Skip to main content

The Islamic State in Africa

The Islamic State presence in the depth of the African continent was strengthened after Nigerian movement Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the terrorist group.
A police officer stands guard in front of the Bardo Museum in Tunis March 24, 2015. The national museum reopened on Tuesday, almost a week after a militant attack which killed 20 foreign visitors.   REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi - RTR4UMIW

CAIRO — The March 18 terrorist attack in Tunisia on Bardo Museum that resulted in the death of 20 tourists and the March 7 broadcast of a video on social media sites showing the Nigerian movement Boko Haram pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) show the expansion of IS into the African continent. Up until this point, IS' presence in Africa seemed confined to North Africa in Libya’s coastal cities, Egypt’s Sinai and some places in Algeria.

The latest indicators of IS’ expansion pose a new threat to the entire African continent. The expansion in Africa is favorable for the group due to poverty, political conflict, continual sectarian tension and the illegal spread of weapons. This supports IS’ ambitions to extend the so-called caliphate from the Levant to the land of Egypt, the land of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and to the Maghreb, according to a map of the caliphate published by the group on its social media sites.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.