The threat posed by Islamic State extremists remains high and has increased in and around conflict zones, and the group’s expansion is “particularly worrying” in Africa’s center, south and Sahel regions, the U.N. counter-terrorism chief said Thursday.
Undersecretary-General Vladimir Voronkov told the U.N. Security Council that the group, also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh, continues to use the Internet, social media, video games and gaming platforms “to extend the reach of its propaganda to radicalize and recruit new supporters.”
“Daesh’s use of new and emerging technologies also remains a key concern,” he said, pointing to its continuing use of drones for surveillance and reconnaissance as well as “virtual assets” to raise money.
Voronkov said the high level of threat posed by the Islamic State and its affiliates, including their sustained expansion in parts of Africa, underscores the need for multifaceted approaches to respond – not just focused on security but on preventive measures including preventing conflicts.
The Islamic State declared a self-styled caliphate in a large swath of territory in Syria and Iraq that it seized in 2014. The extremist group was formally declared defeated in Iraq in 2017 following a three-year bloody battle that left tens of thousands dead and cities in ruins, but its sleeper cells remain in both countries.