By Concise News Correspondents
The United Nations believes that terror group Boko Haram is currently plagued by financial difficulties but warned against undermining its capacity to launch fatal attacks.
This was made known by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman.
Feltman stated this while briefing the Security Council on the UN Secretary-General’s Fourth Report on the threat the group poses to international peace and security efforts to “check and roll it back” on Tuesday
“ISIL-affiliate Boko Haram is attempting to spread its influence and commit terrorist acts beyond Nigeria.
“And Boko Haram remains a serious threat, with several thousand fighters at its disposal.
“It is, however, plagued by financial difficulties and an internal power struggle, and has split in two factions,” Feltman said.
While the previous reports on the subject had focused on South East Asia, Yemen and East Africa, Libya and Afghanistan, the fourth report focused on Europe, North Africa and West Africa.
It noted that ISIL had conducted a range of attacks in Europe since declaring in 2014 its intent to target the region.
Some of these attacks were directed and facilitated by ISIL personnel, while others were enabled by ISIL providing guidance or assistance or were inspired through its propaganda, it said.
The report stated that while the military offensive in Libya had dislodged ISIL from its stronghold Sirte, the group’s threat to Libya and neighbouring countries persists.
“Its fighters, estimated to range from several hundred to 3,000, have moved to other parts of the country.
“ISIL has increased its presence in West Africa and the Maghreb, though the group does not control significant amounts of territory in the region.
“The reported pledge of loyalty to ISIL by a splinter faction of Al-Mourabitoun led by Lehbib Ould Ali may elevate the level of the threat.”
Following the increased military pressure, Feltman said ISIL is now on the defensive militarily in several regions, but was also adapting to military pressure by resorting to covert communications such as the ‘dark web’.
“Although its income and the territory under its control are shrinking, ISIL still appears to have sufficient funds to continue fighting,” he warned.
Feltman noted that ISIL relies mainly on income from extortion and hydrocarbon exploitation, even though resources from the latter are on the decline.
According to him, UN Member States are concerned that ISIL will try to expand other sources of income, such as kidnapping for ransom, and increase its reliance on donations.