Terrorism in East and West Africa

Terrorism in East and West Africa

The Under-focused Dimension

Nick Ridley

Since 9/11, despite extensive international efforts against global terrorism, there has been a misfocussing on the terrorism in Africa. This timely book draws upon the author’s experience as a former intelligence analyst, to give an account of terrorism in East and West Africa in the first two decades after the 9/11 attacks. It analyses why there is an incorrect strategic approach to this threat and will serve as a valuable compendium detailing terrorist groups and their activities in Africa to those studying terrorism.

Chapter 4: Turbulence in Sudan – and in Kenya

Nick Ridley

Subjects: law - academic, terrorism and security law, politics and public policy, international politics, international relations, terrorism and security


The previous chapter provided overviews of East African countries individually and collectively. This chapter turns in more detail to two of those countries in the post-9/11 period, one country which was subjected to several internal separatist conflicts involving a complex series of militant groups, whilst the other country was being drawn into external intervention as part of its anti-terrorist strategy. Sudan is the third largest country in Africa, and in its sprawling area forms a bridge between the north, the Maghreb, East Africa and the outer reaches of West Africa. In 2010 its economy was amongst the top 20 fastest growing economies in the world, a growth fuelled by its oil resources. However, the secession of South Sudan (which contains up to 80 per cent of the combined oil fields of Sudan and South Sudan), and the 2007 economic crises have resulted in a dramatic fall in the economic growth of Sudan. As has been seen in the first chapter, Sudan offered Bin Laden and al Qaeda sanctuary in the formative years, and there was little doubt it was a terrorist safe haven. Indeed, ‘No serious examinations of safe havens in Africa can commence without serious discourse on the role of Sudan’. Whatever the approach to the topic of safe havens for terrorism – descriptive, macro-overview or detailed methodological analysis – the general opinion has been unanimous that Sudan constitutes a safe haven in Africa for terrorist organisations.

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