The director of the Department of National Security, General Miguel Ángel Ballesteros, has expressed his concern about the expansion of jihadism in countries in African regions, such as the Sahel and the Maghreb, and has warned: “We cannot lower our guard because we have Daesh closer”.
Miguel Ángel Ballesteros made these demonstrations this Thursday at the presentation ceremony of the jihadist terrorism yearbook of the International Observatory for Studies on Terrorism (OIET).
He explained that “the diaspora” that the Islamic State has suffered from Syria to Iraq has brought Daesh closer to Spain and has considered that it will try to reproduce in the Sahel and the Maghreb the model it imposed when it became a “pseudo-state” that had “Under his boot almost eight million people and that he was capable of mobilizing young people”.
General Ballesteros added that the situation in this area of Africa has been complicated by the withdrawal of troops from Mali by France, which considers that the governments of the area do not provide guarantees of stability. He has also indicated that the presence of “Russian contractors” in the region complicates the stability of the area, although he has clarified that these are linked to security companies and not to military forces and that this problem has no connection with the war in Ukraine.
In the opinion of Miguel Ángel Ballesteros, the arrests carried out by the State Security Forces have made it possible that no attacks have been committed in Spain since the 2017 attacks on Las Ramblas in Barcelona and in Cambrils (Tarragona) but he has insisted that the expansion of jihadism throughout the Sahel and the Maghreb means that it continues to be a threat.
For his part, the deputy director general of International Cooperation against Terrorism of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Ruiz, has expressed his concern that the war in Ukraine will cause a call effect for terrorists to join the conflict as training to later commit attacks. . He has warned that terrorists can take advantage of the proliferation and lack of control of weapons that the conflict brings.
Carlos Ruiz pointed out that due to the expansion of jihadism in Africa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been negotiating with the United Nations for more than a year to open a UN office in Madrid that will serve as the nerve center of the fight against terrorism in Europe with the aim of trying to prevent its advance in the Sahel. He added that an international UN conference on human rights, civil society and the fight against terrorism will be held in Malaga between May 10 and 11, in which the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, is expected to participate.
The OIET yearbook reflects that in 2021 the Security Forces made 39 arrests in Spain, all of them men, in 25 operations against jihadism, especially in coastal areas, although the main focuses continue to be the communities of Madrid and Catalonia.
Seven of the operations were related to the activity carried out by detainees in radicalization processes or indoctrination work inside the prisons. Of those detained in 2021 in Spain, a majority profile emerges of a male Moroccan citizen (42 percent), single (56 percent), between 18 and 24 years old (29 percent), unemployed (62 percent), with a criminal record. for common crimes (42 percent) with an ideological affiliation to Daesh (71 percent) and who is accused of praising terrorism (32 percent).
In the world, a total of 9,603 people died in 2,193 attacks, figures similar to those of 2020 when 9,748 deaths were recorded in 2,350 jihadist actions. The majority of jihadist attacks, 599, took place in Afghanistan, followed by 319 in Burkina Faso, 281 in Mali, 173 in Nigeria, 134 in Iraq, 129 in Cameroon, 115 in Niger, 94 in Syria, 61 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 59 in Somalia, 47 in Mozambique, 40 in Pakistan, 26 in Egypt, 23 in Thailand, 20 in India, 15 in the Philippines, 11 in Kenya, 6 in Chad and Ivory Coast.
In addition, 5 in Yemen, 4 in Libya and Uganda, 3 in Benin, 2 in Tunisia, Indonesia, Algeria, Tanzania, Sudan and France, and one each in Maldives, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Togo.