By BBC World Service International Publicity
Published May 17, 2013
The BBC is from May 27, 2013 expected to air a week-long special series to examine the threat posed by Islamist militancy in Africa. The highlight of the series will be the monthly BBC Africa Debate on May 31, 2013 at 19.00 GMT with a repeat on June 2, 2013 at 13.00 GMT.
The debate, prepared and presented from Dakar, Senegal, by Audrey Brown and Karen Allen, will ask how big a threat is posed by the rise in Islamist militancy across the continent. For instance, do conflicts in northern Mali and Somalia, hostage-taking in Algeria, and frequent bombing in northern Nigeria present a major threat to stability and security across the continent? Is it fair to talk of a new “arc of instability” spreading across the region? Does this pose any threat to the rest of the world? The debate will also be online at bbcafrica.com.
Brown and Allen are expected to speak with an expert panel drawn from regional security experts, Senegalese government and ECOWAS representatives, Senegal-based American and French diplomats, Islamic and Christian clerics, and various African communitiesand audience.
This debate shall be recorded on May 30, 2013 at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. It will be broadcast by BBC World Service at 19.00 GMT on Friday 31 May. The programme will be repeated on Sunday 2 June at 13.00 GMT.
Over the rest of the week, BBC’s flagship radio programme for Africa, BBC Focus on Africa, will air special reports from Mali, Nigeria, Algeria, Somalia and Kenya. The theme will also be discussed on the BBC’s global breakfast radio show, Newsday, as well as the BBC Hausa, BBC Somali and BBC Swahili services’ output. It is expected to feature prominently on social media, including interactive Q&A sessions hosted on the BBC Africa Facebook page and using #bbcafricadebate on Twitter.
Producer of BBC Africa Debate, Charlotte Attwood, sets the context: “Radical Islamist groups have been stepping up attacks across Africa, and some see growing evidence of armed groups in the Sahel, east Africa and Nigeria working together towards international aims. In Dakar, the BBC will ask if Africa is really becoming a training ground for Islamist militants and if these groups are setting their sights on international targets – or whether the threat is exaggerated; either by the West to legitimise intervention or by the groups themselves to raise their stature, or even by African governments to attract funds and legitimise oppression.”