al-Qaeda’s pre-9/11 history was the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000. This attack showed that al-Qaeda still posed a threat after Bin Laden and the group relocated from Sudan to Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban in 1996. While damaging, it was overshadowed by the 9/11 attacks in 2001, which marked a major escalation in al-Qaeda’s operations and global profile.

  • Terrorist groups often affiliate with larger central organizations to gain strategic advantages like expanded operations and increased reputation/legitimacy. However, this affiliation also poses risks to the central group.

  • Al-Qaeda struggled to effectively control and coordinate its global affiliates. Documents from Osama bin Laden’s compound showed he was frustrated by affiliates’ incompetence, poor governance, lack of public support, and unnecessary attacks harming Muslims. Affiliates often pursued their own priorities over al-Qaeda’s.

  • ISIS appears to have learned from al-Qaeda’s experience and became more selective in accepting affiliates. It scrutinized potential affiliates to ensure the benefits outweighed reputational and other risks. However, most ISIS affiliates in Africa operated independently in practice as “sovereign subordinates” - they pledged allegiance but received little material support or direction from ISIS central.

  • While official ISIS provinces, African affiliates mainly relied on local resources and networks rather than central ISIS. Their connection provided ideological validation but little practical coordination or resources. Most evolved autonomously from both ISIS central and each other. Scholars debate the “local vs global” influence on these groups.

  • The downfall of Libya’s longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 following a civil war and NATO intervention left a power vacuum in the country. Anti-Qaddafi rebel groups formed the transitional National Transitional Council (NTC) but fractious militias contended for control after Qaddafi’s ouster.

  • Meanwhile in Syria, protests erupted in 2011 against the regime of Bashar al-Assad following a crackdown. As Assad responded violently and uncompromisingly, the uprising grew into a civil war.

  • Some Libyan fighters traveled to Syria to join various opposition groups fighting Assad. In 2011-2014, a Libyan militia called the Battar Brigade formed and fought alongside al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front and other Islamist rebel factions in Syria.

  • After Qaddafi’s fall, Libya descended into instability and violent conflict as militias vied for control without strong central authority. This created an environment where ISIS would later emerge and exploit the security vacuum to establish a presence. The Battar Brigade’s experience in Syria also connected Libyan jihadists to the Syrian conflict and terrorist networks that would later affiliate with ISIS.

  • In Syria, the anti-Assad uprising increasingly militarized in late 2011 with the formation of the Free Syrian Army. Many civilians also took up arms against security forces.

  • As Libya’s civil war ended in 2011, some Libyans traveled to Syria as foreign fighters against the Assad regime, viewing it as a continuation of their struggle against oppressive leaders. Estimates put Libyan foreign fighters in Syria at 700-1200 by mid-2012.

  • Libyan fighters joined various Syrian rebel groups, but some formed their own Battar Brigade focused on transnational jihad rather than nationalist goals. Based in Derna, Libya, it grew as a capable fighting force.

  • As the conflict intensified in 2013, foreign fighters had to choose between al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and the rival Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) led by al-Baghdadi. Most foreign fighters, including the Battar Brigade, sided with ISIS.

  • Back in Libya, the country descended into renewed civil war in 2014 as the unstable post-Qaddafi government faced challenges. Two rival authorities emerged, spreading further chaos and a power vacuum. It was in this environment that the Islamic State found opportunity to emerge in Libya.

  • Ansar al-Sharia (ASL) emerged in Libya in 2011 following the overthrow of Gaddafi, calling for the widespread implementation of sharia law. It provided social services but also carried out violence against those who disobeyed its rules.

  • ASL claimed responsibility for the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three others. Locals subsequently drove ASL underground in Benghazi.

  • In 2013, some Libyan fighters who had gained combat experience while fighting for ISIS in Syria began returning home to Libya. Many were instructed by ISIS leadership to return and help establish an ISIS branch in Libya.

  • Around 300 returned fighters from the Battar Brigade, many originally from Derna, returned to Libya in 2014. They linked up with ISIS-aligned members of ASL in Derna to form the Islamic Youth Shura Council (MSSI), which became the antecedent group to ISIS’s first province in Libya.

  • The MSSI declared its presence in Derna in April 2014, imposing sharia law and security patrols. It began carrying out public executions and punishments. In June 2014 it expressed support for ISIS as ISIS declared its caliphate. The MSSI helped ISIS gain its first foothold outside of Syria and Iraq.

  • In October 2014, the militant group MSSI (Mujahideen Shura Council of Derna) rebranded itself as Wilayat Derna and declared that the lands under its control were now part of ISIS’s global caliphate. However, this did not officially make Derna a wilayat or province yet.

  • In November 2014, ISIS central officially recognized Derna as a wilaya/province of the Islamic State, alongside two other wilayat in Libya - Wilayat Barqa in the east and Wilayat Tarabulus in the west.

  • ISIS central had been courting Libyan groups like MSSI/ASL to pledge allegiance (bayah) for some time. An important envoy, Abu Mughirah al-Qahtani, was sent to Derna in September 2014 to help establish ISIS branches and lead operations.

  • Al-Qahtani incorporated MSSI members and foreign fighters in Libya to form the core fighting force of the Derna wilayah. Two other envoys, al-Azdi and al-Jazrawi, also helped win over some ASL members to ISIS.

  • After the official bayah/pledge, the former MSSI group started undertaking attacks as the Derna wilayah to prove itself to ISIS central and boost recruitment. However, ISIS control over Derna was short-lived from late 2014 to mid-2015 before facing resistance.

  • An Islamic State affiliate in Tripoli, Libya claimed responsibility for an attack on the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli. The attack killed 10 people, including 5 foreign citizens.

  • The Islamic State was able to grow in Libya for several reasons: 1) ISIS’ reputation was rising globally after taking over regions of Iraq and Syria; 2) Libya provided a new front for foreign fighters tired of fighting in Iraq/Syria; 3) ISIS was effective at recruiting members from other Libyan jihadi groups like Ansar al-Sharia by assassinating rival leaders.

  • ISIS established strongholds first in Derna and later in Sirte. In Sirte, they co-opted an existing Ansar al-Sharia branch and absorbed most of its fighters by 2015. Sirte was seen as more attractive than other cities due to its association with Gaddafi and weaker opposition from tribes and militias.

  • ISIS took control of buildings in Sirte in 2015 and imposed its strict laws and judiciary system. This elicited resistance from local militias and international airstrikes from the US, culminating in ISIS being pushed out of Derna and Sirte by late 2015 and early 2016.

The Islamic State established control over the city of Sirte, Libya in 2015. It acted like a government by collecting taxes, maintaining records, and controlling the local banking system. It imposed both a religious tax (zakat) and additional taxes on businesses and agricultural products.

The IS established strict rules enforced by a morality police called the Hisbah. Things like smoking, music, shisha pipes, and satellite dishes were banned. People were compelled to pray and attend mosques. Punishments for violations included floggings, beatings, electric shocks, executions, and other violence. Notable incidents included public beheadings and the killing of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians.

Over 85% of the population fled Sirte to escape IS rule. The IS controlled critical infrastructure like the airport and water storage facilities. Through surveillance, spies and informants, it tightly monitored the population to identify any opposition or rule-breakers, who then faced detention, torture and killing. The extreme violence defined IS control over Sirte from 2015-2016.

  • The Islamic State achieved influence in Sirte, Libya starting in July 2015, establishing it as a headquarters for their operations in North and West Africa. Sirte was vital due to its resources, location, and ability to undermine European economies.

  • IS central played a major role in directing operations in Sirte remotely. Leadership positions were largely held by non-Libyans like Iraqis, Tunisians, and Saudis sent by IS central. Tactics used in Sirte like drones and tunnels were innovations brought from Iraq/Syria.

  • Life changed dramatically under IS rule, especially for women. Dress became highly conservative with strict niqab requirements. Women needed a male escort to leave home and many could no longer work. Harsh punishments were given for any violations of the strict social and gender norms enforced by the Islamic State.

  • The Islamic State inserted itself strongly into life in Sirte, Libya, enforcing strict rules especially around marriage, sexuality, dress codes, and education. Punishments for disobedience were severe.

  • Women and girls suffered under increased controls on their behavior and dress. Child marriage increased greatly in some areas under IS rule.

  • Schools’ curriculums were altered and class sizes shrank due to IS influence and indoctrination efforts. Some children were even used in IS military operations.

  • However, IS also tried to portray life continuing normally in Sirte and presented itself as bringing order. Those who accepted its rule were often treated reasonably.

  • Nonetheless, governance was ineffective and life became difficult, with shortages of food, medicine and fuel. Hospitals were abandoned.

  • Starting in 2016, a coalition including Libyan forces and US airstrikes pushed back against IS rule in Sirte. IS fighters resisted desperately but took heavy losses over months of fighting until they lost control by the end of 2016.

  • In December 1991, Algeria held the first round of legislative elections that were intended to mark a transition to multi-party democracy after decades of rule by the National Liberation Front (FLN) party.

  • The Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), an Islamist opposition party, did well in the first round and appeared poised to win a majority in the second round scheduled for January 1992.

  • Fearing a loss of power, the FLN-backed military cancelled the second round and annulled the elections. This sparked a violent civil war as Islamist militants rose up against the government.

  • Armed Islamist groups like the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) carried out a deadly insurgency throughout the 1990s.

  • By the summer of 2014, as the Islamic State rose in Syria and Iraq, some Algerian militants began shifting allegiance from al-Qaeda to ISIS, paving the way for the emergence of an Algerian ISIS province called Wilayat al-Jazair.

  • Abdelmalek Gouri was born in northern Algeria in 1977 and joined the GIA insurgency in the early 1990s, fighting until his arrest in 1997.

  • He was released in 1999 under an amnesty program. He then joined the GSPC, a successor group to the GIA, fighting the Algerian state.

  • In the mid-2000s, as the GSPC (which became AQIM in 2007) suffered losses, Gouri traveled to Lebanon and briefly fought with Fatah al-Islam, an al-Qaeda linked group.

  • He returned to Algeria in 2007 and rose in the ranks of AQIM, eventually becoming the deputy leader of AQIM’s “Central” sector in Algeria.

  • However, tensions grew as Gouri disagreed with AQIM leader Droukdel over strategy against the Algerian military. Gouri believed AQIM was declining and needed a new approach.

  • This set the stage for Gouri to eventually break from AQIM and align with the rising Islamic State after 2013, forming their Algeria affiliate.

  • In July 2014, an AQIM commander named Abu Abdallah Othman al-Asimi publicly pledged allegiance to ISIS and its leader al-Baghdadi, though it was unclear if he spoke for all of AQIM.

  • In September 2014, Algerian AQIM commanders Mokhtar Belmokhtar (Gouri) and others formally pledged allegiance to ISIS and renamed their group Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate). They condemned AQIM for deviating from the true path.

  • Shortly after, on September 22nd, Jund al-Khilafa kidnapped French man Hervé Gourdel in Algeria’s Kabylia region, threatening to kill him if France did not end airstrikes on ISIS within 24 hours.

  • On September 23rd, a video showed Gourdel pleading with the French president. On September 24th, another video showed Gourdel’s beheading, the first known ISIS beheading outside Iraq and Syria.

  • In November 2014, ISIS officially recognized Jund al-Khilafa as its Algeria province, Wilayat al-Jazair. The author speculates this was due to the group demonstrating its utility to ISIS through the high-profile Gourdel killing.

So in summary, AQIM commanders in Algeria defected to ISIS in 2014 and carried out the first known ISIS attack/beheading outside the Middle East, which led ISIS to officially recognize them as its Algeria province.

While gaining official recognition from ISIS as a province, Wilayat al-Jazair remained small and isolated after forming in late 2014. The murder of French tourist Herve Gourdel prompted a major crackdown by Algerian security forces. Key leaders Abdelmalek Gouri and Djamel Okacha (also known as Abou Basir al-Jazairi) were both killed by late 2015, eliminating the original group’s leadership.

