Reading in the index of terrorist operations inside Africa during April 2023
The African continent witnessed an increase in the pace of terrorism during the month of April 2023 compared to previous months, as terrorist organizations launched 37 terrorist operations, killing about 432 people, wounding 118, and kidnapping 32 others, at an increase of 19% compared to March, during which 30 terrorist operations were committed, leaving 243 victims, 31 injured, and 8 others kidnapped. This was due to the difficult social and economic conditions that extremist groups exploit, as poverty and poor conditions represent their most powerful weapons to attract and recruit new elements, taking advantage of their need for money.
Sahel is deadliest
According to a study prepared by the Al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Terrorism, the African Sahel region, which constitutes a source of concern, ranked first in terms of the number of terrorist operations and the number of victims. It witnessed 17 terrorist attacks, nearly half of the total number of terrorist operations carried out by terrorist organizations on the continent during April, which resulted in the death of 241 people, the wounding of 82 others, and the kidnapping of two. Burkina Faso carried out 10 terrorist operations, which resulted in the killing of 209 and the wounding of 12, while Mali was subjected to six operations, with a total of 94 dead and wounded. Niger witnessed a single operation that killed five, injured three, and kidnapped two.
The Al-Azhar Observatory confirmed in its study that the Sahel region was the bloodiest in April because of the expansion of the scope of movements affiliated with ISIS and al-Qaeda due to the successive challenges and economic crises facing the Sahel countries and increasing pressures on the country’s resources. This led to 970,000 children suffering from malnutrition as a result of armed conflicts in the countries of the region, according to a report issued by UNICEF. This calls for urgent international action to deal with this humanitarian catastrophe facing the countries of the African Sahel region, with the need to work at the same time to improve the security situation in the region, which has been witnessing an escalation of terrorist activities for years, whose victims are mostly civilians.
West Africa is in second place
West Africa ranked second in terms of the number of terrorist attacks, and the third in terms of the number of victims, as ISIS in West Africa and its rival, Boko Haram, carried out nine terrorist operations, all of which were centered in Nigeria, which resulted in the death of 75 and the kidnapping of 30. Meanwhile, the East African region ranked third in terms of the number of terrorist operations, and the fourth in terms of the number of deaths, with Somalia subjected to six operations, equivalent to 16.2% of the total number of terrorist operations, resulting in the death and injury of three.
Decline of Al-Shabaab
The Al-Azhar Observatory study confirmed the decline in the operations of Al-Shabaab due to the continuous efforts of the Somali government in combating the terrorist movement and pursuing its remnants, in addition to restoring new areas that were under the control of the movement, where the Somali army, with the help of the local population, was able to liberate several villages in the Galguduud region in the central state of Galmudug. This was due to the renewed political insistence of the country's government to liberate the remaining areas and eliminate terrorism.
As for the Central African region, it came in fourth place in terms of the number of operations, but it ranked second in terms of the number of deaths. The region was subjected to five terrorist attacks, all of which resulted in 113 victims and 33 injured. The Democratic Republic of the Congo alone was subjected to three terrorist attacks claimed by the ISIS-affiliated Allied Democratic Forces, which resulted in 90 deaths and 33 injuries, while Chad and Cameroon were subjected to one terrorist operation each, resulting in the death of 17 in the first and six in the second.
The Al-Azhar Observatory appreciated the efforts of African countries in trying to defeat extremism, as the death toll of terrorist elements reached 321 dead and five arrested, in addition to the surrender of two terrorist elements. In the Sahel region, efforts to combat terrorist organizations resulted in the neutralization of 205 terrorist elements. No less than 150 terrorists were killed in Burkina Faso, where the government is targeting terrorist organizations in the north and south of the West African country with air strikes, while the Malian army managed to eliminate 55 other terrorists, and the Nigerian army managed to liquidate 65 terrorists from ISIS in West Africa and Boko Haram. The Somali government forces managed to eliminate 51 Al-Shabaab members and arrested five, while two terrorists voluntarily surrendered to the army forces.