The Islamic State is enticing new recruits to enlist as foot soldiers from Africa's most impoverished countries, say Libyan intelligence chiefs. Isis (Daesh) is offering tempting cash sums to people in Chad, Mali and Sudan, where a few hundred dollars is comparable to a year's pay.
IS's self-styled caliphate in Colonel Gaddafi's home town of Sirte now has a burgeoning number of black African fighters alongside the Syrians and Iraqis who make up the body of its leadership.
Colonel Muncif al Walda, a senior police officer in the nearby city of Misrata, told The Telegraph: "Illegal immigration is a menace because it brings and encourages foreign fighters to come and fight with Isil [IS].
"Most of the migrants want to go to Europe, but some want to link up with Isil [IS]. Unfortunately, here in Libya we are right in the middle of the migration rat run."
America and the UK have offered Tripoli a package that would involve up to 1,000 British troops and 5,000 Italian troops in a training role to tackle the continuing threat of IS.
Colonel Ismail Shukri, the head of military intelligence in Misrata, said that around 70 % of IS's army in Sirte was made up of fighters from beyond Libya's borders. "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.
""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."
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. On Libyan social media, images of other black Africans killed in action fighting for Isil in Sirte have also appeared.
But there are also reports of new fighters deserting IS, including four Indian recruits believed to be among 20 IS terrorists beheaded in Iraq's north-western province after they tried to escape.
A senior official said unconfirmed information was received from various sources, including a friendly agency, about the public beheading of four Indian recruits in Iraq's Mosul city, on charges of desertion. According to the New Indian Express, the deserters were decapitated in a public execution.