U.S. Sanctions Islamic State’s Central African Franchise for First Time
On Wednesday, the US imposed sanctions on two of the Islamic State’s associates, both located in Central Africa. The move marks the first time the US has imposed sanctions on the terrorist organization’s Central African affiliates, highlighting the rising threat posed by the jihadist group outside of the Middle East. The two entities facing sanctions are the Congolese franchise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and its leader Musa Baluku, as well as an affiliate in Mozambique and its commander, Abu Yasir Hassan. The designation will freeze the organization’s and individual’s assets, banning any dealings with them.
The State Department announced the move yesterday, stating that the group poses a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism. The Islamic State has been able to grow again following its defeat in Syria and Iraq, establishing branches outside of the Middle East. The two sanctioned groups operate as ISIS’s Central African franchise and have become some of the most lethal among the group’s affiliates. The groups are currently threatening billions of dollars of US-funded oil and gas projects in East Africa.