18:53 GMT08 August 2020
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    While Europe and the US focus their counter-terrorism agenda and rhetoric on radicalized jihadis in the Middle East, Islamic extremism on the African continent has been underestimated, allowing the militant group Boko Haram to take a strong hold over swathes of north eastern Nigeria.

    Virginia Comolli, author of 'Boko Haram — Nigeria's Islamist Insurgency' told Sputnik that Boko Haram is not a new phenomenon in the country.

    "If we look at northern Nigeria starting from the 1970s onward, we can see a number of violent Islamist groups emerging in the north eastern areas, threatening discourse in religious terms and Islam as the solution to society's evil."

    Comolli, who is also Research Fellow for Security and Development at the International Institute for Strategic Studies told Sputnik that western countries have focussed their counter-terrorism agenda on the Middle East, neglecting and underestimating the need for an agenda on the African continent. "It has not emerged out of the blue.

    "It's part of a tradition of violent Islamists groups that have evolved in northern Nigeria."

    There are now fears that many Nigerian women, kidnapped by Boko Haram and taken into military custody, are communicating at night with the militant extremists, now calling themselves "Islamic State West Africa Province."

    According to a Nigerian military intelligence officer, there are suspicions some women are aiding the Islamic extremists. It's reported that soldiers took the group from Malkohi Camp to the airport at Yola city, where a plane flew them to an unknown destination.

    Suspicions that some of the women were taken to Boko Haram militants arose following trauma counseling sessions with the victims. The group includes 67 women and girls, and the rest — young children.

    Comolli suggests that the rise of the African Islamist militant group has been exacerbated by ease and freedom of movement and improved communication technologies.

    "Boko Haram is benefiting from advances brought about by globalization, better communication channels making it easier to make contact with other groups like Islamic State and acquire more sophisticated weapons and exposure to an array of extreme ideologies and tactics".

    Boko Haram Making Waves in Europe

    Many Sub-Saharan Africans — who would have previously migrated to Libya — are now fleeing unrest in the post-Gaddafi era. A reminder that the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean means northern Nigeria is not that far away.

    "The topic of migration into Europe via the Mediterranean is the clearest manifestation that conflicts and crisis in faraway countries do in fact have a very real impact on Europe and Britain. Nigeria is one of the countries of origin for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean," says Comolli.

    And according to the Council on Foreign Relations:

    "Political upheaval in the Middle East and across Africa is reshaping migration trends in Europe."

    Related:

    Al-Mourabitoun Jihadists in Mali Pledge Allegiance to ISIL
    Boko Haram Changes Name to 'Islamic State's West Africa Province' - Reports
    ISIL Expanding in Middle East, N. Africa - US Assistant Defense Secretary
    Boko Haram Abducts at Least 2,000 Women - Report
    Tags:
    Middle East, Daesh, terrorist, conflict, terrorism threat, migrants, migrant crisis, West, Nigerian Army, kidnapping, Islamic extremism, terrorism, insurgency, Islamist militants, Council on Foreign Relations, Boko Haram, Europe, Africa, Nigeria
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