U.S. officials have said that al-Qaeda affiliates and other militant organizations are expanding their presence in Africa. Some of the key groups:
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
Originally based in Algeria, the group has shifted south and found a home in northern Mali. Kidnaps Westerners for ransom.
Nigerian insurgents seeking to impose Islamic law are forging links with other al-Qaeda groups, U.S. officials say.
Lord’s Resistance Army
Ugandan guerrillas have destabilized central Africa for two decades with mass rapes and enslavement of child soldiers.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
The Yemen-based group has emerged as a primary terrorist threat to the United States, intelligence officials say.
The militant Islamist group controls much of southern Somalia and declared a merger with al-Qaeda in February.