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ISIL is not dead, it just moved to Africa

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Illegal armed groups are opportunistic by nature. They usually start their operations and recruit followers in countries where there is poverty, corruption, religious conflict or ethnic strife, and where the security forces are unable to keep the public safe and illegal formations under control.

The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) in the Middle East was a textbook example of this trend. Since the occupation of Iraq by US forces in 2003, the region has been stuck in a vicious cycle of conflict, sectarianism and regime change. It is in the shadows of this crumbling landscape that ISIL first began to emerge, nourished by the increasing frailty and incompetency of Arab states in revolt or at war.

Over the last few years, regional and global powers, aided by non-state actors, managed to eliminate ISIL from most of Iraq and Syria. Today, ISIL does not control any major city or township in these states and many of the group's fighters in the region are either dead, in captivity or on the run.

Despite the collapse of its so-called "caliphate" in the Middle East, and the killing of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria, however, ISIL remains a growing and evolving threat in other parts of the world, especially in Africa's restive Sahel region. The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), the prodigy of ISIL there, is going from strength to strength, bolstering its membership and carrying out attacks.

There are several reasons for ISIL's ongoing success in this vast region that runs west to east across the continent from Senegal to Sudan.

Most of the states that have territory in the Sahel are grappling with........

© Al Jazeera