Terrorism in East and West Africa
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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.
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Chapter 6: Terrorism in West Africa

Nick Ridley


The West African countries under consideration are those of Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger. Two of these countries are rich in natural resources, and form the small but important part of the West African coastline, the Gulf of Guinea. The other two countries stretch inland towards the troubled area of Mali and westwards towards Sudan. Natural resources and geographical position render this group of countries a strategically important bloc in Africa. Chad is situated in semi-desert terrain, and has a thousand mile long border with Libya, largely porous. It has a population of just over 10 million, with 53 per cent Muslim and the remainder various Christian denominations. An estimated 70–80 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, and until early 2011 it had experienced no democratic elections. These factors would appear to render it extremely conducive to militant unrest, and fully exploitable for Islamic extremist groups. Yet the number of terrorist attacks in Chad in the post-9/11 decade was small, 58 in ten years, with the majority (54 out of the 58) occurring in the 2005–2008 period. One of the principal security threats in this decade to Chad came from the Movement for Democracy and Justice (MDJT) in Chad, which was founded by a former Chad Defence Minister Youssouf Togoimi. The MDJT attempted to overthrow the government of President Deby for a more democratic inclusive government, and the insurgency lasted for a five-year period from late 1998 to 2003.

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