- UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph reports on Islamic State's efforts to recruit sub-Saharan Africans.
- The terror group is offering $1000 to impoverished Africans to entice them to jihadism in Libya.
- Libyan officials say there is very little they can do to stem the tide of Islamist fighters.
The Islamic State is building an "army of the poor" in its new haven in Libya by recruiting foot soldiers from Africa's poorest communities, The Daily Telegraph has reported.
The terror group’s Libyan chapter is swelling its ranks by offering cash bounties of up to $1,000 to people from neighbouring countries such as Chad, Mali, Nigeria and Sudan.
Libyan officials admit that they are almost powerless to stop the incomers, many of whom reach Libya using existing people-smuggling routes used by African migrants heading to Europe.
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Islamic State is copying a strategy first used by Libya's late dictator, Colonel Gaddafi, who recruited thousands of mercenaries from black Africa to serve in his armies.
In much the same way, the Islamic State's new "Caliphate" in Colonel Gaddafi's home city of Sirte now has a growing number of black African fighters.
Colonel Muncif al Walda, a senior police officer in the nearby city of Misrata, said: "Illegal immigration is a menace because it brings and encourages foreign fighters to come and fight with Isil.
"Most of the migrants want to go to Europe, but some want to link up with Islamic State. Unfortunately, here in Libya we are right in the middle of the migration rat run."
Since first establishing a foothold in Sirte a year ago, Islamic State is believed to have built up an army of between 2,000 and 3,000 fighters, turning the port city into a Libyan version of the group's Syrian stronghold of Raqqah.
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Colonel Ismail Shukri, the head of military intelligence in Misrata, said around 70% of the Islamic State army in Sirte was made up of non-Libyans.
"The majority - I cannot tell you exactly how many - are Tunisians, while the rest are made up mostly of Sudanese, Egyptians and then people from the Sub-Saharan countries stretching from Chad and Nigeria, along with a few from Algeria and the Gulf," he said.
Jamal Zubia, head of the foreign media directorate in Libya's General National Congress, added: "We hear that Isil is offering people up to $1,000 to come and fight for them. That is a lot of money in many parts of Africa."
Locals in Sirte say that sub-Saharan Africans are now a common sight among Isil's volunteers.
In April last year, a man described as Sudanese drove an explosive-laden vehicle into a checkpoint between Sirte and Misrata, killing at least six people.
Pictures of other black Africans killed in action fighting for Islamic State in Sirte have also appeared on Libyan social media.
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Others appear to play a prominent role as Isil cheerleaders.
In one recent Isil video showing a homeopathist publicly beheaded for "witchcraft" in Sirte, a black African is prominent among a crowd of onlookers who clap and sing praises.
"This is what we want, this is the just law that has been missing all along," the jihadist said.
Details at The Daily Telegraph