The 1998 attacks against US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam attest to al-Qaeda's durable presence in Africa, yet Islamist-inspired radical organisations in the continent have gained much attention of late, the result of their campaigns of insurgent and terrorist violence directed against the state in Algeria, Somalia, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti and Kenya. These groups include Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Harakat Al Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, and Ansar Dine. This book explains why the Idea of Jihad is alive and well in sub-Saharan Africa, even after more than thirty years of Western and global efforts to curtail it, and how most important organisations are formed by the interaction between the often under-estimated local and global dynamics.
Stig Jarle Hansen has been researching African radical violent Islamism for more than fifteen years and is well placed to explain how and why such groups emerged, whether they manifest any specific traits compared with other violent Islamists, and what is likely to be their impact beyond the African continent. He also discusses the response of African and Western governments to this phenomenon.