Several smaller cells then pledged allegiance to ISIS and operated as remnants of Wilayat al-Jazair between 2015-2017. The most prominent was Saraya Ghuraba led by Noureddine Laouira. They carried out some sporadic attacks in the Constantine area in late 2016 but suffered losses to security forces. By early 2017, Saraya Ghuraba and the remnants of the original Wilayat al-Jazair group had been largely dismantled. Overall, ISIS’s Algeria affiliate remained small, isolated and vulnerable to security force operations throughout its existence.

  • The group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (ABM) emerged in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula around 2011 following the Egyptian revolution which overthrew Hosni Mubarak.

  • The Sinai, especially North Sinai, had long been marginalized and its Bedouin population faced socioeconomic difficulties, leading some to engage in smuggling/crime. North Sinai also had close ties to Gaza and its militant groups.

  • In the post-Mubarak power vacuum, ABM was able to take advantage of the unstable situation in Sinai to begin militant activities. Its formation was influenced by marginalization of Sinai Bedouins and ties to militants in Gaza.

  • Over time, ABM would pledge allegiance to ISIS and become the Islamic State’s Sinai Province, engaging in an insurgency against the Egyptian government from its Sinai base. But initially, ABM emerged amid the revolutionary conditions in Egypt in 2011 seeking to exploit the political instability.

  • In 2011-2014, thousands of Islamists, including Muslim Brotherhood members, were released from Egyptian prisons. Some fled to North Sinai to avoid recapture and continue proselytizing.

  • Along with local Bedouins, Palestinians, and existing Salafi-jihadi groups, they formed the militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (ABM) in North Sinai. ABM’s goals included erasing Israel and liberating Palestinians through armed rebellion.

  • ABM carried out attacks against Israeli and Egyptian targets from 2012-2014. After the 2013 military coup in Egypt, ABM shifted its hostility toward the Egyptian government.

  • ABM had informal ties to al-Qaeda but was not a formal affiliate. It faced increased pressure from Egypt’s President al-Sisi starting in 2014. Egyptian forces killed over two dozen ABM leaders between March-October 2014, degrading the group.

  • With ABM weakened, the Islamic State saw an opportunity to court the group and gain a foothold in Egypt. IS envoys contacted ABM in 2014, offering support if the group pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This set the stage for ABM’s eventual bay’ah (pledge of allegiance) to IS.

  • The passage discusses the transition of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (ABM) in the Sinai Peninsula to becoming the Islamic State’s Wilayat Sinai province in November 2014.

  • ABM formally pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on November 10, 2014, though there was dissent within ABM about this pledge.

  • ISIS quickly accepted ABM’s pledge on November 13, 2014, establishing Wilayat Sinai and marking Egypt as the third African country with an ISIS province, along with Libya and Algeria.

  • In its first eight months as Wilayat Sinai, the group increased attacks on civilians and appeared to receive funding, weapons and coordination from ISIS affiliates in Libya. It also began framing its messaging around global jihadist goals rather than local issues.

  • Wilayat Sinai conducted its first killing of an American, oil worker William Henderson, in December 2014 and attempted some rudimentary governance efforts in early 2015 through tactics like distributing funds and cracking down on smuggling. However, its governance capacity remained very limited.

  • In July 2015, IS-Sinai launched its largest attack to date, attempting to seize control of the town of Sheikh Zuweid in northern Sinai. Around 300-400 IS fighters attacked over 15 military and police targets in and around the town.

  • They were initially successful in taking over parts of the town, with reports of IS parading through the streets and standing on rooftops firing weapons. Egyptian air strikes and ground forces retook the town within 12 hours.

  • Despite failing to hold Sheikh Zuweid, it showed IS-Sinai’s increasing ambition and capabilities beyond small hit-and-run attacks. Some thought IS central may have pressured the Sinai branch to attempt holding territory.

  • In subsequent months, IS-Sinai shifted focus more to attacking foreigners. In July 2015 they kidnapped and later killed a Croatian national, Tomislav Salopek.

  • On October 31, 2015, an IS-Sinai bomb brought down Metrojet Flight 9268, killing all 224 people on board in what was the terror group’s deadliest attack to date against civilians.

  • Metrojet Flight 9268, a Russian passenger plane carrying over 200 people from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt to St. Petersburg, Russia, crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on October 31, 2015.

  • The plane experienced a rapid drop in altitude 23 minutes into the flight and split apart, with the bodies of passengers found scattered across miles of the crash site. All passengers and crew perished.

  • ISIS’ Sinai branch (IS-Sinai) quickly claimed responsibility. However, Egypt and Russia denied it was terrorism, proposing alternative theories like metal fatigue or technical issues.

  • Evidence later emerged that a bomb had likely brought the plane down. British and Israeli intelligence pointed to a baggage handler smuggling a bomb aboard. US intelligence also intercepted IS-Sinai militants taking credit.

  • In November 2015, ISIS’ magazine Dabiq formally claimed and described how IS-Sinai planted a bomb disguised as a soft drink can on the plane, causing the explosion. They targeted Russia in retaliation for its participation in the coalition against ISIS.

  • The Metrojet crash killing 224 people, mostly Russian tourists, was the deadliest aviation incident of 2015 and the deadliest in Russian history. It marked IS-Sinai’s shift to targeting civilians to stoke sectarian tensions in Egypt.

  • IS-Sinai conducted brutal sectarian attacks and attempted to govern parts of Sinai by enforcing strict Islamic laws and punishments. This included establishing a religious police force (Hisbah) to enforce codes on behaviors like smoking and women’s dress.

  • The Egyptian state responded with an intense counterterrorism campaign involving over 1,800 reported operations between 2013-2018. This was led by General Mohamed Farid Hegazi after his appointment in late 2017.

  • Hegazi was given a 90-day mandate by President Sisi in December 2017 to crush IS-Sinai after the al-Rawda mosque attack that killed over 300 people. However, by the end of the 90 days it was clear IS-Sinai still posed a serious threat, though it had suffered some losses from the Egyptian operations.

  • The campaign involved airstrikes and raids but was also criticized for alleged human rights abuses against civilians. This fueled further radicalization in some cases rather than defeating the insurgency. The likelihood of IS-Sinai being fully targeted remained uncertain even as operations continued.

  • The Egyptian military announced Operation Sinai in February 2018 to tighten control of borders and clear out terrorist groups from the Sinai Peninsula. It involved intensifying the military occupation of North Sinai and restricting movement and communications in the region.

  • Operation Sinai led to major human rights abuses by the military, including widespread extrajudicial killings, torture of detainees, and arbitrary arrests at checkpoints. Over 1000 deaths were reported in 2016 alone before the operation began.

  • The military also destroyed over 3000 homes and 600 businesses as part of “buffer zones,” disrupting civilians. They recruited local tribesmen as intelligence operatives with little oversight, allowing some to settle scores.

  • At the time of al-Baghdadi’s death in late 2019, IS in Sinai (IS-Sinai) was less lethal but still conducting around 160 attacks per IS Central’s claims. They remained pledged to IS leadership after the loss of its territory. In November 2019, IS-Sinai pledged allegiance to the new caliph.

  • IS-Sinai followed a common trajectory for an IS affiliate, joining opportunistically after losing al-Qaeda ties. It had some coordination with IS Central early on but showed little clear direction over time, operating more autonomously like other African branches.

The chapter discusses the emergence of Islamist groups in Tunisia following the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011. The overthrow of the authoritarian president Ben Ali resulted in democratic reforms and the legalization of Islamist political group Ennahda. Ennahda’s electoral victory led to greater acceptance of Salafi proselytization. Additionally, the interim government released many political prisoners, including some Islamist radicals.

This more open environment allowed Salafi-jihadist groups like Ansar al-Sharia Tunisia (AST) to emerge. AST was formed in 2011 by around 20 jihadists who had been imprisoned together previously and planned their organization. Following their release after the revolution, they officially established AST. The chapter outlines how the post-revolution political changes and socioeconomic issues in Tunisia created conducive conditions for the rise of AST and other Islamist extremist groups. However, AST in Tunisia struggled more for recognition compared to other Islamic State branches in North Africa.

  • Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AST) was founded in 2011 with the goal of gradually Islamizing Tunisian society through dawah (missionary work) and social services, while outwardly rejecting violence.

  • It began distributing aid and Islamist texts but violence was not far behind. In 2012, protests over an anti-Muslim film led by AST’s leader Abu Iyadh ransacked the US embassy in Tunisia.

  • AST also facilitated movement of Tunisian foreign fighters to Syria. Thousands joined groups like Jabhat al-Nusra and later ISIS.

  • After more attacks, Tunisia banned AST in 2013. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb formed a cell called Katibat Uqba bin Nafi (KUBN) in Tunisia.

  • Some KUBN members and former AST fighters defected to pledge allegiance (bayah) to ISIS in 2014, marking the emergence of an ISIS cell in Tunisia. This began with a statement of support in September 2014 from pro-IS individuals within KUBN.

  • In 2014, a Tunisian media group called Africa Media pledged allegiance (bayah) to ISIS, hoping to encourage the local jihadi group KUBN to also pledge allegiance to ISIS and defect from al-Qaeda.

  • In late 2014, some unknown individuals in Tunisia released an audio clip pledging allegiance to the caliph, though ISIS Central did not acknowledge this pledge.

  • Insurgents, believed to be affiliated with KUBN, started conducting violent attacks in Tunisia in the name of ISIS to try to gain official recognition and status from ISIS Central. Their first major attack was on the Bardo Museum in March 2015.

  • ISIS Central took responsibility for the Bardo Museum attack even though they had not officially accepted any pledges of allegiance from groups in Tunisia yet.

  • In May 2015, defecting members of KUBN formally pledged allegiance to ISIS leader al-Baghdadi. This third pledge was acknowledged by ISIS Central.

  • However, this group in Tunisia was never granted official provincial status by ISIS Central. Their members became known as Jund al-Khilafa or “Soldiers of the Caliphate.”

  • After pledging allegiance, Jund al-Khilafa conducted more attacks inside and outside of Tunisia through 2016, including the Sousse beach attack, even as they failed to gain official provincial designation from ISIS Central.

  • On March 7, 2016, Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate), an IS-affiliated militant group in Tunisia, launched an assault on the town of Ben Guerdane near the Libyan border. Ben Guerdane had high unemployment and smuggling was a major part of the economy.

  • Around 5-6 AM, over 100 Jund al-Khilafa fighters entered the town, broadcasting a message from a mosque calling citizens to support the Islamic State. They set up checkpoints and distributed weapons from a truck.

  • Militants targeted members of the security forces and state collaborators, killing some. But they told regular citizens they would not be targeted and were there to protect them from the “non-believer government.”

  • Clashes continued between militants and government security forces through the midday. The Tunisian state successfully retook the town, killing 55 militants and arresting 52. Twelve security members were also killed.

  • The assault aimed to establish an IS area of influence along the Tunisia-Libya border, but ultimately failed in its goal of taking over the town. It showed IS ambitions in Tunisia but the group’s capabilities were limited.

  • IS militants in Tunisia launched several deadly attacks between 2014-2016 in an attempt to prove their worth and gain recognition from IS central as an official wilaya (province).

  • IS central came close to declaring Tunisia a wilaya in a 2015 magazine article but never officially did so.

  • Despite contributing fighters, supporting other affiliates like Boko Haram, and coordinating external attacks in Europe, Tunisia was never granted full province status.

  • The timing of Tunisian pledges after IS central had already expanded in other areas worked against recognition. IS central may have become more stringent in accepting new affiliates by 2015.

  • Internally, the Tunisian group lacked wide support, never controlled territory significantly, and faced crackdowns by security forces.

  • Many Tunisian militants left to fight as foreign fighters in Iraq, Syria, or Libya rather than building the insurgency at home, contributing to a “jihadi brain drain” effect.

