ISIS Expands into East Africa With New Militant Group

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A new terrorist group calling itself Jahba East Africa has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Fears that ISIS will spread its influence across the region appear to have been vindicated. As things stand, the largest Islamist extremist group in East Africa is Al-Shabaab, which is linked to ISIS rival Al-Qaeda. However, Al-Shabaab has suffered internal divisions over the last year, as the pull if Islamic State continues to draw new recruitments.

 

The shift towards ISIS in Africa

The emergence of a new militant group pledging its allegiance to ISIS has been anticipated for a while now. Al-Shabaab’s internal struggles became public knowledge after a number of fighters declared their allegiance to ISIS last year.

Al-Shabaab isn’t the only militant group experiencing a shift towards ISIS in Africa. A number of Al-Qaeda affiliates have turned their allegiance to Islamic State, including Boko Haram, Nigeria’s most prominent militant group and one of the most feared in Africa.

 

‘A new era’

Until recently there had been no name for the latest group pledging allegiance to ISIS in East Africa. However, the group has dubbed itself Jahba East Africa and took to Twitter to claim a new era is coming to the region.

“A new era will come to East Africa soon InshaAllah [God willing],” a Tweet on the group’s page read.

The group has also taken a shot at rival Al-Shabaab in a recent statement, calling on East Africans to abandon the group.

“We in Jahba East Africa are advising all East Africans to leave Al-Shabab and their sponsor groups, like al-Muhajiroun, al-Hijra and Ansar Islam,” the statement said.

“Like al-Shabab, the sponsor groups have not understood the binding obligation of the khalifah [caliphate]. We are telling the mujahedeen in East Africa that al-Shabab has now become a psychological and physical prison. To pledge bayah to Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is freedom for the mujahedeen in East Africa and opportunity to wage jihad according to the Sunnah against the enemies of Allah.”