AFRICA is set to become the new frontline in the war against ISIS, experts have warned in the wake of the Mozambique bloodbath.
An attack on foreign contractors attempting to flee after coming under attack has left at least 50 people dead with Brit Phil Mawer among those missing.
Gunmen opened fire on 17 vehicles carrying workers building a complex for French oil giant Total trying to flee a hotel and break through their lines
SAS troops have deployed to Mozambique to hunt for Mr Mawer, who is in his 50s and from Somerset, and they have reportedly been handed a body for identification.
The attack is the latest in a series of atrocities carried out by ISIS fanatics in the African country, which has prompted the US to send its special forces there.
Elsewhere, British soldiers are in west Africa, where ISIS is attempting to set up a new caliphate while 5,000 French soldiers are involved in ferocious firefights against jihadists.
At least 13 countries in the continent have experienced ISIS attacks in recent times.
French expert on jihad Olivier Guitta, from Global Risk Consultancy warned “Africa is going to be the battleground of jihad for the next 20 years and it’s going to replace the Middle East.”
Thousands troops countries are also engaged in the struggle to beat back the jhadists.
At the end of last year, the Pentagon warned ISIS is taking over swathes of Africa like it did in Syria and Iraq with “staggeringly brutal” tactics.
ISIS-linked jihadis have been beheading their prisoners and taking women as sex slaves in Mozambique’s forest.
Experts fear attacks, like the one in Mozambique, stem from local grievances from groups who then latch on to Islamic State and attract fighters.
One security analyst told the Mirror: “The problem is that once Islamic State was defeated in the Middle East and came to a halt in Libya its fighters had to migrate.
“Many of them moved into Chad and Niger and gravitated across to Mali, exploiting ungoverned space and an insecure government in Mali to form bases.
“Couple that with poverty, disaffected youth, civil wars and general dissatisfaction and you have an an ideal recruiting tool to attract very angry jihadists.
“It almost doesn’t matter if they are Islamic State – there has been fluid movements between ISIS and al-Qaeda and all the other networks and jihad sub-franchisees.”
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A recent study by global risk researchers at Verisk Maplecroft discovered seven out of ten of the world’s most dangerous countries are now in Africa.
Their report warns: “Violence in Africa’s terrorist hotspots is getting worse and the risk of attacks is rising in many countries across the region, including some previously considered safe.
“The quarterly ranking of the 198 countries show sub-Saharan Africa is now home to seven of the world’s riskiest locations, making it the worst performing region globally.”