  • So while never officially a wilaya, the Tunisian cell still communicated and cooperated with IS central and other affiliates to some degree as loyal “soldiers of the Caliphate.” Their non-province status was still closely integrated with the broader IS network.

In June 2009, Nigerian security forces opened fire on a motorcycle procession during a funeral, wounding or killing about 17 people. Their offense was that some riders were not wearing helmets as required by a new law. Motorcycle riders protested the law since many could not afford helmets and they clashed with traditional headwear.

The confrontation grew out of tensions between the security forces and Mohammed Yusuf’s Islamic movement (initially called MYIM, later known as Boko Haram). Yusuf preached against Western influence and the corrupt Nigerian state. His following grew significantly in the poor northeast region. When security forces cracked down harder on the group using the helmet law as a pretext, Yusuf called for an uprising.

Violence escalated throughout July 2009 as Yusuf’s followers clashed with police in multiple cities. Security forces raided the group’s headquarters and compound, killing hundreds of followers. Yusuf was captured hiding in a pen and executed. With Yusuf dead, the remainder of the group fled to the Sambisa Forest under a new and more radical leader, Abubakar Shekau. Shekau had been appointed as the new leader by Yusuf before his death. In the forest, Boko Haram regrouped and began plotting violent retaliation against the state.

  • Boko Haram began as a non-violent preaching movement led by Mohammed Yusuf in northeastern Nigeria in the early 2000s. One of Yusuf’s early proselytizers was Abubakar Shekau.

  • After Yusuf was killed by Nigerian security forces in 2009, Shekau took over leadership of the group. He began rebuilding the movement under a new name, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad).

  • Soon after assuming leadership, Shekau launched more violent attacks, targeting police stations, bars, and Christian churches. This marked an escalation in Boko Haram’s tactics under his command.

  • In 2011, high-profile attacks in Nigeria’s capital Abuja showed Boko Haram’s expanded reach, including bombings of the UN headquarters and police headquarters that killed dozens.

  • Documents revealed Shekau had reached out to al-Qaeda’s affiliate Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) seeking assistance, funding, and training after taking over Boko Haram in 2009. AQIM expressed willingness to aid Boko Haram.

  • However, the relationship between Boko Haram and AQIM/al-Qaeda failed to deepen, and would later sour, opening the door for Boko Haram to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State in future years.

  • In April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped over 270 girls from a school in Chibok, Borno state in northeastern Nigeria. This mass abduction became known as the Chibok kidnappings and gained global attention through the #bringbackourgirls social media campaign.

  • The abduction placed intense international focus on the Boko Haram insurgency. It also elevated Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau and the group to the center of global jihadi discourse.

  • Shekau taunted the world about the kidnapped girls in videos, threatening to sell them as slaves. However, reactions within global Islamist extremist circles to the kidnappings were not entirely positive.

  • While Boko Haram gained notoriety from the Chibok kidnappings, the mass abduction marked a turning point that would eventually lead to the group aligning more closely with the Islamic State and mimicking its tactics and propaganda. This transition is explored further in the full text.

  • After Boko Haram’s mass kidnapping of Chibok girls in 2014, al-Qaeda condemned the act as forbidden by Islam, while ISIS praised it.

  • ISIS’s magazine provided theological justification for kidnapping and enslaving non-Muslim women, citing Chibok. This aligned with ISIS’s own later kidnappings and enslavement of Yazidi women.

  • Boko Haram and ISIS began exhibiting commonalities like territorial conquest and enforcing sharia law. Boko Haram gained territory in Nigeria in 2014 as the military failed to stop it.

  • In 2014, Boko Haram declared the town of Gwoza as part of an Islamic state, mirroring ISIS’s caliphate declaration. Boko Haram continued territorial assaults.

  • In late 2014, Boko Haram propaganda videos used ISIS imagery like flags and songs, showing ideological alignment with ISIS.

  • In 2015, Boko Haram launched a new media wing similar to ISIS’s, releasing high-quality videos mimicking ISIS executions and governance.

  • On March 7, 2015, Boko Haram leader Shekau officially pledged allegiance to ISIS caliph al-Baghdadi, formalizing the alliance between the groups.

  • Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, in March 2015. This merged Boko Haram into the Islamic State and formed its West Africa Province (ISWAP).

  • Boko Haram and the Islamic State shared similar Salafi-jihadist ideologies and theological foundations. For Boko Haram, pledging to IS provided greater legitimacy and potential access to IS resources and networks.

  • Shekau may have been cautious about pledging, but faced pressure from internal Boko Haram dissidents like Mamman Nur who opposed his leadership. They saw pledging as a way to curb Shekau’s extremism.

  • For the Islamic State, accepting Boko Haram’s pledge gave it allegiance of one of the deadliest terrorist groups. Boko Haram had conducted more fatal attacks than IS in 2014. This boosted IS’s global profile and network.

  • So both groups saw strategic benefits - Boko Haram gained legitimacy and resources, while IS expanded its influence into West Africa by incorporating one of the largest jihadist insurgencies in the world. However, Shekau is believed to have only pledged under internal pressure within Boko Haram.

  • After Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2015, becoming ISWAP, it came under increased military pressure from Nigeria and neighboring countries. ISIS sent advisors but ISWAP struggled to maintain its territory gains.

  • Under Shekau’s continued leadership of ISWAP, attacks on civilians intensified as the group came under pressure. This damaged relations with the populations in occupied areas.

  • Internal dissent against Shekau’s leadership emerged again due to his dictatorial style, inability to reverse losses, and extreme interpretation of who could be targeted. Key figures like Mamman Nur who had criticized Shekau previously now used the ISIS affiliation to further complain about him.

  • ISIS central also grew unhappy with Shekau over his continued use of child suicide bombers contrary to their directives, and targeting of Muslim civilians, which reflected poorly on ISIS. Growing internal divisions within ISWAP led ISIS Libya to get involved in arbitration. Shekau faced dissent from within ISWAP and criticism from ISIS central.

  • Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the son of Boko Haram’s founder Mohammed Yusuf, was appointed the new leader of ISWAP (Islamic State West Africa Province, formerly Boko Haram) by IS Central in an August 2016 magazine interview.

  • This effectively removed Abubakar Shekau from leadership, though he refused to accept this demotion. It marked an internal coup against Shekau supported by IS Central.

  • Al-Barnawi and others like Mamman Nur had long criticized Shekau internally. They opposed his indiscriminate violence, use of takfir doctrine to justify killing Muslims, and disrespect towards IS leadership.

  • Shekau broke away to form his own faction called JAS (Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’Awati Wal-Jihad), while al-Barnawi sought to reform ISWAP’s operations away from civilian targeting and towards the military.

  • There was some initial clashes between the factions but they generally settled into controlling separate areas with a tense peace, as IS Central may have brokered a ceasefire to maintain stability.

  • After splitting from Boko Haram in 2016, ISWAP under al-Barnawi sought to rebuild and rebrand itself with support from IS Central. This included funding, training from Libya, and following a strategic “blueprint” focusing attacks on military targets rather than civilians.

  • In February 2018, ISWAP kidnapped over 100 girls from a school in Dapchi, Nigeria, similar to the Chibok kidnappings. Most girls were returned over a month later, causing internal dissent.

  • The ISWAP leader who organized the Dapchi release, Mamman Nur, was executed in August 2018 by hardliners who opposed negotiating with the government.

  • In 2019, ISWAP appointed a new leader, Abu Abdullah ibn Umar al-Barnawi (Ba Idrissa), suggesting al-Barnawi had become too moderate. Idrissa sought to navigate tensions between ISWAP factions and gain local support while maintaining ties to IS Central.

So in summary, it outlines ISWAP’s rebuilding after splitting from Boko Haram, the Dapchi kidnapping crisis, subsequent leadership changes driven by internal power struggles, and ISWAP’s attempts to balance local interests with connections to ISIS central.

  • ISWAP under new leader Ba Idrissa sought to define its own identity that was distinct from Shekau’s indiscriminate violence, al-Barnawi and Nur’s perceived weakness, and the untrustworthy Nigerian military.

  • In 2019, ISWAP seemed to take on more characteristics of an aspirant pseudo-state governed by IS ideals, rather than just an insurgency, by providing some services to communities and taxing in return. This included things like medical care, infrastructure projects, approved school curriculum, and economic development initiatives.

  • However, ISWAP also retained harsh punishments for disobedience like death for adultery and amputations for theft. Lifestyle infractions were also punished.

  • ISWAP demonstrated disciplining its own members to gain legitimacy, like executing a commander who killed a civilian.

  • While links existed with IS central in media cooperation, ISWAP’s trajectory seemed more self-directed than determined by IS central. Evidence of coordination or support between the groups was limited.

  • Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui, who later became the leader of ISGS (Islamic State in the Greater Sahara), was born in Western Sahara in 1973 under the name Lahbib.

  • He grew up in Laayoune, Western Sahara during a time when Morocco occupied and controlled the territory, imposing repression on indigenous Sahrawi people seeking independence.

  • This geopolitical context of Moroccan occupation and Sahrawi nationalism seeking liberation shaped Lahbib’s outlook from a young age.

  • By the early 1990s when Lahbib was coming of age, Morocco exerted control over most of Western Sahara, including major population centers like Laayoune where Lahbib lived.

  • During his youth, Lahbib was aware of and immersed in the politics of the Polisario Front, an armed Sahrawi nationalist group fighting for independence from Morocco.

  • The repression and marginalization imposed on Sahrawis by Moroccan authorities is said to have pushed many youths like Lahbib towards militancy in the future. This provides important context for Lahbib’s later radicalization.

  • Lahbib grew up in Western Sahara but fled to Algeria in his youth to join the Polisario Front, which was fighting for Western Saharan independence from Morocco.

  • In the early 2000s he became frustrated with the stalled peace process and declining conditions in the refugee camps. He left the Polisario Front and became involved in smuggling between Mali and Algeria.

  • Through this work he was exposed to AQIM’s ideology and officially joined their Katibat Tarik ibn Ziyad group in 2010, taking the name Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui.

  • In 2011 he helped kidnap an Italian woman in Algeria. He then helped found the AQIM offshoot group MUJAO, based in Mali and Algeria, which had a core leadership of Arabs from the Sahara and Sahel region.

  • The collapse of the Malian government in 2012 created an opportunity for AQIM and its offshoots like MUJAO to expand their control in northern Mali and the Sahara-Sahel region. Al-Sahraoui rose to be a spokesman and military commander for MUJAO.

  • In 2015, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi pledged allegiance to ISIS and renamed his group the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS). However, his co-founder Mokhtar Belmokhtar rejected the pledge and reaffirmed allegiance to Al-Qaeda. There were reportedly clashes between their factions.

  • ISIS did not officially accept ISGS’s pledge at first. They had little knowledge of ISGS’s capabilities and validity as an affiliate group. It was a new breakaway group composed of former members of other merger/splinter organizations.

  • Over the following year, ISGS worked to prove itself by carrying out attacks in Mali and Niger. However, communication seemed to break down between ISGS and ISIS central after the arrest of a key intermediary named Abu Malik Shaybah al-Hamad.

  • By late 2016, while ISGS was active on the ground in the region, it still had not received official recognition or provincial status from ISIS, reflecting the group’s initial skepticism of this upstart affiliate in an important but ambiguous context.

  • Abdul Wahid, a 28-year-old Nigerien soldier, was kidnapped by ISGS in November 2016 while stationed near the Niger-Mali border. He was the group’s only hostage to be released alive.

  • During his 3-month captivity, Wahid interacted with and learned about ISGS members. He estimated their numbers were around 600, though members claimed it was double that.

  • ISGS was led by Aboubacar (Petit) Chafori, a former MUJAO member. Other roles included a throat-slitter and someone in charge of child recruitment.

  • Members primarily spoke Fulfulde and sometimes Arabic. Reflecting ISGS’s ethnic composition, most were Malian, Nigerien, North African Arabs, and Fulani Africans.

