The Biden Administration’s Fight Against Terrorism in the DRC, Mozambique, and Potentially the World

Written by: Associate Editor, Scott Aitken

            The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) announced the launch of another organization called the Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP) in April 2019 to promote the presence of ISIS elements in several different areas of Africa.[1]  While some ISIS-associated medias attempt to portray ISCAP as a cohesive unit, the DRC and Mozambique terrorist groups are in fact distinct, different groups with differing origins.[2]  ISIS-DRC is also known as the Allied Democratic Forces. The group is responsible for many attacks across the North Kivu and Ituri Provinces in eastern DRC.[3]

            This past Wednesday, March 10th,  2021, the Biden administration designated these two alleged affiliates of the Islamic state in the democratic republic of Congo and Mozambique as foreign terrorist organizations.[4]  Furthermore, the State Department named the Allied Democratic Forces in Congo and Ansar al-Sunna in Mozambique as foreign terrorist organizations.[5]  Also, the department called the respective leaders of those organizations, Seka Must Baluku and Abu Yasi Hassan as “Specially Designated Terrorists.” In essence, once these leaders were given such a designation, it froze all of their US property and assets in the groups’ and leader’s names. [6]  Furthermore, the designation prevents the “American public from doing business with them.”[7]  Finally, the State Department warned that “it is a crime to knowingly provide material support or resources” to these terrorist groups, or “attempt to conspire to do so.”[8]

            These steps by the Biden administration are a commendable step in the right direction to help fight global terrorism. By offering these designations, he has helped to curtail the flexibility of distinct terrorist groups. 

            Hopefully, these actions will help reduce the bloodshed that has been caused by Seka Must Baluku. Under his leadership, the ADF is responsible for many attacks in the DRC, with the United Nations stating last month that the group has killed at least 849 people in multiple areas throughout the DRC last year. [9] Additionally, Musa Baluku, along with his organization, has a history of having been sanctioned by the United States.[10]

            Concerning the other group, under Abu Yasi Hassan, ISIS-Mozambique, also known as Ansar al-Sunna has killed more than 1300 civilians since October of 2017, and it is estimated that more than 2300 civilians, security force members, and Ansar al-Sunna Militants have been slain since the terrorist group began its insurgency.[11] Furthermore, the group has been charged as being responsible for orchestrating a series of attacks resulting in the capture of port Mocimboa da Praia, located within the Cabo Delgado province.[12] Their attacks have also displaced nearly 670,000 people within northern Mozambique.[13]

            These two groups are only a small representative size of terrorist groups wreaking havoc all over the world.  With President Biden being willing to impose such designations, hopefully we will begin to see a trend of these financially debilitating designations being used to tactfully derail terrorist organizations across the globe.

References:

State Department Designates as Terrorists ISIS Affiliates and Leaders in Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique, HSToday (Mar. 10, 2021) available at https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/counterterrorism/state-department-designates-as-terrorists-isis-affiliates-and-leaders-in-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-and-mozambique/

Payton Smith, US designates African extremist groups as terrorist organizations linked to Islamic State, Jurist, (Mar. 11, 2021) available at https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/03/us-designates-african-extremist-groups-as-terrorist-organizations-linked-to-islamic-state/

U.S. blacklists ADF, group leader Seka Musa Baluku as ‘global terrorists’, Newz Post (Mar. 11, 2021) available at http://newz.ug/u-s-blacklists-adf-group-leader-seka-musa-baluku-as-global-terrorists/


[1]   U.S. blacklists ADF, group leader Seka Musa Baluku as ‘global terrorists’, Newz Post (Mar. 11, 2021) available at http://newz.ug/u-s-blacklists-adf-group-leader-seka-musa-baluku-as-global-terrorists/

[2]   Id.

[3]   Id.

[4]   Payton Smith, US designates African extremist groups as terrorist organizations linked to Islamic State, Jurist, (Mar. 11, 2021) available at https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/03/us-designates-african-extremist-groups-as-terrorist-organizations-linked-to-islamic-state/

[5]   Id.

[6]   Id.

[7]   Id.

[8]   Id.

[9]   State Department Designates as Terrorists ISIS Affiliates and Leaders in Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique, HSToday (Mar. 10, 2021) available at https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/counterterrorism/state-department-designates-as-terrorists-isis-affiliates-and-leaders-in-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-and-mozambique/

[10]   Id.

[11]   Id.

[12]   Id.

[13]  Id.

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