What does this mean for Africa?
- In Africa, different terrorist groups employ contrasting models and ideologies. Though sometimes affiliated to international terrorism ‘brands’, their operations and targets are vested tightly into their local political economy, and opportunistically exploit organised crime markets.
- Groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab have taken advantage of weak state structures, regional crime dynamics, and widespread corruption to engage in kidnapping for ransom and drug trafficking to transform their activities, even at the expense of their purported ideological aims.
- This is problematic for policy makers, who have tended to focus on the ostensible aim of a particular group in a specific geographic area.
- In Africa, however, it is often not easy to distinguish between the stated political or ideological aim of a particular group and their overtly criminal activities. This calls for a more nuanced approach in countering the organised crime-terrorism nexus.