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Returning 6000 ISIS fighters may join B’Haram, other African terror rings, AU warns

Leading security official and African Union’s (AU) commissioner for peace and security, Smail Chergui, has warned African leaders and mainly Interior ministries and national intelligence agencies to tighten up their porous borders against over 6,000 returning ISIS Jihadists.

The advice stemmed from the fact that all of them had been indoctrinated with violence and extremist ideology.

The return of an estimated 6,000 African jihadists who fought for the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria is due to the official end of hostilities in both countries and the gradual institution of good governance.

It would be recalled that tens of thousands of foreign fighters joined the Sunni extremist group after it seized vast swathes of Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate in 2014.

However, the group has suffered a host of losses to both its territory and military capabilities in the last year.

But backed by a US-led coalition, Iraqi forces gradually retook control of all territory lost to the jihadists, declaring weekend that the country was now liberated from its control.

Already, in Syria, the group faces western-backed Syrian rebels, jihadist rivals and government forces that are supported by Russia and Iran.

But the losses have sparked fears that IS’s remaining foreign fighters may now relocate, bringing their extremist ideology and violence with them.

Some of the dislodged fighters have been found in Afghanistan.

Chergui said African nations would need to work closely with each other and share intelligence to counter returning militants.

According to him, “There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group in the Middle East,” Chergui told a meeting in Algiers.

“The return of these elements to Africa poses a serious threat to our national security and stability and requires specific treatment and intense cooperation between African countries,” he said.