The Islamic State is recruiting from three African countries, offering prospective soldiers up to a $1,000 signing bonus to swell its army in Libya, according to Libyan intelligence.
The Islamic State’s chapter in former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte is recruiting from Chad, Sudan and Mali, countries where typical wages can be as little as a dollar a day and where the sums offered by ISIS are very enticing.
Similar mercenaries from impoverished African countries were used by Gaddafi for his armies.
ISIS has controlled Sirte for a year and is believed to have raised an army of 2,000 to 3,000 fighters. Of these, 70 percent are believed to be 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," the head of military intelligence in Misrata, Colonel Ismail Shukri, told The Telegraph.
"Sadly, we have big open borders and long open areas, and through the routes for illegal immigration, we now have all this ideology coming through. That is one of the reasons why Isil has come to Libya."
The Islamic State is also recruiting from the growing unemployed population in Tunisia, the International Business Times reported in January
For more information about the Islamic State see Clarion Project's Special Report: The Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL)