Dozens of ISIS Militants from Libya Pose a Threat to Africa


In a report, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) warned that the so-called Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) located near Lake Chad affiliated with the terrorist organization the Islamic State (ISIS), has begun to arrange its ranks. It noted that it recently received hundreds of elements affiliated with the organization coming from Libya with the aim of carrying out attacks inside the continent.

In a report, ISS confirmed that the organization is now planning to carry out attacks in the the African Sahel region. ISS explained that the organization will receive support (equipment and combatants) from Libya, in order to expand in the region. This expansion could endanger the lives of millions of Africans.

The institute pointed out that some of these combatants left the group between 2016 and 2018, fleeing to Libya and Sudan. A driving factor was ISWAP’s leadership, particularly the brutality of former military head Mustapha Krimima.

It added that some deserters were unhappy with the 2016 Boko Haram split that created ISWAP and Jema’ah Ansharusy Syariah (JAS), while others wanted to join ISIS in Libya. Their return could boost ISWAP’s ranks and combat experience, as shown by their role in the May Sambisa attack.

According to ISS research, 130 or more former fighters rejoined ISWAP after returning from Libya in three groups between April and June. At least 70 more are expected to return in the near future.

Sources say the combatants use the Libya-Algeria-Mali-Niger-Nigeria route favoured by ISIS and ISWAP rather than the direct Libya-Niger-Nigeria passage. With its long stretch of desert, the latter is more difficult to navigate, with frequent reports of travellers dying of hunger and thirst. The route is also used by human traffickers and therefore has stricter security checks.