The rise in Islamic militancy in the Sahel, northern Nigeria, and the Horn of Africa has elevated attention to this evolving security challenge. Hopes that Africa's historically moderate interpretations of Islam would suffice to filter extremist views from gaining meaningful traction seem increasingly misplaced. More generally, understanding of this unconventional security challenge is often based more on speculation than informed assessment. Responses must avoid conflating distinct Islamist actors while addressing local level perceptions of disaffection and under-representation that underpin support for militants.
This article tries to better understand the emergence and trajectory of several prominent groups in Africa and draw transferrable lessons about their viability and appeal across the continent. (Here's a link to the piece.)
I'd welcome any thoughts or feedback.
All the best,