A new ISIS affiliate in sub-Saharan Africa has intensified attacks into the Sahel region south of Libya
(VERO BEACH, FLA) According to a recently published report by the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS) is gaining momentum after reemerging in late 2016 with three major terror attacks.
The three attacks, which included a September assault on a border post in Burkina Faso, and two in October, with another attack in Burkina Faso and on a prison in Niger, occurred prior to the Islamic State officially recognizing the ISIS-GS. After recognition, the ISIS-GS was also suspected of carrying out a December attack on a military convoy in Burkina Faso, killing 12 soldiers.
"The emergence of an ISIS affiliate in the Sahel will likely increase the security threat to the private sector, as western interests are routinely targeted by militant groups in the Sahel," the report said.
According to U.S. intelligence reports, ISIS-GS was formed in 2015 from the remnants of al Murabitun — an Islamist terror group once linked to al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) — and a splinter group from AQIM called al Mulathamun Battalion.
During a Senate hearing last week, AFRICOM commander Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser said ISIS is regrouping after its expulsion from Sirte and that many of its militants were moving to southern Libya.
"The instability in Libya and North Africa may be the most significant, near-term threat to U.S. and allies' interests on the continent," Gen. Waldhauser said. "The multiple militias and fractured relationship between factions in east and west Libya exacerbate the security situation, spilling into Tunisia and Egypt and the broader Maghreb, allowing the movement of foreign fighters, enabling the flow of migrants out of Libya to Europe and elsewhere."