  • ISGS capitalized on existing tensions between Fulani and Tuareg/Dawsahak communities over grazing lands. It recruited Fulani by stoking anti-Tuareg sentiment and promising protection, helping the group gain fighters and territory in the border region.

  • Wahid’s account provides rare first-hand insights into ISGS’s leadership, operations, language use, ethnic dimensions, and exploitation of local conflicts in its early founding period.

  • Al-Sahraoui, the leader of ISGS, integrated well with local Fulani communities in western Niger, central Mali, and northern Burkina Faso. He was seen as a “savior” by some locals and even took a Fulani wife.

  • As jihadi groups like Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) threatened local populations, Tuareg and Dawsahak communities formed their own self-defense militias like GATIA and MSA to protect themselves.

  • The leader of MSA agreed they formed to “preserve the interests and customs” of their community and protect them from ISGS, who had sent them threatening letters. MSA and GATIA helped French and Malian forces against jihadis in exchange for support.

  • From 2017, ISGS began targeting Nigerien and Malian security forces in an effort to carve out operational space. They launched several attacks killing scores of soldiers. ISGS also began publicizing some of its attacks through media outlets while continuing operations in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.

  • In October 2017, a joint US-Nigerien military convoy was sent on a mission to capture or kill a senior ISGS member named Doundoun Cheffou in western Niger near the border with Mali.

  • The convoy failed to find Cheffou at his suspected camp and began returning to their base in Ouallam. They stopped in the village of Tongo Tongo to get food and water.

  • While interacting with village elders, the convoy sensed they were being stalled. After leaving the village, they drove about 100 yards and came under heavy fire from an ISGS ambush, with militants flanking them on motorcycles and vehicles.

  • Three US Green Berets - Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sergeant Bryan Black, and Staff Sergeant Dustin Wright - exited their vehicles to engage the militants. As the fire intensified, the commander ordered the convoy to move south to escape.

  • SSG Wright re-entered one of the US vehicles as it began slowly driving forward. SSG Johnson and SSG Black walked alongside, continuing to return fire. This set the stage for the intense battle that followed between the convoy and ISGS attackers.

  • ISGS continued carrying out attacks against civilians and government forces in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso throughout 2018, cementing its presence in the region.

  • It maintained cooperative relations with al-Qaeda affiliated groups like JNIM, unlike IS affiliates in other regions which warred with al-Qaeda. Their cooperation focused on fighting common enemies like French and G5 Sahel forces.

  • In early 2018, an ISGS spokesman acknowledged they were “fighting together” and aiding each other against these forces, despite allegiance to different parent groups (ISIS vs al-Qaeda).

  • UN and French forces also assessed ISGS and JNIM formed opportunistic alliances, though planning and fusion remained separate. Competition also existed between the groups.

  • While ISGS’ connection to ISIS central remained unclear, it was growing in strength and violence, leading the US to designate it a terrorist group in May 2018. However, this cooperative relationship with al-Qaeda affiliates was unusual globally and came to be known as the “Sahelian exception.”

  • Al-Shabaab emerged in Somalia in 2006 to fill a power vacuum after the collapse of the Somali government in 1991 and onset of civil war.

  • The civil war devolved into clan conflicts with various warlords vying for control, including Mohammed Farah Aidid who controlled parts of the country in the early 1990s.

  • The US intervened under Clinton in 1993 to capture Aidid advisors but the operation went badly, resulting in 18 US soldiers killed in the “Black Hawk Down” incident.

  • This put Somalia on the map in the West and galvanized jihadis. Al-Shabaab publicly emerged claiming to establish order and enforce sharia law, gaining support from disillusioned clans and welcoming foreign fighters.

  • By 2009, al-Shabaab had largely taken over southern Somalia and vowed allegiance to al-Qaeda, becoming its East Africa affiliate. It established controlling governance in areas it held until being pushed back from 2011 on by African Union forces.

  • After the failed US intervention in Somalia in the 1990s, the country descended into anarchy and failed statehood for nearly a decade.

  • In the early 2000s, an Islamist group called the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) began gaining control and enforcing sharia law in southern Somalia. By 2006 it had established effective governance.

  • Ethiopia grew nervous of the ICU’s rise due to concerns over potential al-Qaeda links and Somali nationalism inspiring Ethiopian Muslims. In 2006, backed by the US, Ethiopia invaded Somalia and defeated the ICU.

  • Many ICU members formed the militant group al-Shabaab to continue fighting Ethiopia and the fledgling UN-backed Somali government. Al-Shabaab framed its violence as anti-imperialist jihad against these foreign forces.

  • Between 2006-2014, al-Shabaab emerged as one of East Africa’s main security threats, exerting territorial control through insurgency and attempts to govern via harsh sharia law. It had ties to al-Qaeda and served as its East African affiliate.

  • In 2015, the Islamic State began efforts to court al-Shabaab members and convince them to switch allegiance to ISIS, using propaganda appealing to adventure-seeking foreign fighters. However, al-Shabaab remained committed to al-Qaeda.

  • Abdulqadir Mumin, a Somali-British imam, pledged allegiance to ISIS in October 2015 and formed ISIS-Somalia. He had grown frustrated with his inability to rise higher within al-Shabaab in Puntland.

  • Only about 20 of the 300 fighters Mumin had been leading in al-Shabaab joined his new ISIS branch initially. Small clashes caused his group to flee the Golis mountains with around 18 men.

  • Mumin moved to Qandala, where his own clan was based, believing he could launch a more successful movement with ISIS support while maintaining some independence.

  • ISIS central did not immediately endorse Mumin’s group. It took three months before ISIS first referenced the Somali group, calling its soldiers “brothers.” Unlike other ISIS affiliates, there is no evidence Mumin closely pre-coordinated his pledge with ISIS central.

  • Mumin saw the ISIS brand and caliphate as opportunities to break away from al-Shabaab and benefit from ISIS’s media reach while still operating independently in Somalia to some degree.

  • In October 2016, around 60 militants from IS-Somalia seized control of the small coastal town of Qandala in northeast Somalia over the course of a night. They did so swiftly with weapons stolen from al-Shabaab.

  • The militants closed schools, banned traditional Somali cultural practices, introduced strict Sharia code including dress codes for women, and encouraged citizens to join IS.

  • IS leader Mumin gave sermons promising economic benefits like doubled wages for fishermen and security officials under IS rule.

  • Enforcement involved intimidation, jailing, and physical punishment rather than killings. Citizens who didn’t pray on time or fully cover could be arrested.

  • Over half of Qandala’s population fled due to the IS occupation, escaping on foot, by car, and boats. Some elders unsuccessfully told IS to leave.

  • Life under IS occupation involved bans on music, cinema, local TV and other modern/Western influences. Non-compliance brought punishment by the occupying IS forces.

  • A man was caught working in his shop during prayer time in the town of Qandala, which had been occupied by ISIS-Somalia. He was held for 24 hours, fined about $100, and humiliated. This was one of the incidents that caused him to decide to leave town with his family.

  • On one Friday, a man from a rural area who did not know where the mosques were arrived in town looking for food. He encountered an ISIS fighter who questioned why he was not at the mosque for prayers. A debate ensued and the rural man was arrested and jailed for about a day.

  • ISIS attempted to impose sharia law through intimidation and punishments. They also tried to institutionalize their rule by collecting taxes, fees at checkpoints, and stealing cattle to fund their activities. This caused fear and worry among locals.

  • While no deaths were directly attributed to ISIS, they changed the way of life and beliefs of locals, who mostly disliked their harsh interpretation of religion. international community response was initially slow.

  • Puntland forces eventually launched a counter-offensive in late November 2016 with international backing. After about a week of clashes, ISIS fled Qandala by December 7, 2016, retreating into mountainous areas, ending their occupation.

  • “Abdi” wanted to defect from al-Shabaab but couldn’t because al-Shabaab assassinates defectors. He tried going to different cities like Mogadishu and Galkayo but there were assassinations happening there too.

  • He couldn’t go to relatives near the Ethiopian border either because new people were being reported and interrogated. So he contacted Abdulqadir Mumin to join IS-Somalia in Puntland instead.

  • Many who joined IS-Somalia did so after defecting from al-Shabaab, as returning home remained dangerous. Over time, Mumin recruited more actively in Puntland to build up IS-Somalia’s ranks.

  • Life in IS-Somalia was difficult with no permanent shelters, scarce food and water, and infighting within the group. They emphasized propaganda videos to portray ties to IS central and tried to improve military capacity but remained disorganized with poor living conditions.

  • “Abdi” met the emaciated and unhealthy looking leader Mumin before an attack, showing the toll of the harsh environment on the group. Harsh conditions also made it difficult to attract and retain foreign fighters.

  • IS-Somalia funded itself through extortion and taxation of local businessmen, much like al-Shabaab. It imposed “IS taxes” in addition to al-Shabaab and government taxes. It also received some financing from Yemen and was likely involved in smuggling.

  • After capturing the town of Qandala briefly in 2015, IS-Somalia’s profile of violence progressed to targeting assassinations of Somali military, police and government officials, especially in Mogadishu, Bosaso and Afgooye. By early 2020, around 95% of its attacks targeted official representatives.

  • In 2017-2018, questions remained about IS-Somalia’s relationship to IS central leadership. While there was some communication and initial funding/orders, the connections appeared limited, mainly through media. IS central did not clearly designate IS-Somalia as a wilayah (province) until late 2017/mid-2018.

  • As tensions grew with al-Shabaab after 2017, IS-Somalia began moving operations southward into al-Shabaab’s historic areas to try to expand. By late 2017 it had a presence near Mogadishu and by 2018 it had established itself in other towns, seeking to challenge al-Shabaab’s dominance.

  • In January 2014, the DRC military launched Operation Sukola I against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia, capturing their headquarters called Madina. Over 200 soldiers were killed and 400 wounded in the operation.

  • ADF leader Jamil Mukulu fled the country. His deputy Musa Baluku took over leadership of the splintered ADF remnants, totaling around 1,200 people.

  • Pursued by the DRC military over the following months, most ADF personnel died from battlefield losses or starvation as the group split into smaller cells. By August 2014, Baluku led a core group of only around 200 people, less than half of whom were fighters.

  • The ADF originated in Uganda in the 1980s/90s from a dissident Salafist movement critical of Uganda’s state-sanctioned Muslim organization. Jamil Mukulu, who had studied in Saudi Arabia, became influential in this younger generation seeking control of the organization.

  • In the 1990s, Mukulu and other Ugandan dissidents formed the ADF, seeking to establish an Islamic state in Uganda. They were initially tolerated by neighboring regimes but launched attacks in DRC in the mid-1990s, eventually relocating their base there.

  • In the early 1990s, the Tabligh movement in Uganda opposed the established Muslim clergy organization (UMSC) and pushed for “purer” Islamic practices. Jamil Mukulu led protests that turned violent in 1991.

  • Mukulu formed the more radical Salafi Foundation after being imprisoned. They clashed with other Muslim groups and set up an armed wing called the Uganda Muslim Freedom Fighters in western Uganda in 1994.

  • The Ugandan military attacked in 1995, killing over 90 members. Mukulu and others fled to eastern Zaire (Congo), which had a power vacuum under Mobutu.

  • In eastern Congo, Mukulu merged his group with the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda to form the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) with support from Mobutu and Sudan.

  • The ADF launched attacks into Uganda from 1996-2000, killing over 1,000 civilians. Uganda launched operations against them but they retreated further into Congo as the country descended into war.

  • The ADF continued low-level violence for several years while trying to regroup in eastern Congo amid the power vacuum.

  • After withdrawing from eastern DRC in 2002, the ADF-NALU adapted by integrating into local communities and economies in areas like northern Beni territory. They formed alliances and provided protection to some communities.

