Radicalisation, violent extremism, and de-radicalisation in Africa

Authored by: Freedom C. Onuoha , Chikodiri Nwangwu

The Routledge Handbook of Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency in Africa

Print publication date:  January  2021
Online publication date:  January  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138575394
eBook ISBN: 9781351271929
Adobe ISBN:


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In a meeting of the Pan-African Parliament in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 11 May 2017, Ambassador Mull Katende, chairman of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union, informed legislators that, ‘‘the threat of terrorism, violent extremism, and radicalisation continues to grow in certain parts of our continent” (cited in Isilow, 2017). His assertion reflects the growing concern of local communities, African states, regional bodies, and international organisations over the upsurge in radicalisation towards violent extremism and terrorism in different parts of Africa. Over the last decade, the continent has witnessed an exponential increase in the number of fatalities arising out of attacks by extremists. Africa is fast becoming a haven for Islamic extremists, fundamentalist ideologues, violent terrorists, and armed insurgents with dire consequences both for Africa and the world. A recent study has shown that violent extremism in Africa has killed more than 33,000 people between 2011 and early 2016, and caused widespread displacement, creating or aggravating humanitarian crises affecting millions of people and undermining economic prospects across the continent (UNDP, 2017). Consequently, some African states are not only concerned with how to prevent or counter radicalisation and violent extremism but also are making efforts at de-radicalisation as a means of salvaging radicalised individuals or groups.

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