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    Sub-Saharan Africa Is ‘New Epicenter’ of Extremism, UN Says

    Sub-Saharan Africa Is ‘New Epicenter’ of Extremism, UN Says

    NAIROBI, — The new global epicenter of violent Islamic extremism is sub-Saharan where people are increasingly joining because of economic factors and less for religious ones, says a new report by the U.N.'s international development agency.

    A significant increase of 92% of new recruits to extremist groups are joining for better livelihoods compared to the motivations of those interviewed in a previous report released in 2017, according to the UNDP report released on Tuesday.

    Many Africans' lives have been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, high inflation, and climate change, said the report.

    There has been a 57% decrease in the number of people joining extremist groups for religious reasons, it said.

    Nearly 2,200 people were interviewed for the report in eight African countries: Burkina Faso, , Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, and . More than 1,000 interviewees are former members of violent extremist groups, both voluntary and forced recruits, said the report.

    At least 4,155 attacks across Africa were documented since in 2017, said the report. In these attacks, 18,417 deaths were recorded in the continent with Somalia accounting for the largest number of fatalities.

    The Somali government is currently carrying out what has been described as the most significant offensive against the al-Shabab extremist group in more than a decade.

    Those interviewed were drawn from various extremist…

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