Several regions in Africa have been affected by terrorism, from Kenya to Somalia in the East; Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya in the North and Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali in the West. In response some like Mali and Burkina Faso are collaborating to fight against the threat.
“I guess the only place where there isn’t conflict right now is probably in Southern Africa,” said Ona Ekhomu, President of the Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria to CNBC Africa’s Onyi Sunday.
Al Shabaab Attacks
“Al Shabaab has become a very big problem for the Kenyan state, primarily because Kenya has been at the forefront of the efforts to combat and contain Al Shabaab in Somalia and that is why you saw all those cross-border attacks,” said Ekhomu.
He explains this as a revenge style attack and follows in the trend of the Jihadists, who have a tendency to want to try to scare you.
“They want to make you afraid such that you won’t bother them and you can let them have free reign of wherever they are running but I think the Kenyans are committed to the fight against Jihad because if they don’t fight Al Shabaab now – it’s going to grow even more in the years ahead in Kenya so the best thing is to fight the menace while it is small now.”
Enough to eradicate it?
One of the issues is that there is a vast plane of space that is ungoverned allowing for terrorism groups to grow.
“The Sahel runs all the way from the Atlantic ocean in the West to Indian Ocean in the East, that whole area is largely ungoverned, that means there isn’t credible government presence in that area – that makes it easy for these terrorist groups to flourish because when there is no governance, when there is nobody to combat them, then they just kind of grow,” said Ekhomu.
He adds: “We must have the material to deliver men to an area where there is conflict because the whole area is so vast, it is impossible to have enough troops to man every square inch of that territory.”
As a solution Ekhomu suggests a more international and multinational solution to combat terror.
Change of strategy
“The problem is they are not changing their strategy because they don’t understand the threat – they must have a proper threat assessment, you have to get the organic element of that threat and know what is feeding it so that you know how you can address it,” said Ekhomu.
However bearing in mind displacement theory, if you move the terrorists from one place they will simply go to another –
“It’s not possible to say ‘yes, because we have dislodge them from here, we have defeated them’, you haven’t – you have just moved them.”