The Sahel to the Horn: Terror Threat assessment



    Terrorist organisations such as the Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda (AQ) are marching south, from the Sahel to the coast of Africa. Chatter amongst these groups is indicating that after successful campaigns in the Sahel, the next target is Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Both of which have so far been spared from the wave of terrorist activity. That is gripping the Sahelian nations of Mali and Burkina Faso.

    Key Judgement 1: It is highly likely that both AQ and IS will mount attacks in Ghana and the Ivory Coast in the next 6 months as groups move from the Sahel to the coast.

    • Violence has already started to spread south from Burkina Faso into the Ivory Coast. There have been 13 cross-border attacks in the last year on the Ivory coast. (source)
    • Furthermore, Ghana has become surrounded by countries that are facing increased terrorist activity.  Burkina Faso to the north and Togo to the east have both experienced increased activity from IS and AQ. (source) (source)
    • The continued success of IS in the Sahel has emboldened the group to continue its march south to the coast. With chatter amongst the terrorist group seemingly targeting Ghana next (source)
    • Because of the proximity of Burkina Faso and Ghana. Attacks in Burkina Faso have already begun spilling over across the border into Ghana as terrorist groups pursue those fleeing. (source)
    • Additionally, Ghana is already being used by terror groups as a central warehouse. A place to regroup and plan attacks in neighbouring countries. (source)

    Key Judgement 2: Over the next 6 months it is likely that countries in the Gulf of Guinea will increase attempts to minimise the impact of terrorist activity.

    • Recent reports on social media suggested that Boko Haram has invaded Ghana, the country’s Interior Minister Ambrose Dery rubbished this. (source) (source)
    • Previously Dery had warned Ghanaians to remain vigilant about the terrorist threat to its country. The government has enacted a “See something, say something campaign.” (source)
    • Furthermore, the President of Ghana has said that the country is taking extraordinary measures. This is to prevent Ghana from becoming the latest victim of terrorism that is sweeping across Africa. (source)
    • The Ghanaian and Ivorian militaries have also been taking part in military training exercises being conducted by the West. Hoping that they are ready when the attacks take place. (source)

    Key Judgement 3: It is likely that over the next 6 months AQ and IS will attempt to increase recruitment from coastal countries as it has done in the Sahel.

    • Because IS and AQ affiliates in Africa are not like traditional armies it remains to be seen if beefing up security will work. IS and AQ target populations with grievances and spread ideas to help with recruitment. (source)
    • On the 9th of August 2022, Ghana’s UN representative highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the economies of many countries trying to fight violent extremist groups. Therefore, rendering the ability of countries like Ghana to meet the fiscal needs of its population. (source)
    • The May 2022, West African Centre for Combating Extremism (WACCE) report highlighted that Ghana has 352 unresolved chieftaincy conflicts. Making its northern border regions prime for exploitation by violent extremist groups. As it seeks to gain a foothold in a so far untouched country. (source
    • Furthermore, the WACCE report highlighted the northern regions of Ghana are less sensitive to extremist recruitment, as these regions have little to no governance and lack the basic human security needed. (source)

    Intelligence Cut-Off Date 15 September 2022

    Bobby Payne
    Bobby Payne
    Bobby has ten years experience in contracts management and business ownership. He is an alumni of the University of East Anglia where he studied history, focussing on Spanish colonisation. He is currently studying MA Intelligence and Security Studies at Brunel University. His research focus is on terrorism and geopolitics.

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