As the global media spotlight stayed on the Da'ish attacks on Paris and the aftermath, a suicide bomber killed more than 80 people in a vegetable market in Yola, Nigeria, attracting little attention. In fact, there was more fuss about the demand from Africans for Facebook to extend its safety service – which allows friends and families in areas hit by terrorist attacks to check up on each other – to Africa. Ever image-conscious, Facebook quickly made the service cover Kenya and Nigeria.
This points to a bigger truth: that Africa is disproportionately
targeted by Islamist and other terrorist attacks. Researcher Olivier
Roy of the European University in Florence makes the point that
attacks on Paris are a sign of Da'ish's
strategic limits in the Middle
East, bounded as it is by Kurdish forces in the north, Iraqi Shiites in
the west, and President Bashar al
Assad's forces in the east. Da'ish
will step up its international recruitment and efforts on spectacular
international terrorist attacks as it did on 13 November, Roy says.
What Roy omits to point out is that Da'ish has already opened a second
front: in Libya, which has
become an important base for it. Alarmingly,
the military stalemate between Libya's secularist forces and an
Islamist coalition, with which Da'ish
cooperates, continues to rip
apart the country and its people. More alarmingly still, Da'ish has
started a push in southern Libya to corral the Islamist and jihadist
factions there to reinforce their attacks on Mali, Mauritania and Niger.