Another day; another deadly terrorist attack on African soil. After the horror of this weekend’s ruthless killings in Ivory Coast, two female suicide bombers sent 24 more innocent souls to an early grave in Nigeria this morning. That’s after President Buhari had declared his nation had ‘technically’ defeated Boko Haram in battle, encouraging the return of foreign investors to a nation embroiled in spiralling economic woes. The rampage is becoming relentless.
I vividly recall watching Emmanuel TV on December 31st 2015 when Nigerian Pastor T.B. Joshua released an alarming list of predictions for 2016. One of the most striking was the impending rise in terrorist attacks in the African continent, spawned particularly by democratic infringements during elections.
“More African countries will be under siege by terrorists because of pros and cons in choosing leaders,” he said. “Mishandling of electoral processes will create a conducive atmosphere for terrorists.” Several months later and the warning bells are ringing at an alarmingly loud rate. Aside from the steady attacks by groups such as Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab in Somalia, 2016 has witnessed terrorists strike in the unlikely destinations of Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, both countries who have recently emerged from elections late in 2015.
Violence broke out in Uganda this week in the wake of the disputed elections which saw veteran leader Yoweri Museveni return to power, leaving over 20 fatalities. Tensions remain high in other African countries with preparedness for elections oftentimes mingled with the fear of violence. Well did Joshua warn that electoral mishaps would provide a conducive atmosphere for terror to thrive!
In the midst of such tensions, Libya has become a hotbed for terrorist recruitment and empowerment. Since the brutal ousting of Gaddafi in 2011, the fight for power between rival groups has led to chaos in the North African country. With no discernible national authority to guarantee security, militant groups have infiltrated, using it as a hub to launch attacks and sell weapons in West Africa.
With economic challenges prevalent, rising anger amongst youth against corruption in government and the refusal of prominent African leaders to concede power, there seems to be no sign of these attacks abating. Indeed, the attacks in West Africa could be a harbinger of what’s to come as militant groups ramp up attacks to show that they are flag-bearers of jihadism and a warped perception of ‘change’ they believe can only be attained through blood. May God help us!
Godwin Ikechukwu – Port Harcourt, Nigeria