JOHANNESBURG — The Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate has fallen, its fighters have dispersed and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been killed.
But two years after it suffered stinging defeats in Syria and Iraq, the terrorist group has found a new lifeline in Africa, where analysts say it has forged alliances with local militant groups in symbiotic relationships that have pumped up their profiles, fund-raising and recruitment.
Many of those homegrown insurgencies are only loosely connected to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Still, over the past year, as violence from Islamist extremists on the African continent reached a record high, the Islamic State has trumpeted these battlefield wins to project an image of strength and inspire its supporters worldwide.
Most recently, the Islamic State claimed credit last week for a days-long rampage in war-afflicted northern Mozambique, where militants with distant ties to the terrorist organization attacked a key port town. The attack left dozens of people dead, including at least one South African and one British citizen, and set off talk on the Islamic State’s online forums of the establishment of a new caliphate there, according to researchers.
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