  • From 2002-2014, as the group became more dependent on local dynamics, it shifted focus away from Uganda and toward survival in DRC. Leadership remained Ugandan but recruits became mostly Congolese.

  • Repeated military offensives weakened the group but it rebuilt over time. The 2007 amnesty separated NALU from ADF, making Jamil Mukulu sole leader. He internationalized recruitment and fundraising.

  • Increased attacks on civilians from 2012-2013 damaged relations with local communities. A major 2014 offensive fragmented the group but leadership, including new leader Musa Baluku, escaped intact.

  • From 2014-2018, the severely weakened Baluku-led ADF rebuilt by exploiting violence by other local militias against civilians. They lost founder Mukulu in 2015 but continued operating in eastern DRC.

  • In 2016-2017, under new leader Musa Baluku, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) began shifting towards alignment with the global salafi-jihadist movement rather than just pursuing local objectives in Uganda.

  • Baluku was influenced by newcomers like Meddie Nkalubo who introduced more Islamic State-style propaganda using social media. The ADF adopted names and symbols similar to other jihadist groups.

  • Videos in late 2016 and 2017 featured foreign ADF recruits calling for others to join the “jihad” in Congo, indicating growing transnational ties to ISIS.

  • The Islamic State took notice of the ADF and tried to cultivate a relationship. A Kenyan financier laundered $150,000 to ADF and other African ISIS affiliates from 2017-2018, with transfers to ADF growing to thousands per time.

  • This external financing was important for ADF’s rebuilding after military defeats as they lost local revenue sources and legitimacy under the previous leader’s arrest. The shift towards ISIS aligned the ADF with a larger movement and brought benefits in recruitment, propaganda, and financing.

  • In April 2019, the Islamic State (IS) began claiming attacks in eastern Congo carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). This was the first time IS media took responsibility for ADF operations.

  • In late April, IS leader al-Baghdadi appeared in a video highlighting IS’s “Central Africa Province,” recognizing the ADF’s affiliation publicly for the first time. However, a formal pledge of allegiance (bayah) by the ADF had still not occurred.

  • Over the following months, IS media routinely published photos and videos provided by the ADF, now known as IS’s Central Africa Province in DRC wing (ISCAP-DRC). This demonstrated communication between the groups and the ADF’s ability to quickly share media.

  • The IS’s recognition of the ADF came as its territorial control in Iraq and Syria was collapsing. Accepting new affiliates like the ADF allowed IS to claim global expansion and bolster its image as it transitioned from holding territory.

  • The ADF had cultivated ties to IS for years, and recognition increased its capabilities through funding and training. But the ADF only proved truly valuable to IS after it lost its core areas and needed to demonstrate viability through new branches.

  • In April-November 2019, ISCAP clashed with FARDC forces in the Beni territory of eastern DRC. Photos showed ISCAP fighters heavily armed with rifles, RPGs, and other weapons captured from FARDC.

  • In May 2019, ISCAP claimed responsibility for a 2018 attack, seeing an opportunity to magnify its threat to FARDC, MONUSCO, and other global actors like the UN.

  • June 2019 photos showed ISCAP fighters and families assembled for Eid prayers in crude jungle camps, demonstrating their ability to maintain religious practices despite hardship.

  • July 2019 video from IS media outlets showed over a dozen ISCAP fighters reaffirming their pledge of allegiance to al-Baghdadi, the first public confirmation of their relationship with ISIS.

  • DRC president Tshisekedi capitalized on this to lobby for international support against ISCAP. DRC joined the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in June 2019. However, the Coalition did not expand military efforts beyond Iraq and Syria.

  • In late October 2019, the FARDC launched a new operation against ISCAP amid escalating violence, though without hoped-for regional cooperation. ISCAP retaliated with attacks killing over 50 civilians.

An armed Salafist group called al-Shabaab launched attacks in the town of Mocímboa da Praia in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province in October 2017. This marked a shift from previous doctrinal disputes to more sustained violence. The group emerged from over a century of contested religious authority between Sufi and Salafist interpretations of Islam in northern Mozambique. After independence in 1975, the ruling FRELIMO party curtailed religious freedom and empowered foreign-educated southern Salafists, weakening the northern Sufi establishment. FRELIMO created the Islamic Council of Mozambique (CISLAMO) dominated by southern Salafists, angering the northern Salafists who felt marginalized. Growing frustration among northern Salafists educated abroad in Salafism led to the 1998 formation of the Ahl al-Sunnah movement, providing a foundation for the emergence of al-Shabaab and its militant activities.

  • Ahl al-Sunnah emerged as a grassroots Salafist movement in northern Mozambique, focusing on building mosques, madrasas, and community programs as an alternative to the state-backed CISLAMO organization.

  • Some more radical Salafist groups called al-Shabaab emerged calling for a complete rejection of the secular state. They were expelled from mainstream mosques for their extreme views.

  • Cabo Delgado province experienced ethnic, political, and economic tensions. The Muslim Mwani people felt marginalized compared to the Christian Makonde, who benefited from links to the ruling FRELIMO party.

  • Frustrations fueled support for the opposition RENAMO party among some groups. Electoral violence occurred along similar lines as the later insurgency.

  • Between 2015-2017, al-Shabaab clashed with authorities as police cracked down on their activities. Their attacks escalated, culminating in the October 2017 violence in Mocímboa da Praia and the start of the insurgency.

  • From October 2017 to May 2018, al-Shabaab expanded their attacks, killing civilians and security forces across northern Cabo Delgado. Their leadership remained shadowy but they employed tactics of raids, killings, and burning villages to spread terror.

  • The early leaders of the Mozambique insurgent movement in 2017 were Jafar Alawi and Nuro Adremane, Mozambican businessmen from Mocímboa da Praia involved in radical Islam for years after studying abroad.

  • In 2018, 10 individuals were named as key figures, including some who later became more prominent.

  • The group’s leadership structure included a “Supreme Council” of prominent clerics and financiers from Mocímboa da Praia cells.

  • Bonomade Machude Omar, known as Ibn Omar, was a prominent early field commander from Mocímboa da Praia educated abroad before returning.

  • Abdala Likongo hosted early sect meetings and was involved in the 2017 attack; he had commercial ties and may have received military training abroad.

  • Many leaders were involved in regional cross-border trade between northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania, reflecting the regional composition of the group’s membership over time. Tanzanians and Ugandans would later join as well.

  • Jamil Mukulu was the head of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan rebel group. According to congregants arrested in Uganda, their “ultimate place to be was the ‘Dawla Islamiya’ [Islamic State]” which Mukulu had created for them in the DRC.

  • Abdul Faisal, a Ugandan arrested in Mozambique, likely had little involvement in Mozambique’s insurgency given the short time between leaving Uganda and his arrest. He claimed to just be searching for a former comrade last seen in the DRC.

  • Faisal’s arrest probably spurred increased regional counterterrorism cooperation, as Mozambique subsequently signed agreements with Tanzania and Uganda.

  • Rumors began circulating in 2018 that Mozambique’s al-Shabaab group intended to pledge allegiance to ISIS. A picture from May 2018 showed militants in Mozambique holding an ISIS flag. Some were identified as South Africans who had previously tried to join ISIS in Syria.

  • South Africa seems to have become a destination for would-be jihadists unable to reach Syria, as Mozambique’s insurgency was seen as an alternative to join the global jihadist movement.

  • A massive $20 billion natural gas project led by Anadarko Petroleum began construction in Mozambique in 2018, displacing over 7,000 local residents from their land and fishing grounds. Locals were skeptical they would benefit from the wealth and saw little improvement to their lives.

  • Construction progressed despite rising violence by an insurgent group called al-Shabaab operating near the project site. In February 2019, al-Shabaab ambushed an Anadarko construction convoy, killing a contractor - the first direct attack on gas project personnel. This raised concerns the insurgency could directly target the critical project.

  • In June 2019, surprisingly, the Islamic State claimed an al-Shabaab attack for the first time via its media channels. Little was known about ties between the two groups. The Islamic State may have wanted to portray its global reach after recent losses. However, al-Shabaab had not publicly pledged allegiance, so the nature of the relationship was unclear.

  • Over the summer, the Islamic State made more claims of al-Shabaab attacks in Mozambique without a clear public bayah. The level of coordination and control between al-Shabaab and the Central Africa Province wing of IS was difficult to determine.

  • In July 2019, an IS media release showed footage of fighters in eastern Congo and Mozambique renewing pledges of allegiance, indicating al-Shabaab in Mozambique had pledged allegiance to IS prior to first attack claim in June 2019. However, details of the pledge were unclear.

  • IS continued claiming al-Shabaab attacks in Mozambique through media releases in July-August 2019. Local reporting found the targets - collaborators, Christians, military - were consistent with IS’ targeting elsewhere.

  • Unlike Congo’s government requesting international help against the IS-affiliated ADF group, Mozambique downplayed al-Shabaab’s IS ties due to concerns it could harm investment in the gas project. The government described the insurgents as bandits, though its security forces were ineffective and committed abuses against civilians.

  • Mozambique invited foreign forces for help, including Wagner mercenaries from Russia in August 2019 amid recently signed gas deals. However, al-Shabaab proved capable against Wagner, killing some of its forces, and Wagner ultimately withdrew from Mozambique.

  • SCAP-Mozambique had grown into a capable insurgent group operating over thousands of square kilometers by late 2019, around two years after emerging as a small radical movement. However, it did not appear to receive significant financial or logistical support from ISIS central after pledging allegiance.

  • The group sustained itself through its own capabilities and resources, not through assistance from ISIS. Its fortunes seemed guided by internal factors rather than being meaningfully helped or hurt by being part of the global jihadist movement.

  • SCAP-Mozambique took an unusual path in pledging allegiance while ISIS central was in decline. The specifics of its pledge are unclear. Operationally, it maintained sovereignty despite nominal subordination to ISIS.

  • Nonetheless, after the death of Baghdadi, SCAP-Mozambique pledged allegiance to the new ISIS leader along with most other affiliates, showing willingness to reaffirm subordination despite functional independence from ISIS central. In summary, the group rose based on its own efforts rather than support from ISIS, though still maintained symbolic ties.

Here are the key points:

  • The Islamic State’s rise allowed for more non-state insurgent groups in Africa to access power and global branding by pledging allegiance, rather than being constrained within al-Qaeda’s network. This was more about gaining strategic advantages than ideological differences.

  • Future IS groups are likely to emerge where al-Qaeda already has a presence. The strongest IS provinces formed from groups that had considered al-Qaeda ties but were never official affiliates.

  • Relations between new IS groups and existing al-Qaeda affiliates varied - from conflict to occasional collaboration.

  • IS demonstrated jihadist competition is not constrained, showing al-Qaeda’s weaknesses were partly self-imposed. This could lead to further “democratization” if new groups fill voids left by IS decline.

  • Local groups pledging to IS went through a “utility validation” process, where they had to prove their usefulness. What was considered useful evolved over time. The validation process and waiting times varied greatly between groups based on capabilities and IS’s changing priorities.

So in summary, the key lessons are around how the IS brand opened up access to power and competition in ways that challenged al-Qaeda’s monopoly on jihadist networks and demonstrated the strategic nature of such alignments.

  • The process of accepting pledges of allegiance (known as “bayah”) from African militant groups to ISIL varied significantly depending on factors like the group’s size, capabilities, and level of coordination with ISIL central leadership.

  • Early on in 2014-2015, ISIL seemed to readily accept pledges from groups in Libya, Algeria, Egypt, and Nigeria with little consideration of their actual capacities. But over time, standards became more stringent as some affiliates lost territory or failed to govern effectively.

  • Groups like those in Tunisia, Somalia, and the future ISWAP-Greater Sahara had to wait months or years to be officially recognized, despite being capable insurgent forces, as ISIL became more discerning.

  • By late 2018-2019, as ISIL lost its core territory in Iraq and Syria, it lowered standards again and sought to expand its global presence through new provinces like the two wings of the Central Africa Province.

