In light of recent events in Niger where four US Special Forces soldiers were killed, many people are wondering: who are these terror groups operating in Africa? How many terrorist groups are in Africa? There is no short story to the history of terrorism in Africa, and there have long been Islamic terror groups operating in the region. I will do my best in this article to give a look at the main groups and their area of operations.

Africa is one of the largest continents on the planet with many poor countries and vast stretches of land.  On top of that, many of the countries have poorly trained security forces. All of this culminates into a perfect breeding ground for extremist groups to gather pace. While there are a number of rich countries in Africa, you will find that within these countries there are certain places that are very poor and isolated from the wealthier regions.

Nigeria is one of these countries–in the south you find a lot of wealth and oil, and with that comes jobs and opportunities for the local population. But if you look at the vast, northern Nigeria, it’s a very poor area that relies primarily on agricultural opportunities to supply jobs to the population. Jobs are scarce, so people are unable to provide for their families and themselves.  This creates the perfect opportunity for terrorist groups to recruit new foot soldiers.

Nigeria also has a problem within its own religious populations and cultures.  The people in the south are generally Christian, and in the north they are mainly Muslims. These religious divides can give opportunities to the likes of the Islamic State, to come in and preach their shit and sway the people away from living alongside each other. They are essentially giving the people motivation to fight for their cause. Like most terror groups, they also often offer money and protection from their families that might not come from the current government. Nigeria is certainly not the only place in Africa that suffers from these problems.

Moving away from Nigeria, we can look at the northern part of Africa: Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt–this is where you will find a concentration of terrorist groups and terrorist activities. You will also find that a lot of the civilian population within these countries are predominantly Muslim. I’m not saying that all Muslims countries are bad, but it’s definitely easier for them to recruit and gain support in areas that share the same faith as them.


Mali and Niger

Niger is one of those countries you just have to feel sorry for–it shares borders with Mali, Nigeria, Libya and Chad. On almost every border around Niger there are terrorist organizations operating, and as I said earlier, many of these African countries have poor security forces. Niger is no different, which is apparent when you realize that Boko Haram have attacked Nigerien soil, and that AQIM and ISIL have both attacked or conducted operations within Niger’s borders. The border regions around this country are large and poorly guarded, which allows attackers from different nations to easily conduct cross-border operations before returning to their place of origin.