Rabat – Now that Iraq has taken full control of the Iraqi-Syrian border, nearly 6,000 African ISIS fighters are expected to return to the continent, the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, warned on Sunday.
The commissioner said that African countries must “firmly” cooperate with each other to supervise the return of the terrorists, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.
“There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group in the Middle East,” Chergui told a meeting in Algiers, according to the Algerian news agency.
“The return of these elements to Africa poses a serious threat to our national security and stability and requires specific treatment and intense cooperation between African countries,” he indicated.
ISIS infiltrated Syria and Iraq during the Syrian Civil War in 2011. Over the next few years, it took advantage of the growing instability in Iraq and Syria to carry out attacks and uphold its dominance in the region.
ISIS’ rise and the international fight against it has led to the displacement of more than 3.2 million people from their homes, and an estimated 25,000 foreign fighters from more than 100 countries travelling to Syria, according to the United Nations.
On Saturday, Iraqi military revealed that has “fully liberated” Iraq’s territory of “ISIS terrorist gangs.”
“Our heroic armed forces have now secured the entire length of the Iraq-Syria border,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on his Twitter account.
However, this does not ISIS no longer poses a threat. “Despite the announcement of the final victory, we must remain vigilant and ready to face any terrorist attempt targeting our people and our country,” Al-Abadi warned.
“Terrorism is a permanent enemy and the battle with it continues, and we must preserve this unity, which with it we have defeated ISIS.”