Mass terror killings in Nigeria put US Somalia withdrawal in spotlight

The US is withdrawing personnel from the conflict in Somalia.

For more than a decade depredations by Al-Shabab, a group linked to global Islamist terror, have necessitated focus by the international community. The group has spread terror beyond Somalia, affecting Kenya and East Africa.

At the same time Islamist terror attacks in Nigeria and across the Sahel have increased in recent years, despite the role of the US in Niger and France across the Sahel.

The US decisions in Africa, which look to reduce the very small US footprint on the continent, could send a message to groups destroying northern Nigeria, like Boko Haram, that the US is not committed in the long term. While Somalia is very far from Nigeria, these groups that are affiliates of various extremist global groups, such as Al Qaeda or Islamic State, follow regional news and understand that if western governments and the US are not committed then they could increase their attacks.

In a recent attack in Nigeria around 110 people were murdered. These were farm workers. France24 says the attacks were carried out jihadists and the UN has said it was the deadliest attack this year.

These attacks look increasingly like ISIS-style genocide and they have included targeted killings of Christians and Muslims and kidnapping of women and children. The only reason this has not been treated with the seriousness ISIS was treated in Iraq and Syria appears to be that most countries do not consider African states a priority. For this reason extremist groups have penetrated further and further in the last years destabilizing and spreading terror to the Central African Republic and many other states.