Back in October, we wrote in one of our social networks about the new conflict dynamic fast evolving in Africa. Indeed, economically speaking Africa is progressing. However, in parallel, many corners of Africa appear to be descending into chaos. We noted that extremism is on the rise in a manner never seen before in Africa. Rebellion in many parts of the continent has been a constant, but never so intrinsically linked to terrorist and criminal networks. Please, go and grab a map of Africa or open one in your browser.
In the north, the Arab Spring countries have many unresolved political problems that are fast spreading to adjacent regions. These problems are also penetrating Europe via the constant flow of refugees into the continent. Some of these people are poorly integrated into mainstream society by the respective host countries and continue their quarrels away from their homelands.
In the East, we find a resurgent al-Shabaab and other groups inspired by al-Qaeda ideology spreading their influence to the south and the east. At the same time, fighting between Christian and Muslim groups are becoming so widespread and commonplace that is becoming difficult to track all the emerging local and regional conflicts.
Criminal activity, notably piracy and the kidnapping industry, overlaps terrorism and fundamentalism both east and west. Nigeria is fast becoming a country were this lethal mix is becoming commonplace. Maritime piracy is fast growing in the west coast of Africa too. Drug trafficking organizations have also found that the western area appears to be a good transit hub for traffic between South America and Europe.
You can also add to this already lethal mix the many rebellions in countries like the Congo and the Central African Republic and criminal violence in South Africa, Zimbabwe, etc. The Central African Republic have become the focus of attention this month, as there many of the conflict trends noted above have found a fertile ground to blend and energize one another. How much longer we need to wait before the international community react to this and many other similar conflicts across Africa?
We have identified at least twenty concerning trends of criminal and terrorist activity in the continent that remain unchecked, as they rarely make the headlines. A grand strategy is needed before violence in Africa reaches a point of no return. When that happens, peacekeepers and/or Private Military Companies will be unable to contain the escalating violence.