The Institute for Security Studies has revealed that the Boko Haram terrorists’ breakaway group, the Islamic State of West Africa, are skillfully exploiting digital platforms, particularly, WhatsApp and Telegram, to organise and carry out their criminal activities in the West African region.
The physical and online worlds fuse, many groups, especially Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, are embedding the internet deeper into their operations in the West African region.
“Groups such as the Boko Haram breakaway faction, Islamic State West Africa Province, appear to rely on messaging services like WhatsApp and Telegram to communicate internally and externally because they prefer these apps’ encrypted nature. ‘Telegram is becoming the new frontline for terrorist groups in Africa,’ warns Mr Bukarti. ‘On last count, ISWAP had over 50 Facebook and Telegram accounts.’ Furthermore, ‘there’s no scrutiny; nobody seems to care in Africa.
“While larger platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp have the resources to offer a degree of content moderation, many smaller operators don’t. These are the ones terrorist groups prefer’.