Africa will be worst hit if captured foreign jihadist fighters are let loose

The question of what to do with hundreds of foreign jihadist fighters (FJFs) with European nationality is a subject of intense debate in the global media. But it appears the impact of releasing captured African FJFs, who might return to a continent that is more vulnerable and exposed to threats than Europe, due to African states’ more limited technical and structural capabilities, has been ignored. A returning foreign fighter (RFF) flow risks greater instability in Africa itself, already a zone that stands out as fertile ground for both Daesh and Al-Qaeda jihadists, and beyond.

Daesh and Al Qaeda jihadist groups in Africa continue to create instability, damaging the continent’s prospects for socio-economic development. These groups exploit this fragile environment they help create, while benefitting from the return of experienced FJFs from other battlefields. Terrorists take advantage of security lapses on the continent to regroup, and to plan and launch attacks, against local governments and Western interests. 

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