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U.S. to Sanction Islamic State’s Central African Franchise

The U.S. is set to impose sanctions on two of ISIS’s fast-growing affiliates in Central Africa for the first time, according to people familiar with the matter and an advance U.S. notice, underscoring the rising threat posed by the group outside the Middle East.

On Thursday, the State Department will sanction the Congolese franchise of Islamic State in Syria and the Levant and its leader, Musa Baluku, along with an affiliate in nearby Mozambique, according to a notice posted on a U.S. federal register. People familiar with the matter said the terrorism-related restrictions would target the group’s ability to move personnel around and its international funding.

The move underscores how the radical Islamic State has been able to grow again after its defeat in Syria and Iraq and regroup outside the Middle East, including in sub-Saharan Africa. The two groups, which operate as ISIS’s Central African franchise, have become some of the most lethal among the group’s global affiliates and are threatening billions of dollars of U.S.-funded oil and gas projects in East Africa.

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Central African ISIS Islamic State Middle Musa Baluku

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