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 9: The ‘rise’ of piracy

Nick Ridley

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


In terms of piracy relating to Africa, there are two principal regions where attacks occur. These are, firstly, off the Somali coast and the western Indian Ocean, and, secondly, off the Gulf of Guinea. In both West and East Africa during the past decade oil has generated a new potential energy bonanza. Forty-five out of Africa’s 60 states have, or are in the process of realising, proven oil and gas reserves offshore. As at 2012, PanContinental, Andarko, Total and Cove have rights and activities off the Kenyan coast, Shell, Petrobas, Ophir and the BG Group, have rights and activities off the Tanzanian coast and Andarko, Cove, Misui, Bharat, Videocon and ENH have right and activities for gas and oil off the Mozambique coast. Chevron, Texaco and Exxon Mobil all have a significant presence in the Gulf of Guinea region, especially off Nigerian shores. West Africa accounts for between 15 per cent and 25 per cent of all oil imports into the United States, whilst China’s oil imports from Africa, particularly East Africa, doubled between 2006 and 2011. These developments have caused a significant increase in the traffic of sea going vessels off both the Gulf of Guinea and off Somalia and the western Indian Ocean. Between 2003 and 2011 there were a total of 1434 incidents of piracy off the coasts of Africa; the annual number of attacks on private shipping in this period off the coast of Africa rose from 61 in 2003 to 293 in 2011.

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