  • Pledges came from both existing insurgent groups wholely switching allegiance as well as splinter factions breaking off from al-Qaeda affiliates. Motivations varied from a group’s ideology to pragmatic calculations about which network to join.

The passage discusses factors that motivated various militant groups in Africa to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State. For some leaders like Gouri and al-Asimi in Algeria, pledging offered personal advancement after hitting ceilings within their existing groups. Pressure from members of Boko Haram eager to leverage ISIS’s global brand influenced Abubakar Shekau’s decision. Weakness from leadership losses and counterterrorism campaigns prompted pledges from groups like Ansar Beit al-Maqdis and ADF.

The passage also notes some groups like al-Shabaab in Mozambique pledged for less clear reasons. Pledges were often contentious internally, with not all members agreeing. Once recognized by ISIS, both the core and affiliates were in a situation of “branding entrapment” where it was difficult to disassociate. However, affiliates often benefited more from the brand than they contributed to ISIS. ISIS had limited ability to oversee or punish affiliates. The passage discusses some lessons ISIS seemed to learn from al-Qaeda’s franchising model, but also areas like managing difficult affiliates where challenges remained.

  • The Islamic State’s affiliates in Africa operated with significant autonomy and sovereignty, rather than direct control, from IS central leadership. They are described as “sovereign subordinates.”

  • While affiliates gained legitimacy from affiliation with IS, they were not uniformly controlled by IS central. Relationships varied in closeness between affiliates and IS central.

  • The Libyan affiliates received the most support initially from IS central, but were then left to decline on their own. Algerian and Tunisian affiliates had little to no connection.

  • Sinai, West Africa, and Somalia received some intermittent support like funding or training, but ultimately operated independently based on local dynamics. Mozambique and Congo affiliates remain the most sovereign.

  • While sovereign, IS central did intervene at times in affiliates’ internal politics, like replacing Shekau in Nigeria. But affiliates were driven more by local factors than global direction from IS central.

  • Understanding affiliates requires recognizing the hybrid of local and global influences, rather than viewing them exclusively through either local or global lenses. Their experience was one of sovereign subordination to IS central.

  • IS Central (the core leadership in Iraq/Syria) attempted to court and bring local militant groups in Africa under its allegiance, most notably in Libya, Nigeria, and Somalia. It had some success in Libya and Nigeria.

  • Over time, IS Central’s control over its African affiliates seemed to wane. It still provided some support like approving leader changes, offering theological guidance, and coordinating messaging.

  • The affiliates informally mimicked IS Central’s behavior, like attempting to seize and control territory, even when not militarily ready. This shows the influence of adopting the IS brand.

  • Experiences varied widely among affiliates in terms of size, targets, holding territory, and relations with al-Qaeda groups. Some played a larger role than others.

  • Despite fears, affiliation did not overwhelm local agendas. Affiliates enjoyed autonomy while benefitting from the IS identity.

  • Local circumstances, more than IS affiliation itself, primarily determined affiliates’ capacities for violence. Understanding local context is key, not just the IS connection.

  • While shaped by IS ideology, the groups remain fundamentally local insurgencies, so their affiliation does not change that local roots are most important to understand them.

  • Whether a group is formally considered a province of IS depends on if it has been officially declared as such by IS central leadership. However, this designation does not necessarily mean direct command and control by IS central.

  • Recognition by IS central indicates the group satisfies criteria like ideology, and IS central will promote the group’s activities.

  • Most importantly, the local affiliate groups see value in being designated a province, as it gives them legitimacy and some support from IS central.

  • Being branded as an IS province influences the groups’ recruitment, fundraising, tactics, and governance attempts, as well as regional relations and counterterrorism pressures.

  • While material ties between affiliates and IS central may be hollow, denying provincial status misunderstands what it means to them.

  • Factors that led to IS’s rise like state weakness, non-representative governance, and unrest will allow IS affiliates to endure if they persist. Leadership, rival groups, and potential IS central support also impact affiliates’ futures.

  • IS central is unlikely to relocate its core to Africa, but will draw strength from successes there as affiliates remain important battlefronts. Current affiliates will likely endure and expand.

  • Experiences will vary as some seize territory and others remain clandestine. New individuals and possibly small cells may undertake violence in IS’s name in various African countries.

  • Entirely new provinces are unlikely to emerge without defections from existing affiliates or rapid growth of isolated IS sympathizers into cohesive groups satisfying IS central’s standards.

  • When local jihadist groups pledge allegiance to the Islamic State, they are typically rebranded as new wilayats (provinces) rather than wholly new affiliates.

  • Approaches to countering IS in Africa should not overemphasize the importance of these groups’ connections to IS Central. They are primarily local jihadist groups that have adopted the IS brand.

  • The threat they pose should be evaluated independently, not primarily as IS groups. Their defeat or decline does not necessarily weaken local affiliates, as IS Central’s struggles in 2019 did little to dampen African provinces’ enthusiasm for the brand.

  • Kinetic counterterrorism is not sufficient on its own; the conditions that enable the rise of IS must be addressed through rule of law, human rights, community engagement, counter-messaging, and addressing local grievances.

  • Each affiliate is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Efforts should consider the local context rather than viewing groups only through the lens of their IS affiliation.

  • The goal should be making the IS brand “irrelevant” rather than “defeating” it, as the ideology will persist beyond any group. Addressing local conditions is key to achieving this.

Here is a summary of the key points from the sources:

  • ISIL/ISIS expanded into sub-Saharan Africa in 2015, setting up affiliates in West Africa (Nigeria-based Boko Haram pledged allegiance) and North Africa (wilayats in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria).

  • The three main ISIS affiliates in sub-Saharan Africa are Boko Haram (Nigeria/West Africa), Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (Mali/Niger/Burkina Faso), and Allied Democratic Forces (Uganda/DRC). They have thousands of fighters collectively.

  • ISIS’s expansion into Africa was opportunistic, tapping into existing jihadist groups and violence. However, the affiliates have local agendas and may not always follow ISIS directives.

  • In North Africa, ISIS rose in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria but has since suffered losses. It could potentially reemerge in unstable areas like Libya.

  • ISIS networks in Africahave become more decentralized butthe threat persists.Affiliates continue to pledge allegiance to ISIS leadership and conduct attacks.

  • Data on attacks claimed by ISIS affiliates in Africa showthe strategic trajectory has shifted from consolidation to destabilization across the continent.

  • In summary, while ISIS’s physical caliphate was defeated, its ideology drives affiliated groups across Africa who continue violent insurgencies, threats terrorism. The threat persists despite setbacks to centralized leadership.

Here is a summary of the key points from the provided texts:

  • In June 2014, ISIS declared the establishment of a caliphate and named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its caliph. This marked a shift from being a terrorist group to claiming statehood.

  • ISIS developed governance structures and provided some basic services to residents in captured territories, aiming to portray itself as a legitimate state. However, it also used severe violence against opponents.

  • The group attracted thousands of foreign fighters from around the world. It generated revenue through oil sales, taxation, antiquities trafficking, and other means to fund its operations.

  • By 2015-2016, ISIS controlled large parts of Syria and Iraq but was gradually pushed back by military operations. Its leadership and territorial control were decimated, though the ideology persisted through clandestine affiliated groups.

  • Al-Qaeda played a role in influencing and advising other jihadist groups internationally. It had partnerships of varying degrees with groups in places like Somalia, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Iraq over the decades.

  • Factors like ideology, resources, operational needs, and opportunities determine how relationships form between international terrorist organizations. Both cooperation and competition exist between such groups pursuing similar goals through violent means.

The passage discusses AQ Central’s announcement that it had created branches with members of Gama’a Islamiyya in Egypt and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. However, these branches did not come to meaningful fruition according to the source cited. The passage then moves on to discuss the Islamic State’s franchising strategy and compares it to al-Qaeda’s, noting some key differences in their approaches.

  • The 2011 Arab Spring uprisings toppled dictatorships in Tunisia and Libya. In Libya, a civil war broke out between Gaddafi loyalists and opposition forces. NATO intervened with airstrikes to support the opposition.

  • Gaddafi was captured and killed by opposition forces in October 2011, leaving a power vacuum in Libya. Numerous militia groups vied for control in the absence of a strong central authority.

  • Meanwhile, protests in Syria against the Assad regime turned violent as the government cracked down. The uprising morphed into a complex civil war with numerous factions.

  • Some Libyan fighters who opposed Gaddafi traveled to Syria to fight against Assad. Others joined jihadi groups in Libya like Ansar al-Sharia. This contributed to the spread of extremism.

  • In the chaotic security environment of post-Gaddafi Libya, with weapons and experienced fighters abundant, the conditions were ripe for terrorist organizations like ISIS to later gain a foothold. Jund al-Khalifa was an Al Qaeda-aligned group also active in Algeria.

  • Terrorist groups are joined not just for ideological reasons, but also for more pragmatic motives like adventure, boredom, social connections, and desire for wealth.

  • After Qaddafi’s overthrow in Libya, the interim Libyan government was the sole UN-recognized authority and it recognized the anti-Assad Syrian National Council as the legitimate government in Syria.

  • Many foreign fighters from Libya joined insurgent groups in Syria, like Liwa al-Ummah which was more nationalist and mainstream Islamist than jihadi. Over time some Libyan groups aligned with more extremist organizations like ISIS.

  • Ansar al-Sharia was an Islamist group in Libya with branches in Benghazi and Derna. It emerged after the 2011 revolution but had varying goals ranging from nationalist to more locally-focused. It was linked to attacks like the 2012 Benghazi attack but denied involvement in other incidents. Over time some members shifted towards more extremist ideals.

Here is a summary of the key points from the article:

  • ISIS established a presence in Libya in 2014, first emerging in the city of Derna. They faced competition from other militant groups for control of territory.

  • ISIS’s Libyan affiliate, originally called Islamic State in Libya (ISL), was led initially by external figures sent from Iraq/Syria like al-Qahtani.

  • ISIS gained control of parts of Derna and Sirte in 2014-2015, declaring Sirte the capital of their Libyan province. They engaged in public executions and imposing sharia law.

  • The group drew fighters from other Libyan militant factions as well as foreign fighters from neighboring countries. ISIS faced resistance from Libyan forces and faced setbacks after the loss of its territories.

  • While significantly degraded, ISIS maintained sleeper cells and the ability to conduct insurgent and terrorist attacks. The analysis discusses the ongoing threat posed by ISIS in Libya and the region, as well as dynamics like local resistance and the departure of foreign leaders that have hampered the group.

Here is a summary of the key points from PolicyWatch 3222, December 6, 2019:

  • ISIS gained its strongest foothold in Libya in the coastal city of Sirte in 2015. It captured the city with little resistance taking advantage of security vacuums.

  • At its peak, ISIS governed Sirte according to its harsh interpretation of Sharia law, establishing departments to oversee services, taxation, religious policing and courts. It recruited Libyans and foreigners.

  • ISIS faced pushback from Libyan forces and was driven out of Sirte by late 2016 after months of fighting and airstrikes. However, some militants remained active in desert areas outside Sirte.

  • Since losing Sirte, ISIS in Libya has failed to recover structurally or territorially. Its resources and maneuvering have been limited by counterterrorism operations and infighting with other militant groups.

  • While ISIS still poses a threat through small-scale attacks, it no longer controls Libyan territory or populations and its prospects for reconstituting are difficult given losses of men and materiel as well as pushback from rival factions. Local resistance has played a major role in setting back ISIS ambitions in Libya.

Here is a summary of paragraphs 1-2 of “We Are Cursed”:

  • The passage introduces Tayler’s time embedded with ISIS in Sirte, Libya in 2016. ISIS had taken control of Sirte in early 2015 and largely defeated rival militias by the time Tayler arrived.

