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The Guardian: ISIS is expanding in Africa after a series of victories and new alliances

The British Guardian newspaper said that ISIS-affiliated groups in Africa are preparing for a major expansion after a series of important victories, new alliances and shifts in strategy that have consolidated their position in most parts of the continent.

 After recent gains in Nigeria, the Sahel, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, ISIS propaganda published by the group's leadership in the Middle East confirms that sub-Saharan Africa is a new front that may compensate the group for major setbacks elsewhere.

Detailed accounts of recent discussions in Nigeria, where ISIS's Islamic State of West Africa recently defeated Boko Haram, point to ISIS' new focus in Africa on providing security and basic services to local communities.

 Although strategies differ according to local conditions, the group's new attempt to create jihadist governance areas could pose a major challenge to weak, corrupt and ineffective national authorities, analysts fear.

 For an organization like ISIS, the African Sahara region is where the biggest impact can be made with the fewest resources, said Vincent Fucher, an expert on Islamist extremism in Nigeria with the International Crisis Group. It is one of the few areas in the world where ISIS actually controls a territory extending for several thousand kilometers, and it is their front.

 The Islamic State's West Africa Province stormed Sambisa, a patch of dense forest of strategic importance in northeastern Nigeria last month, killing Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, inheriting many of his followers as well as his treasuries and weapons.

 Since then, the group has sought to integrate and persuade former Boko Haram leaders after seeing any Muslims living outside the areas they control as an enemy and apostate, Shekau believed. The movement's leader, Abu Musab al-Barnawi, argued that passports and other government identification documents should now be allowed.