Pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Telegram Channels Celebrate Withdrawal Of Peacekeeping Missions, Displacement Of Christians In African Countries

July 9, 2024

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On July 8, 2024, pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Telegram channels published posts celebrating the departure of peacekeeping forces from African countries where ISIS affiliates are active, as well as the displacement of Christians due to these affiliates' attacks.

The Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) withdrew its forces from the Cabo Delgado Province in the country's north on July 4, ending its peacekeeping mission. In 2021, the 16-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) had resolved to send 3,000 troops to Mozambique to help the government combat terrorism.[1]

U.S. troops left Niger's capital, Niamey, on July 7, and are set to abandon their final base in the country, in Agadez, before a September 15 deadline set by the military junta which seized power in a July 2023 coup.  In March 2024, Niger's new rulers cancelled a military cooperation deal with the U.S., under which about 650 soldiers were present in the country as part of anti-jihadi missions in several states of the African Sahel, including some stationed at a major drone base near Agadez.[2]

The Islamic State Mozambique Province (ISMP) operates in Cabo Delgado Province,[3] while the Islamic State Sahel Province – as well as Al-Qaeda affiliate Jama'at Nusrat Al-Islam Wal-Muslimeen (the Group for Support of Islam and Muslims – GSIM) – are active in Niger and other Sahel countries.[4]

Celebration Of Anti-Terrorism Missions' Withdrawal From Mozambique, Niger

In a July 8 Telegram post, prominent pro-ISIS channel "Sawt Al-Zarqawi" commented on an article on Egyptian news website Al-Bawabah titled "Fears of ISIS Barbarity after SADC Withdraws its Military Mission in Mozambique,"[5] writing: "They are powerless against us."[6]

The pro-ISIS Bariqah News Agency shared two videos showing "crusader American forces" evacuating their base in Niamey, Niger. The media outlet claimed that the base was "a center for operating drones as part of the war against the Islamic State in the Sahel provinces."[7]

Celebration Of Christian Displacement From Northeastern DRC

In another post, Bariqah shared a screenshot of an X post by a journalist based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), claiming that the Beni and Walikale territories of the DRC's northeastern North-Kivu Province, where rebel group the Congolese Revolutionary Army (M23) is not active, have become "ghost regions." The journalist explained that Beni territory has been "deserted by the population" due to the activity of the Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP).[8] Bariqah celebrated: "The difference between us and them is like night and day. The Beni region is almost empty of polytheist Christians because of the monotheists' attacks." The post featured the hashtag #Metropolis_Of_The_Muslims.[9]

Supporters of ISIS and Al-Qaeda celebrated the coup in Niger, predicting that the increasing instability in the country would strengthen the hands of the jihadi groups active there.[10] The ISIS Sahel Province has claimed it is conducting an "economic war" against the governments of Sahel states weakened by recent coups.[11]

Both the DRC and Mozambique have witnessed extreme violence against the local Christian population by ISIS affiliates in the country, in attempts to displace Christians and allow ISIS to consolidate power.[12]


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