It is no secret that many countries in North and Sub-Saharan Africa are hotbeds for terrorism. Scotland’s release and transfer of Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi to Libya is a most recent reminder that terrorism originating in Africa is not a new phenomenon. However, the most recent arrest of Malam Abdulrasheed Abubakar, a 23 year-old Nigerian man who trained in Afghanistan for the Boko Haram (translated: Western Education is Sacrilege) militant sect is a disturbing reminder of just how far Islamic extremism has expanded in nations like Nigeria.
Recruited by Boko Haram’s leader Mohommed Yusuf, Abubakar, traveled from Nigeria to Afghanistan via South Africa to receive training in bomb making. In July, a bloody clash between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government left Yusuf and hundreds of others dead. The arrested Abubakar has confessed to his estrangement, radicalization and links to terrorist training in Afghanistan.
While legitimate local authorities in Nigeria and elsewhere do what they can to prevent terrorism in their communities, states and countries, they lack the necessary resources and are ill-equipped to prevent or fight the spread of terrorism. The Obama Administration is continuing to grapple with terrorist threats in Africa. However, owing to the expanded realm of terrorist activity, in East and West Africa, it needs to remain vigilant and provide assistance and resources to countries ready to deny African space to Islamist terrorists.