Wednesday June 13, 2018

UN Development Programme launches Journey to Extremism in Africa study in Ethiopian capital

A man prays at a site destroyed by violent extremists in early 2012,Timbuktu, Mali. UN Photo/Marco Dormino

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia  -A
total of 33,300 people have been killed in Africa between 2011 and 2016
due to violent extremism, according to a UN Development
Programme-sponsored study released on Tuesday.

The
study titled “A journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and
the Tipping Point for Recruitment” was launched in capital Addis Ababa.

Poverty,
lack of basic services, and repression of rights have been pinpointed
in the study as some of the main drivers of extremism in Africa.

“Violent
extremism in Africa is setting in motion a dramatic reversal of
development gains and threatening to stunt prospects of development for
decades to come. From 2011 to 2016, it caused 33,300 fatalities as well
as widespread displacement, creating situations of pronounced and
critical humanitarian need,” it said.

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It
listed key extremist groups in the continent as: Al-Qaeda in the
Islamic Maghreb, Jama’at Tawhid Wal Jihad fi Garbi Afriqqiya (Movement
for the Unity and Jihad in West Africa, MUJAO), Jama’atul Ahlus Sunnah
Lidda’awati wal Jihad (Boko Haram) and Ansaru in Nigeria and Cameroon,
Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (Al-Shabaab) in East Africa; and the
Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Central Africa.

“Smaller
pockets of violent extremist affiliated activity have emerged, with the
activities of many groups spreading across state borders into
neighboring countries, spawning further groups and individuals pledging
allegiance either to primary groups or related ideologies, for instance
in Cameroon, Kenya, Mali and Niger, among others,” the study said.

“A
number of ‘foreign fighters’ are known to have travelled from Sudan to
Libya, Syria and Iraq, and, in a smaller number of cases, to Somalia and
Nigeria, in support of violent extremist activity,” it added.

Ambassador
Frederic Gataetse Nguga, representative of the African Union, on the
occasion said that despised as it may be, Al-Shabaab in Somalia is
regarded by the grassroots as a group delivering swift judgments in
addition to excelling at tax collection and intelligence system.

He called for the need to outsmart extremist groups fomenting radicalism and extremism in the continent.

According to the study, deep rooted poverty and other economic factors have also caused young people to subscribe to extremism.

It
added: “A sense of grievance towards, and limited confidence in
government is widespread in the regions of Africa associated with the
highest incidence of violent extremism.”

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