  • Life in Sirte under ISIS rule was difficult. The city lacked basic services and many residents felt oppressed by ISIS’s strict interpretation of Sharia law. However, some residents accepted ISIS’s rule as preferable to the chaos of Libya’s civil war. The passage sets the scene for Tayler’s observations of life under the Islamic State inside Sirte.

Here are summaries of the key events mentioned in July 2019 and December 2019:

July 2019:

  • ISIS in Libya released a video where they emphasized that Muslims worldwide are still “one in the covenant” of allegiance to ISIS, despite recent territorial losses. This suggests ISIS still considers itself the legitimate caliphate and leader of global jihad.

December 2019:

  • No specific updates were provided for events in December 2019. The referenced source appears to be discussing ISIS’s presence in Libya over time, with July 2019 used as a recent data point. December 2019 is not mentioned in the given context.

Here is a summary of the key points from the sources:

  • In September 2014, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Algeria, known as AQIM, reported that some of its members had defected to join the Islamic State (IS) group. This showed IS’ growing influence even in North Africa.

  • In September 2014, a Frenchman named Herve Gourdel was kidnapped in Algeria. He was a mountain guide visiting for hiking. A little over a week later, on September 24, IS released a video showing his beheading.

  • Gourdel’s kidnapping and killing caused outrage in France. The French military conducted its first airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq in response.

  • Gourdel’s murder demonstrated that IS’ brutality had spread to affiliates beyond Syria and Iraq. Beheadings had become a signature tactic used by IScore and its associated groups around the world.

  • In Algeria, a splinter group from AQIM called Jund al-Khilafah pledged allegiance to IS after Gourdel’s killing. This showed IS’ expanding influence among jihadists in Algeria despite the country’s security crackdown. However, the Algerian army was generally successful in targeting IS-affiliated leaders and fighters over subsequent years.

Here is a summary of the key points from the article:

  • Militants launched a major assault in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, targeting multiple military and police posts. It was one of the largest attacks in years in the restive Sinai region.

  • Officials said 20 militants and at least 17 security forces members were killed in clashes that spanned several cities and villages in northern Sinai.

  • Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a Sinai-based militant group affiliated with ISIS, claimed responsibility for the attacks via social media. It said the attacks were in response to Israeli aggression at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

  • The attacks came as Egypt faces an Islamist insurgency, especially in the Sinai, that intensified after the military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis pledged allegiance to ISIS the following year.

  • Security forces have struggled to combat the militants amid rugged terrain and the large presence of heavy weapons smuggled from Libya. The Sinai militants have killed hundreds of security forces members and civilians over the past several years.

Here is a summary of the key points from the TIMEP report on Egypt’s 5-year war on terror:

  • Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014 and became known as Wilayat Sinai. They emerged as the dominant jihadist group in the Sinai insurgent campaign.

  • Wilayat Sinai began attempting to govern territories and provide basic services to residents in North Sinai, showing ambition beyond just violence.

  • A major turning point came in July 2015 when Wilayat Sinai launched its largest attack yet against Egyptian forces in Sheikh Zuweid. Dozens of soldiers were killed in coordinated attacks.

  • This assault marked a shift toward more conventional military-style operations for Wilayat Sinai. It boosted their standing against other jihadist groups.

  • ISIS in Sinai was later implicated in Downing a Russian passenger jet in 2015 that killed 224. While never proven, it boosted their profile if true.

  • Egypt’s counterterrorism campaign in Sinai intensified after these attacks, utilizing new tactics and technology. But the insurgency has continued with attacks on civilians and military targets.

So in summary, the report analyzes the rise of ISIS’ Sinai Province group and their increasingly capable insurgency against Egyptian security forces, as well as some major attacks that received international attention.

Here is a summary of key points about the Metrojet crash from the passage:

  • In October 2015, Metrojet Flight 9268, a Russian passenger jet, crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula shortly after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh airport, killing all 224 people on board.

  • The Islamic State affiliate in Sinai, Wilayat Sinai (also known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis), claimed responsibility for downing the plane with an onboard explosive device. This would have been the militant group’s first successful bombing of a civilian airliner.

  • An Egyptian investigation determined that a terrorist bomb was the most likely cause of the crash. AMM, the Russian airline operating Metrojet, also acknowledged the plane was likely brought down by an explosive device.

  • The bombing demonstrated Wilayat Sinai’s ability to target civil aviation and marked an escalation in its operations against both Egyptian military and civilian targets. It had a major economic impact by damaging Egypt’s tourism industry.

  • Questions remained about security procedures at Sharm el-Sheikh airport and the possibility of an “insider” helping to smuggle explosives onboard the plane. An Egyptian mechanic was later suspected by Reuters of involvement in the attack.

That covers the key details about the downing of Metrojet Flight 9268 and its significance as claimed by Wilayat Sinai in North Sinai, Egypt.

  • For decades, Tunisians fought as foreign fighters in various conflicts in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bosnia, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Mali, and Syria. This indicates a long history of Tunisians joining jihadi battles abroad.

  • In the 1980s and 1990s, Tunisia experienced violence from an emerging Islamist movement. One group, Jihad Islamique, claimed responsibility for attacks in 1987 that killed tourists. This showed the presence of extremism in Tunisia.

  • Ennahda originated as an underground Islamist movement in the 1970s but was repressed by the authoritarian leader Ben Ali from the 1980s-2010s. It positioned itself as a moderate political Islamist party after the 2011 revolution.

  • Ansar al-Sharia Tunisia (AST) emerged after the revolution as a radical Salafi jihadi group that competed with Ennahda for influence. It aimed to establish an Islamic state, though initially claimed to pursue non-violence.

  • The anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims in 2012 sparked protests in Tunisia and abroad. AST was implicated in attacks on US embassies in Tunisia and Libya in response. This marked its shift toward militant jihadism.

  • Tunisia experienced a large flow of foreign fighters who traveled to join militant groups in Syria, Libya and other battlefields during the Arab Spring period. This pointed to the ongoing radicalization of some Tunisians.

Here is a summary of the relevant information in point 50:

  • There was an attempted insurgency launched by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Tunisia in 2006-2007 under the name Jund Asad bin al-Furat, also known as the Soliman events.

  • Aaron Zelin described this as AQIM’s “test run” in Tunisia, which ultimately failed and was short-lived.

Here is a summary of the key points from the story:

  • Boko Haram began in the early 2000s in Maiduguri, Nigeria as a nonviolent Islamic reform movement led by Mohammed Yusuf. It opposed Western education and sought to establish sharia law.

  • Clashes intensified between Boko Haram and the government in 2009 over Yusuf’s calls to ban Western education. Yusuf was arrested and then died in police custody, radicalizing many members.

  • Boko Haram launched attacks across northern Nigeria after Yusuf’s death in 2009, targeting police and politicians. Its leadership passed to Abubakar Shekau, who led the group on a violent path.

  • In 2012, Boko Haram bombed a UN building in Abuja, showing its ability to strike beyond northern Nigeria. Shekau also pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda that year.

  • In 2014, the group gained international attention for kidnapping over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok. Its insurgency had spread across multiple northeastern states in Nigeria by that point.

  • Boko Haram declared allegiance to ISIS in 2015 and was accepted as the Islamic State’s West Africa Province. This increased its capabilities but also internal divisions emerged over loyalty to Shekau or ISIS.

  • The group continued terrorizing northern Nigeria and neighboring countries with bombings, killings and abductions under Shekau’s brutal leadership as the ISWAP. Counterinsurgency efforts made some progress but Boko Haram remains a serious security threat.

Here is a summary of the key points from the sources regarding the evolution and activity of Boko Haram:

  • Boko Haram began militant activities in the early 2000s, starting with small attacks on police stations and churches. Their attacks escalated over time to include bombings of the UN building and large-scale massacres of civilians.

  • The group came to global attention in 2014 with the mass kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, sparking the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

  • Boko Haram went through factional splits, with some members advocating alliance with al-Qaeda and adopting international terrorist tactics, while leader Abubakar Shekau opposed this.

  • By the late 2010s, a faction led by Abu Musab al-Barnawi had pledged allegiance to ISIS and been recognized as the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), while Shekau’s faction remained independent.

  • The various Boko Haram factions engaged in increasingly deadly attacks on civilian and military targets across northeastern Nigeria and neighboring countries over the past decade, aimed at establishing an Islamic caliphate.

Here is a summary of the key points from the source:

  • Shekau, the Boko Haram leader, closely followed media coverage of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping in 2014 and was fascinated by the international attention it received. This boosted his reputation within global jihadi circles.

  • Boko Haram seized more territory in northern Nigeria in 2014, taking control of towns like Gwoza and declaring an Islamic caliphate, mirroring actions by ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

  • Internal videos in late 2014 showed Boko Haram commanders pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Baghdadi, indicating a formal affiliation between the groups. However, some argue this was mainly for propaganda purposes rather than a true merger.

  • ISIS began providing media support and advice to help professionalize Boko Haram’s communications. But ideological differences remained between the Nigeria-based faction loyal to Shekau and those calling for a stronger ISIS alliance.

  • At its peak around 2015, Boko Haram was considered the deadliest terrorist group globally with thousands of fighters, though estimates of its strength varied widely. The Nigerian military claimed successes in pushing it back after 2015.

  • The affiliation with ISIS brought some resources but also internal divisions as some factions challenging Shekau’s leadership pushed for a complete ISIS takeover of Boko Haram. These dynamics weakened both groups over time.

Here is a summary of the key points about the split within Boko Haram and the formation of ISWAP:

  • In 2016, Abubakar Shekau’s leadership of Boko Haram was challenged by a faction that pledged allegiance to ISIS. This faction was led initially by Mamman Nur and later by Abu Musab al-Barnawi.

  • The split occurred due to disagreements over tactics, with al-Barnawi’s faction arguing Shekau’s excessive violence was counterproductive. Shekau’s faction became known as JAS while al-Barnawi’s pledged to ISIS as ISWAP.

  • ISWAP tried to portray itself as more capable of governance, but in reality provided few public services and its control over territory was tenuous. Coordination between ISWAP fighters was poor.

  • Clashes occurred between the factions as Shekau accused ISWAP of treason. ISWAP argued Shekau was corrupt and overly harsh in using takfir.

  • Though initially weakened, Shekau has managed to retain control over hardline JAS elements. Both factions continue terrorist attacks in Nigeria, with ISWAP showing greater military capabilities but still facing challenges in holding territory.

  • Evidence of some continued cooperation between the factions exists, but they remain largely split due to ideological and strategic differences over tactics and leadership of the Boko Haram movement.

Here is a summary of paragraph 56:

Abdullah Lahbib, the childhood friend and later Islamic State commander Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, grew up in a wealthy tribal family in Western Sahara. His family belonged to the influential Reguibat tribe. His father Abdi was a trader from the Lebouihat faction of the tribe and came from the prominent Joumani family. Lahbib’s grandfather was the notable Sahrawi tribal chief Khatri Ould Joumani, who pledged allegiance to the King of Morocco in 1975. Lahbib’s mother Malouma came from the Ouled Moussa faction of the Reguibat tribe. Her brother Hassana was the qadi, or Islamic judge, of the tribe. The qadi also served extrajudicial functions like mediation and overseeing orphanages.

Here is a summary of the key points about Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui and the Mali conflict:

  • Al-Sahraoui was a founding member and leader of MUJAO, an al-Qaeda affiliated Islamist insurgent group that emerged in northern Mali in 2011.

  • MUJAO split off from AQIM due to tensions between Arabs and Algerians within AQIM’s leadership. Al-Sahraoui helped lead MUJAO’s early kidnapping operations in Algeria and Mali.

  • In 2012, Islamist groups including AQIM and MUJAO took control of northern Mali and imposed strict Sharia law, destroying shrines and banning music.

  • Al-Sahraoui played a key role in MUJAO’s occupation of the city of Gao until French military intervention pushed the Islamists from power in 2013.

  • He remained active with al-Qaeda affiliated groups in the Sahel region and was blamed for numerous attacks on civilian and military targets in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso that killed hundreds.

