In a shift out of its traditional epicenter in the Middle East, militants have brought the African jihad into full swing.
The latest reports of terror campaigns on the continent came from the Congo. Recently, the Islamic State asserted its Central African Province claimed responsibility for an attack on U.N. forces near the city of Beni in DRC. Congolese media reports from 30 May also confirmed an attack on security forces in the aforementioned area.
The claim by ISIS is the latest in a series of statements released by the jihadist group in Central Africa. The Islamic State has now claimed at least nine attacks in the DRC since the middle of April. Some of these claims were not reported in local media, but others have indeed been confirmed by researchers.
The trend of Africa becoming under fire from a variety of Islamist terror groups has been ongoing for years, but recently picked up steam as ISIS lost ground in the Levant and turned its focus to Africa. As far as the U.S. is concerned, Africa has become a prime concentration from a global security perspective. Recognizing that jihadists have made headway in countries from Somalia to Burkina Faso, the American military has been investing an increasingly large amount of assets into repelling these advances.
In a way, the recent news from the Congo is a poster-child example of the current pattern in the continent. DRC has a weak government which is plagued by substantial issues ranging from a countrywide Ebola epidemic to dealing with armed rebel groups. Countries like the Congo become attractive targets for groups like ISIS who know they can easily gain a foothold in the country. The efforts of the U.S. and other Western partners on the continent are essentially an effort to battle this trend.