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Tens of fighters returning from Libya join “ISIS West Africa Province”

The African Institute for Security Studies called on African countries to move quickly to stop the restructuring of ISIS’s “West Africa Province” in the Chad Basin region, pointing out that in the event of doing so; The terrorist organization’s plans to expand in the region will endanger the lives of millions of Africans.

The institute said: “Some of these fighters left the organization between 2016 and 2018, and fled to Libya and Sudan, as the driving factor behind this was the leadership of the “West Africa Province,” especially the brutality of the former military commander, Mustafa Karima.

Some of the fugitives were unhappy with Boko Haram’s split in 2016 that led to the creation of the West Africa Province, while others wanted to join ISIS in Libya.

Their return to the ranks of “West Africa Province” has strengthened the organization, given their combat experience, as evidenced by their role in a number of attacks.

130 or more former fighters have returned to West Africa, after returning from Libya in three batches between April and June.

Reportedly; At least 70 more are expected, although it is not clear when that will be.

Sources say that the fighters use the “Libya-Algeria-Mali-Niger-Nigeria” road, which is preferred by ISIS and the “West Africa State” organization, instead of the direct passage between Libya, Niger and Nigeria, as with the extension of this long desert corridor, which is more difficult, with frequent reports of members of the two organizations dying of hunger and thirst, as human traffickers use this route, and stricter security checks being conducted.

The institute said: ISIS uses its local branch to promote its expansionist agenda that began even before its defeat in Iraq and Syria. Research by the Institute for Security Studies shows that ISIS ordered the removal of the leader of the jihad group, Abu Bakr Shekau, in May; to open the way for his loyal organizations in West Africa.

Sources who requested anonymity said that ISIS believed that its location on the island of Chad Basin would make expansion difficult, and that the best location was Sambisa, Shekau’s stronghold and hideout, and that taking Sambisa would require removing Shekau either alive or dead.

“There are conflicts over leadership in the “West Africa Province,” and the countries of the region must take advantage of this to weaken the terrorist organization. There have been attempts to form a united front in the past, but internal divisions have led to at least five leadership changes in many years.”

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