Terrorist attack in Chad

December 5th – Four female suicide bombers attacked the Chadian island of Koulfoua on lake Chad. Fifteen people are dead and more than 130 are injured. Responsibility for the terrorist  attack was claimed by members of  an Islamic extremist group, “Boko Haram”.

Radical Islamic group “Boko Haram” in Africa

One of the most well-known Islamic extremist group is based in northeastern Nigeria. Its activity has spread north to other parts of Africa and is quite strong in Chad, Niger but also in Cameroon to the east and south. Originally the group linked itself to Al-Qaeda, but since March of 2015, it has considered itself as a part of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ( ISIL). The name of the group “Boko Haram” can be literally translated as “Western education is forbidden” or  "Western influence is a sin". Boko Haram believes that Nigeria is becoming a western state – with its Christian south.  They want instead to establish an independent Islamic State in Nigeria.

The group is responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in Africa (the Baga Massacre in 2013 – more than 200 civilians were killed, 2014 – kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok, attacks in Cameron).

The geopolitical meaning of terrorist attacks: zones of Islamic influence

The African continent has two parts, differentiated by social and cultural identities. The north of Africa is Arabic and almost fully Islamic. But there is another large zone of trans-Saharian Africa, that is peopled by black-African, and non-Arabic  and non Semitic populations of Hamitic origins, where Islam has deep roots. This zone of black Islam represents a very interesting cultural phenomenon. There are black-African countries with a Christian or pagan identity – but these large zone of middle Africa – Sahel – are considered by Islamic strategists and Al-Qaeda or ISIS theorists as their natural zone of control. This explains the cause of the terrorist attacks in Chad. The attack was not meant as a message to non-Islamic states, but rather this is symbolic of the struggle as well as, in the case of the Nigerian Boko Haram, of a re-affirmation of radical Islam in the societies that are prepared in some way for this Islamists expansion. It is more of a call to action, and a mobilizing beacon, than anything else.