U.S. general: ‘wildfire of terrorism’ on march in Africa

A senior U.S. general warned Friday that the “wildfire of terrorism” is sweeping across a band of Africa and needs the world’s attention. He spoke at the close of large-scale U.S.-led war games with American, African and European troops.

The African Lion war games, which lasted nearly two weeks, stretched across Morocco, a key U.S, ally, with smaller parts held in Tunisia and Senegal. The annual drills were skipped last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, head of the U.S. Africa Command, praised the work accomplished in joint operations, and painted a dark picture of threats besetting parts of Africa.

“I am concerned about the security situation across a band of Africa,” from the Sahel region in the west to the Horn of Africa, Townsend told reporters. He noted deadly attacks by al-Qaida- and Islamic State-linked jihadis and al-Shabab. “All of them are on the march,” he said.

African neighbors are helping governments deal with the threat, but, he added, “all of that does not seem to be sufficient enough to stop what I call … (the) wildfire of terrorism that’s sweeping that region.”