So in summary, al-Sahraoui was a prominent jihadist leader who helped establish and lead MUJAO during its involvement in the 2012 insurgency and occupation of northern Mali by al-Qaeda linked Islamic extremist groups.

In the town of Gao in Mali, the militant group MUJAO garnered support from the majority Songhai ethnic group, as well as Arab communities in the Gao region. These Arab communities saw their business interests as threatened by the Tuareg ethnic group. MUJAO exploited ethnic tensions in the region to boost its ranks and influence. More broadly, jihadist groups in the Sahel have capitalized on cross-border ethnic ties and smuggling networks to expand their reach across the porous borders of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. The emergence of Islamic State-affiliated groups like ISGS has further exacerbated conflicts among militant factions in the tri-border region of Liptako-Gourma.

Here is a summary of the key points from G00266-daech-cherche-a-s-etendre-en-afrique.php:

  • The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), led by Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, has been seeking to expand its influence and operations in West and Central Africa. It has carried out attacks in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.

  • ISGS may have ties to local militant leaders like Higo al-Maghribi, who is reported to have married a Fulani woman in the region.

  • Moussa Ag Acharatoumane leads the MSA (Mouvement pour le salut de l’Azawad), a local self-defense militia that cooperates with French forces against jihadists like ISGS. However, MSA denies receiving direct funding or weapons from France.

  • ISGS suffered setbacks in 2018 due to counterterrorism operations but still carries out attacks including kidnappings for ransom in the border region.

  • Local militant dynamics are complex with reports of some fighters switching between ISGS and al-Qaeda affiliated groups like JNIM depending on circumstances. However, a formal pledge of allegiance between Ansaroul Islam in Burkina Faso and ISGS has not been confirmed.

  • The growth of ISGS has contributed to the expansion of the U.S. military footprint in Niger, including plans for a new drone base.

Here is a summary of the article:

  • The article discusses delays to the completion of a new US drone base in Agadez, Niger. The base is intended to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations across West Africa and the Sahel region.

  • Construction of the base began in 2018 but has faced several setbacks. Its scheduled completion date was pushed back from December 2018 to May 2019 and then to August 2019.

  • The delays are due to construction and contracting issues related to the remote location in the Sahara desert. Challenges include transporting materials and establishing reliable utilities like water and power lines. Environmental regulations have also slowed progress.

  • When completed, the base will provide a more permanent home for MQ-9 Reaper drones that currently operate from Niger’s capital Niamey. This will allow for longer mission durations and greater time over target regions.

  • The base is part of expanding US counterterrorism efforts in Niger and neighboring countries affected by jihadist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. However, the delays have meant less drone surveillance availability during this critical period.

In summary, the article discusses construction delays to a new US MQ-9 drone base in Agadez, Niger that is intended to support counterterrorism operations in West Africa’s Sahel region but has faced logistical and regulatory challenges.

Here are summaries of the attacks described in the article:

  • Tongo: Referenced the deadly ambush by ISGS fighters that killed 4 U.S. Special Forces soldiers in Tongo Tongo, Niger in October 2017.

  • Ghazwa Ayorou: Likely referred to an ISGS attack in Mali near the border with Burkina Faso in June 2018 that killed a Malian soldier.

  • Punishments of Traitors: No context provided about this attack.

  • Ambush by Soldiers of the Caliphate against Soldiers from the ‘Apostate’ Movement for the Salvation of Azawad: Referred to an ISGS attack on the pro-Tuareg GATIA militia in Mali in June 2018.

  • The Battle of Taranguit: Referred to clashes between ISGS and the MSA rebel group in northern Mali in June 2018 in which ISGS reportedly captured weapons and vehicles.

  • In late 2015, Al-Shabaab began arresting members in southern Somalia who expressed sympathy for ISIS, including foreign fighters from Egypt and Morocco.

  • In early 2017, Al-Shabaab executed at least five Kenyan members for pledging allegiance to ISIS in Somalia’s Hiraan region.

  • That same year, two Al-Shabaab commanders were also executed for switching their allegiance to ISIS.

  • Mumin Abdi, an Al-Shabaab commander, defected to ISIS in late 2015 with a small group based in Puntland’s Golis mountains. Later, ISIS established two branches in southern and northern Somalia.

  • Clashes eventually erupted between Al-Shabaab and the ISIS factions, with Al-Shabaab seeking to eliminate the ISIS threat in Somalia. By late 2016, ISIS’s northern branch had been expelled from its stronghold in Qandala by Al-Shabaab.

  • While small, the emergence of ISIS posed a territorial challenge to Al-Shabaab’s control over parts of Somalia and its position as the dominant jihadist group.

Here is a summary of the key points from the sources:

  • In October 2016, a group aligned with the Islamic State (IS) led by Abdiqadir Mumin took control of the port town of Qandala in Somalia’s Puntland region. This coincided with the anniversary of Mumin pledging allegiance to IS the previous year.

  • Qandala was a strategic target as it was near the IS stronghold and had geographical barriers that made it difficult for security forces to quickly retake. Mumin may have seized it to gain full recognition from IS central.

  • After initially withdrawing, Puntland security forces recaptured Qandala in December 2016 after clashes with IS fighters. The takeover displaced over 25,000 people.

  • Accounts from locals described IS establishing control, collecting taxes, promising higher fish prices. But they also faced opposition from elders and imposed strict rules. There were reports of deaths of elders who opposed IS, though numbers and perpetrators are unclear.

  • While short-lived, the Qandala takeover demonstrated IS’ presence in Puntland and ability to seize territory, at least temporarily. It boosted Mumin’s status with IS central.

  • Mumin drew fighters from multiple clans, but particularly the Ala Saleeban clan, some out of ideological support and others out of respect or fear. Non-Somalis were also recruited to join his group.

  • IS presence continued, but at a smaller scale conducting ambushes and hit-and-run attacks. Regional forces kept pressure on the group. Estimates put IS fighter numbers in the dozens, compared to hundreds for al-Shabaab.

  • The Islamic State in Somalia (ISS) established its first training camp called the ‘Commander Sheikh Abu Numan Training Camp’ in Puntland region of Somalia in 2016.

  • The camp was named after Bashir Abu Numan, a former Al-Shabaab commander who defected to ISS and was later killed by Al-Shabaab.

  • ISS leader Mumin appeared in a propaganda video filmed at this camp, showing over a dozen ISS fighters training there.

  • The camps establishment highlighted ISS’s efforts to have an official presence in Somalia and offer military training to its recruits. However, ISS faced challenges in Somalia from the much larger and established Al-Shabaab group.

  • ISS clashed periodically with Al-Shabaab since 2017, carrying out some bombings and assassinations. But ISS remained marginal with only around 100 fighters compared to Al-Shabaab’s estimated 5,000-10,000 members.

  • ISS tried to position itself as an alternative to Al-Shabaab in Somalia but struggled to gain meaningful traction on the ground due to Al-Shabaab’s dominance and ISS’s lack of resources and support network.

Here is a summary of the key points from the PDF:

  • The Islamic State’s Central Africa Province (ISCAP), also known as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), operates in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It was formed in 1995 from a merger of Islamist and nationalist rebel groups.

  • The ADF’s leadership previously received support from Sudan and the government in Kinshasa. It has engaged in violence against civilians in eastern Congo since the 1990s.

  • Starting in the 2010s, some ADF factions pledged allegiance to ISIS. ISIS accepted the pledge and officially recognized the ADF as its Central Africa Province in April 2019.

  • ISCAP aims to establish an Islamic caliphate in Central Africa. It continues to engage in violence including attacks, assassinations, kidnappings and mutilation of civilians in eastern Congo despite military operations against it by Congolese and UN forces.

  • The group has international links and receives some funding and support from external networks affiliated with ISIS. Its affiliate status has helped it attract some foreign fighters but it remains primarily a Central African rebel group focused on Congo.

Here is a summary of the Twitter thread:

  • It discusses the rise of Islamist insurgency in northern Mozambique beginning in 2017, with attacks on police stations in Mocímboa da Praia municipality.

  • The origins of the insurgency are debated, but it emerged from a context of local grievances, poverty, and the influence of more radical Salafi teachings imported from abroad.

  • Northern Mozambique has a long history of Islam with distinct traditions compared to the rest of the country. Salafism gained influence since the 1980s through mosque-building backed by foreign funds.

  • The insurgency continued low-level attacks through 2017-2018 but grew more brazen. Questions arose around possible foreign recruitment or networking with militant groups in Tanzania, Somalia, or further afield.

  • In 2019, ISIS began claiming attacks in northern Mozambique and a Central Africa Province was announced, suggesting the insurgency may have come under the group’s organizational umbrella. Fighting has intensified and displaced communities in the resource-rich Cabo Delgado region.

  • The University of Medina and International University of Africa in Mozambique have long been associated with Salafi curriculums.

  • RENAMO activists tried to seize local administration offices in 2000 and 2005, resulting in violent clashes that left people dead and injured.

  • There are asymmetries in access to state resources between northern and southern Mozambique that may enable the penetration of jihadist groups.

  • Local grievances and limited state presence in Cabo Delgado created an environment conducive to radicalization. Salafi missionaries from Tanzania also contributed to the spread of radical ideologies.

  • The initial insurgent group was inspired by Wahhabism/Salafism and linked to networks in Tanzania, though it has since affiliated itself with ISIS. Attacks began in Mocimboa da Praia in 2017.

  • The insurgency has since spread to Nampula and Niassa provinces. There is evidence of foreign, including East African, fighters participating or supporting the insurgency.

  • Tanzania has arrested over 100 suspected extremists with reported links to the Mozambique insurgency. Some insurgent leaders spent time in Uganda and Tanzania.

That covers the key points regarding the origins, spread and regional dimensions of the insurgency in northern Mozambique based on the sources provided. Let me know if you need any part of the summary expanded on or have additional questions.

Here is a summary of the key points from the article:

  • The article discusses an alleged terrorist hideout or security front called the USAFi mosque in Kampala, Uganda.

  • There are allegations that the mosque was used to radicalize and recruit Ugandans to join terrorist groups in Somalia and Mozambique. However, the mosque leaders deny these allegations.

  • In January 2019, 3 Ugandan terror suspects were arrested in Mozambique. This links some Ugandans to the growing insurgency in northern Mozambique.

  • Other reports mention South African nationals like the Thulsie twins may have helped bring fighters from South Africa to join the insurgency in Mozambique.

  • Attacks increased in 2018 in northern Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique near lucrative LNG projects. Villages were raided and over 100 houses destroyed in some incidents.

  • The attacks raised security concerns about the multi-billion dollar LNG projects by companies like Total. However, it’s unclear if the insurgents were specifically targeting the gas projects.

  • In mid-2019, the Islamic State began claiming attacks in Mozambique, though the Mozambican government denied their presence. The attacks continued to intensify throughout 2019.

  • Russia began providing security assistance to Mozambique to help combat the insurgents, though the involvement of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner was controversial.

So in summary, the article links the growing insurgency in northern Mozambique to recruitments allegedly occurring in Uganda, the escalating violence, concerns about impact on LNG projects, and Russia’s deepening security involvement.

  • The article reports that 7 Kremlin-linked mercenaries from the Wagner Group were killed in Mozambique in October according to unnamed sources.

  • Later articles provide more details on Wagner’s involvement in Mozambique, saying they are “out of their depth” battling Islamist insurgents in Cabo Delgado province.

  • The insurgency in Cabo Delgado has been destabilizing the region, causing fear, hunger and mystery killings among the local population.

  • ISIS has been expanding its presence in Africa, with factions pledging allegiance in various countries like Egypt, Somalia, Mali/Burkina Faso, and West Africa. However, their strength and coordination varies significantly between regions.

  • Wagner forces have also faced setbacks in Mozambique, highlighting the challenges of combating an asymmetric insurgent group operating in rugged local terrain.

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