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Al-Qaeda growing influence in Borno, North-West may extend to Southern Nigeria, US warns

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AL-QAEDA insurgent group is making some inroads in Borno State, North-Western and Southern parts of Nigeria, the United States of America has revealed.

Dagvin Anderson, Commander of the US Special Operations Command, Africa, disclosed this during a digital briefing on US efforts to combat terrorism in Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The director in a brief obtained by The ICIR stated that the insurgent group was also expanding to other parts of West Africa.

Anderson explained that Al-Qaeda has had a very deliberate campaign to eliminate the future and grow its base in Africa by shutting down schools across the region.

“Al-Qaeda has had a very deliberate campaign to exploit these seams and grievances and to expand their reach, especially into the west.

“We’ve seen that they’ve taken advantage of this also by closing schools, so they take away the future.  They eliminate that future by shutting down these schools,” he said.

Anderson, who expressed concern over the development stated that over 9,000 schools across Africa have been shut down ― 3,000 in Mali and Burkina Faso.

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He stated that the US has engaged with Nigeria and would continue to engage with the country on intel sharing and understanding of what these violent extremists are doing.

“…we have engaged with Nigeria and continue to engage with them in intel sharing and in understanding what these violent extremists are doing, and that has been absolutely critical to their engagements up in the Borno State and into an emerging area of northwest Nigeria that we’re seeing al-Qaida starting to make some inroads in,” Anderson revealed.

“So this intelligence sharing is absolutely vital and we stay fully engaged with the Government of Nigeria to provide them an understanding of what these terrorists are doing, what Boko Haram is doing, what ISIS-West Africa is doing, and how ISIS and al-Qaida are looking to expand further south into the littoral areas.”

The US Commander further said that the threat these violent extremist organizations pose cannot be underestimated, noting that the international nations thought they’ve been disintegrated.

“I think after 20 years, we have seen they are very resilient organizations that, although small, they’re able to leverage social media and other forms of media to have an outsized voice and that they continue to recruit and they continue to find opportunities,” he said.

 

'Niyi works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via [email protected] You can as well follow him on Twitter via @niyi_oyedeji.

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