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Security Brief: AFRICOM Week of February 28, 2022

Week of Monday, February 28, 2022 | Issue 4

Isaac Clemons, Matthias Conti, Natalie Weidenbach, AFRICOM Team


Cho Ayaba, leader of Ambazonian Defence Force, claiming responsibility for Cameroon convey attack[1]


Date: March 2, 2022

Location: Bekora Village, Ekondo Titi, Cameroon

Parties involved: Southwest Cameroon Governor Berna Okalia Bilai; Cameroon government officials; Cameroon armed forces; Ambazonian Defense Force

The event: On March 2, 2022, Anglophone separatist group, the Ambazonian Defense Force, attacked a convoy escorting the governor of Southwest Cameroon, Berna Okalia Bilai, on a tour in Ekondo Titi. The convoy hit an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which killed seven people, including a government administrator and a mayor.[2] The military announced the deployment of troops to Ekondo Titi after the attack and will conduct operations to identify and kill the separatists responsible for the attack.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Armed groups will very likely increasingly use IEDs as a tactic due to the success of the Ekondo Titi attack. An increase in IED attacks on major roads frequented by government personnel and civilians will very likely cause a disruption of trade routes, likely leading to supply shortages of common goods, including agricultural products. It is very likely that kidnapping for ransom will be employed against political figures.

  • Due to Ekondo Titi’s proximity to the Nigerian border and separatist armed groups frequently crossing into Nigeria, Cameroon armed forces will likely cross the border with Nigeria in their attempt to pursue the Bekora Village attackers. This will very likely create tensions between Cameroon armed forces and local Nigerian citizens, with a roughly even chance of acts of violence, such as armed confrontations. Tensions between the governments of Nigeria and Cameroon will likely heighten, likely leading to disruption of diplomatic ties. An interruption in the cooperation between the two countries is very likely to limit counterterrorism efforts, allowing separatist groups to continue their activities.

  • Increased military presence in the region will very likely require local citizens to collaborate with the armed forces, almost certainly making them targets of retaliation violence by the separatists. Armed assaults on farms, businesses, schools, hospitals, and markets are very likely to occur. These attacks will very likely be aimed at killing civilians and kidnapping workers for ransom from their companies.


Date: March 1, 2022

Location: South Africa

Parties involved: US Department of the Treasury; Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS); Islamic State of Iraq and Syria - Mozambique (ISIS-M)

The event: Four ISIS and ISIS-M financiers and recruiters were sanctioned by the US Department of the Treasury for their involvement with the terrorist organizations. The four individuals are based out of South Africa, which is not significantly connected to the US economy, but have varying countries of origin. The US accused the facilitators of using theft, extortion of local populations, and kidnapping for ransom to raise money and resources for the groups. They are prohibited from doing any business in or with the US.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • It is unlikely that sanctioning the facilitators will have a significant effect on halting terrorism financing in Southern Africa. The distance from the US economy very likely limits the ability of US based economic measures from affecting their finances. The facilitators will very likely move their money to new countries and will almost certainly avoid any involvement with the US or US affiliates.

  • It is likely that any pressure applied by the US will be transferred to the local civilian population because the terrorist groups will likely look locally to find new sources of revenue. Local sources of revenue are almost certainly violent or criminal activity. An increase in these activities is likely to destabilize the region because they are likely to occur more frequently than terrorist attacks.

  • The sanctions are likely to inspire a similar response from the South African government as well as the governments in these facilitators' countries of origin. The response by various nations is very likely to severely restrict the activities of these individuals. They are unlikely to find another location to conduct their financing because their activities have been exposed to the global community. These four facilitators are likely to see decreased effectiveness of their operations and are likely to be less helpful to their respective organizations.

Date: March 3, 2022

Location: Sudan

Parties involved: Deputy Chairman of Sudan Sovereignty, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo; Russian Government Officials; Russian Security Council Secretary, Nikolai Patrushev; Russian President Vladimir Putin

The event: After an eight-day trip to Moscow, Russia, Sudan’s Deputy Chairman of Sudan Sovereignty Dagalo reported discussions on cooperation with Russia on national security and political issues. He met with the Russian Security Council Secretary Patrushev to discuss cooperation in counter-terrorism and establishing a Russian naval base in Port Sudan on the Red Sea. Russian President Putin approved this action in November 2020, and the naval base would have the capability to accommodate ships with nuclear power units. According to an official Russian newspaper, a Russian naval base in the Red Sea would reportedly “support peace and security in the region”.[5]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Russia is likely signaling its intentions to expand its influence in Africa by being a part of these discussions. Russia is likely to establish forces in cooperating countries facing similar terrorist threats to Sudan, likely to support regional security. Expanding the Russian military in Africa will almost certainly increase Russia’s access to natural resources and partners in an alliance network. Improved access is likely to challenge US allies in Africa supplying the US with similar services, which has a roughly even chance of resulting in proxy wars.

  • Other countries with nuclear capabilities, like India or Pakistan, are likely to feel threatened by the presence of Russian nuclear units and there is a roughly even chance they will either retaliate or seek to establish a nuclear alliance with Russia. Retaliation is likely to be in the form of military force. A nuclear alliance in the Indo-Pacific region will very likely challenge nonproliferation agreements and the authority of the UN Security Council.

  • A Russian naval base in Port Sudan on the Red Sea will likely increase Russia’s control of strategic maritime transportation footholds, like the Suez Canal, and will almost certainly affect global trade. Global supply chains with these footholds in their routes are likely to view Russia’s presence as a form of gatekeeping, increasing the likelihood Russian interests will be met to ensure the transport of goods. There is a roughly even chance Russian military actors will control trade routes in the Red Sea, likely impacting supply shortages to countries dependent on the transit of specific goods.

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[1] Cho Ayaba, leader of Ambazonian Defence Force, claiming responsibility for Cameroon convey attack, Twitter, March 2, 2022 https://twitter.com/ChoAyaba/status/1499052901515337732

[2] Cameroon government says seven killed in separatist ambush, Al Jazeera, March 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/cameroon-government-administrator-mayor-killed-attack-sources-2022-03-02/

[3] Cameroon Says Rebel Bomb Kills Officials, Voanews, March 2022, https://www.voanews.com/a/cameroon-says-rebel-bomb-kills-officials/6468320.html

[4] United States sanctions four South African-based ‘Isis financial facilitators’, Daily Maverick, March 2022, https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-03-02-united-states-sanctions-four-south-african-based-isis-financial-facilitators/

[5] Sudan welcomes military base agreement with Russia in the Red Sea, Africa News, March 2022, https://www.africanews.com/2022/03/03/sudan-welcomes-military-base-agreement-with-russia-in-the-red-sea/

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