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Africa: Terror Groups Target Youth to Join Their Ranks

Almost 10 percent of African youth have been approached by recruiters of various militia as terrorism emerges as one of the biggest concerns for the youth in the continent.

Nearly 30 percent of young people identified “fighting terrorism” and “achieving peace and stability” as the most important issues that require urgent action for the African continent to progress and move forward.

This is according to The African Youth Survey 2020, released by the South African-based Ichikowitz Family Foundation on December 4.

The survey findings come as reports emerge that Islamists in Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique have been recruiting youth in Tanzania. The Islamists were recently blamed for attacks on villages in the south of the country near the border with Mozambique.

Experts say that the radicalisation of Muslim youth on the eastern African Coast, starting in Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and into northern Mozambique, have mutated into insurgency based on sectarianism.

According to the Ichikowitz survey, 71 per cent of the youth surveyed are concerned about terrorism with the highest concerns found in East Africa at 78 percent, followed by West Africa at 76 percent.

Survey participants

The Foundation interviewed a total of 4,200 participants (aged 18-24) from across 14 sub-Saharan African countries — Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The survey report says that in the next five years, concerns of terrorism will be the sixth-biggest issue facing the continent, with corruption and job creation viewed as the most pressing issues that must be addressed to move the continent forward.