A growing number of Tunisians who’ve joined the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group, including 4,000 believed fighting in Libya and another 3,000 fighting with the group in Syria and Iraq, pose a threat to their home country and as many as 15 nations in sub-Saharan and North Africa, according to security experts and United Nations officials.
Among the countries at risk are Chad, Niger and Mauritania, where poverty is exacerbated by problems ranging from drought to poor governance, the experts say. Until recently, there had been little appreciation for the sheer numbers of Tunisians who’ve joined ISIL, Islam Times reported.
A 2014 report by the US State Department’s bureau on counterterrorism flagged the growing security threat that Tunisian Takfiri militants represent and suggested they were more numerous than might be expected, but it offered no specifics.
The surge in Takfiri numbers in North Africa also poses a serious security threat to Europe, the experts said, because North Africans easily can hide among large immigrant communities living in France, Belgium, Germany and other countries. Tunisia is a former French colony.