Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) jihadis have made inroads with Islamic terrorists in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as the central African country reels from a worsening Ebola virus outbreak, which has already infected and killed hundreds, Fox News reported this week.
Referring to the first attack in the DRC, claimed by ISIS on April 18, Fox News noted:
The attack in Congo coincides with the recent terrorist attack in Sri Lanka as ISIS seem to be on the rise. The highly coordinated Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, which so far claimed the lives of 253 people, was the worst terrorist attack since 9/11.
“What ISIS looks to accomplish through its claim of the attack in the DRC and Sri Lanka is generating the perception of a global insurgency,” Sim Tack, Global Analyst at Stratfor, told Fox News.
The attacks are a testament to the lingering threat posed by ISIS despite the fall of its so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
U.S. military and intelligence officials predicted that ISIS would continue to represent a deadly menace even after it loses its territory.
Backed by the U.S.-led coalition, local fighters continue to fight the remnants of the jihadi organization in the Middle East.
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has acknowledged that ISIS has established branches in nearly every corner of the world.
Using U.S. government and independent assessments, Breitbart News determined that thousands of ISIS supporters remain dispersed across the globe, outside their once primary stronghold that spawned across swathes of Iraq and Syria.
ISIS has capitalized on chaos to entrench itself in several countries, including disease-plagued Yemen.
As if dealing with the deadly Ebola virus is not severe enough, Fox News noted on Wednesday that ISIS is now terrorizing the Congolese public.
According to the United Nations, the latest Ebola outbreak, the tenth in recent years, has likely infected about 1,200 and killed 760 since it began in August 2018.
Early this year, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) noted:
In Central Africa, the most visible nontraditional threat this past year was an Ebola outbreak in an unstable region in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The outbreak, which began in August 2018, is presently the second most lethal in history. Furthermore, the medical response has been hampered by armed conflict in the region.
The AFRICOM report came before ISIS announced its presence in the DRC.
On April 29, days after the terrorist group claimed to have carried out the wave of suicide bombings in Sri Lanka and the attack in the DRC, ISIS’s elusive leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, resurfaced in his first video in five years.
He urged jihadis to carry out more attacks and pledged to continue the crusade against its enemies, particularly those who demolished the so-called caliphate.
Leanne Erdberg, the director of the Countering Violent Extremism Program at the United States Institute of Peace, told Fox News:
Many scholars and pundits have commented on the significance of this, but ultimately if ISIS is promising state-building in the form of a caliphate, it has to project that it is doing that somewhere. And building off the scaffolding of local rebellions is a jumpstart to that promise.
“The possibility of a ‘Central Africa Province’ in post-Caliphate ISIS operations is a worrying thought given the instability and weak state capacity of the Congolese government,” Fox News added.
ISIS has already established branches in eastern, western, and northern Africa.
“Half of the [top ten] countries with the largest increases in terrorism are located in Africa, with rises also occurring in the Central African Republic, Mali, and Kenya,” the latest Global Terrorism Index (GTI) issued by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) late last year revealed.
GTI ranked Congo as the 11th country with the most significant increase in terrorism, a designation that came before ISIS claimed its first attack there last month.
The index identifies the top ten countries that experienced the most substantial increases in terror-linked deaths from 2016 to 2017 as Somalia, Egypt, Central African Republic, Myanmar, Mali, Kenya, Afghanistan, the Philippines, India, and the United Kingdom, respectively.
Congo houses the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which is seeking to overthrow the Ugandan government and establish an Islamic state, Fox News noted.
Citing a report by New York University’s Congo Research Group, the news outlet pointed out that ADF, one of the “hundreds” of rebel groups in the DRC, has been trying to align itself with jihadist groups like ISIS.