UN Team Worried About Al-Qaedas Troubling Collaboration With African Terror Groups

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Tolerant approach of the al-Qaeda terrorist group (banned in Russia) to local terrorist groups in Sahel and West Africa is leading to troubling cases of collaboration that destabilize countries, the coordinator of the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team concerning ISIL (banned in Russia), Al-Qaida and Taliban, Edmund Fitton-Brown, told Sputnik in an interview

GENOA (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 08th November, 2019) Tolerant approach of the al-Qaeda terrorist group (banned in Russia) to local terrorist groups in Sahel and West Africa is leading to troubling cases of collaboration that destabilize countries, the coordinator of the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team concerning ISIL (banned in Russia), Al-Qaida and Taliban, Edmund Fitton-Brown, told Sputnik in an interview.

"I think what's happening interestingly is that because of the al-Qaeda's more tolerant approach to the local dynamics wherever they are found, I think that has given sort of the flexibility and resilience, which in Mali, in the Sahel and in West Africa has actually very troubling incidents, it's very worrying that the groups are not fighting each other, they are working together to destabilize the local jurisdictions," Fitton-Brown said.

He said al-Qaeda is different from IS (ISIL) in that it gave a lot of authority to their affiliates to do things in their own way and managed to keep their leadership largely alive, despite having suffered from counterterrorist operations.

"It's not a very controlling leadership, central leadership from al-Qaeda," Fitton-Brown said, asked about his estimation of the threat coming from al-Qaeda.

"Perhaps the most interesting place where this is manifested is in West Africa, where there is the coalition called Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin' (JNIM) [Group to Support islam and Muslims]. JNIM is associated with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM, terrorist organization banned in Russia], it's sort of an al-Qaeda affiliate effectively, but it was formed by joining up with a number of other regional groups in the Sahel," Fitton-Brown said.

He explained that JNIM had been occasionally cooperating with IS in the greater Sahara area, in Mali and in Niger, and they were also working together with a local terrorist group in Burkina Faso.

Remarkably, such cooperation is not taking place in Yemen where al-Qaeda is much stronger than IS and is "getting the better of it." The in-fighting has allowed them to consume their energy, stopping the two rivals from projecting their threat outside of Yemen.

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