SOCAFRICA Gets New Leader – Will ISIS Have Resurgence?

 In Military

MajGen Marcus Hicks relinquished command of SOCAFRICA (Special Operations Command Africa) on Friday, June 28, to Brig. Gen. Dag Anderson. (Stripes) It’s a command that sometimes has difficulty convincing people of the security risk without them. But according to some analysts, Africa is ripe for an ISIS resurgence.

Hicks presided over a tumultuous time for the command. He had only been on the job for 90 days, and was in the middle of an assessment on the performance of American special forces on the continent when the infamous Niger ambush took place. That incident took the lives of 4 American soldiers, and “no one saw it coming,” he said.

He was reprimanded for the incident, but Gen Thomas Waldhausen, AFRICOM commander, stated that Hicks has been effective in many areas of his tenure.

Outgoing SOCAFRICA commander Hicks spoke during the change of command ceremony, saying that he is not recommending further cuts from the around 1,200 troops in nine countries currently assigned there. He stated that there are still a “range of threats” and commented that the Sahel region was a “rapidly deteriorating security environment.”

SOCAFRICA challenge

The Guardian reported:

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for two attacks by militants in sub-Saharan Africa in less than 24 hours, suggesting the continent is central to the terrorist group’s strategy of expanding a global network of extremists after the loss of its territories in Iraq and Syria.

On Tuesday Isis said it was involved in an attack in Mozambique, where an intensifying insurgency has pitted a little-understood network of militants against local security forces in the northern Cabo Delgado province. It was the first such claim of an Isis link to the former Portuguese colony.

“The soldiers of the caliphate were able to repulse an attack by the crusader Mozambican army … They clashed with them with a variety of weapons, killing and wounding a number of them. The mujahideen captured weapons, ammunition, and rockets as spoils,” a statement said, according to SITE Intelligence, a company that monitors extremist activity.

Earlier in the day, Isis also claimed responsibility for a deadly overnight attack in the (DRC).

The two claims come amid what experts say is a new effort by Isis to become a “platform” for Islamic extremist groups worldwide.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Isis, has mentioned new oaths of allegiance from extremists in Mali and Burkina Faso in the Sahel region, and displayed a report on the group’s “Central Africa province”, which was first mentioned in 2018.

As for the new guy, Brig. Gen. Dag Anderson was formerly the Deputy Director for Operations, Headquarters, U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii.

Featured photo: US Air Force official portraits. L- MajGen Marcus Hicks, R -BrigGen Dag Anderson

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