President Donald Trump has ordered the U.S. military to step up in its fight against Islamic terror groups in Africa after various Al Qaeda offshoot groups have increased their militant actions in the massive continent, according to multiple reports.
Al-Shabab , which has primarily operated in Somalia and Kenya, has unleashed a relentless assault on cities in those countries that U.S. drone attacks have failed to prevent, the Associated Press reported. Somalia was named in Trump’s executive order on immigration that banned travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Adding a metaphorical insult to injury, three Islamic militant groups based in Mali have reportedly pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda this week, bolstering Al Qaeda’s growing grip on Africa.
While the U.S. government had not immediately addressed the reports of the Al Qaeda merger of sorts, experts in global conflict told the Associated Press that steps were already being taken to quell Al-Shabab’s activities in the East African nation of Somalia.
“The concern in Washington has been mounting for some time now,” Rashid Abdi, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, told the Associated Press. “The Trump administration is simply reiterating what has been policy, with slight variations. U.S. special forces are already on the ground. Drone attacks have been scaled up.”
The three groups in Mali that have reportedly joined forces with Al Qaeda were Ansar Dine, al-Mourabitoun and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
Together, they released a video Thursday announcing their new collective name would be “Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen,” or “Support of Islam and Muslims.”
Al Qaeda leaders have been mocking Trump since the beginning of last month, when the U.S. military raided a compound in Yemen occupied by the militant group. The raid led to the first military death of Trump’s presidency, prompting Al Qaeda leaders to label the president as a “fool.”
“The new fool of the White House received a painful slap across his face,” al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Qassim al-Rim i said in a video about the military operation on Jan. 29.
Despite the news of Al-Shabab’s growing strength, nearly 60 of the group’s militants were killed by Kenyan military forces in Somalia on Wednesday, Reuters reported Friday.
“In the onslaught, 57 al-Shabaab militants were killed and unknown number injured,” Owuoth said, adding that five gun-mounted pickup trucks known as “technical” were destroyed.