Up To 6,000 Jihadist Fighters May Return To Africa, AU Warns
A top security official at the African Union (AU) has warned on Sunday that up to 6,000 Africans who fought for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria may return to the continent.
The security official issued the warning, urging African countries to prepare for the threat.
The Commissioner for peace and security at the African Union, Smail Chergui, said that African nations would need to collaborate with one another and to share intelligence in order to handle the likely-to-return militants.
“There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group in the Middle East,” Chergui told a meeting in Algiers, according to the Algeria Press Service news agency.
“The return of these elements to Africa poses a serious threat to our national security and stability and requires specific treatment and intense cooperation between African countries,” he said.
According to the report, tens of thousands of fighters had joined the Sunni extremist group after it seized vast portions of Iraq and Syria and declared them a caliphate in 2014.
The group has, however, suffered an array of losses, both to its territory, as well as to military intervention over the last year.
The Iraqi forces backed up by a coalition led by the U.S, have gradually taken back control of all territories that had been lost to the jihadist group, making a declaration on Saturday that the country had now been freed from the group’s control.
The group, in Syria, is being faced by Syrian Rebels backed by the Western nations, Jihadist rivals, as well as government forces supported by Russia and Iran.
Th losses have sparked fears that the remaining foreign fighter of the IS jihadist group may be relocating to Africa, bringing with them their extremist ideology and violence.