Créée en février 2017, la Force conjointe du G5 Sahel est une force de nouvelle génération dans un espace sahélien où se bousculent des initiatives militaires et diplomatiques parfois concurrentes. Il ne suffira pas de fournir des armes et de l’argent pour résoudre les crises sahéliennes. Pour atteindre ses objectifs, la force doit gagner la confiance des populations et des puissances régionales et obtenir leur soutien.
Boko Haram (BH) attacks on security forces and counteroffensives intensified near Lake Chad in west, as fighting between army and Libya-based rebels resumed in north. BH mortar attack on military camp at Litri, near Nigerian border night of 4-5 Oct reportedly killed one soldier. BH fighters 9 Oct attacked army positions in Kaiga-Kindjiria, Lake Chad region, killing eight soldiers; in retaliatory offensive military claimed to have killed 48 militants. Following 17 Oct visit to Kaiga-Kindjiria, President Déby ordered command centre for counter-BH operations to move there and troops to rotate. Clashes between army and Libya-based Chadian rebel group Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic (CCMSR) erupted 24 Oct in Miski gold mining area in far north; fighting continued end Oct, number of casualties unknown. Fighting flared in southern Libya mid-Oct reportedly between Libyan National Army (LNA) of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, de facto leader in eastern Libya, and its auxiliaries on one side and gunmen whom LNA claimed were Chadian armed groups on other (see Libya). Haftar discussed insecurity in border area with Déby in N’Djamena 16 Oct. In east, sedentary farmers and nomadic herders 19 Oct clashed in Djiré, Ouaddai region, at least five people killed. Govt and trade unions 27 Oct signed agreement, ending five-month public sector strike. (Updated 1 Nov)
Since 2015, the conflict between Chad’s armed forces and Boko Haram has destabilised the Lake Chad region in the west of the country. Defeating this resilient insurgency requires the state to go beyond a purely military campaign and relaunch trade, improve public services and reintegrate demobilised militants.
Regional armies in the Lake Chad basin deploy vigilantes to sharpen campaigns against Boko Haram insurgents. But using these militias creates risks as combatants turn to communal violence and organised crime. Over the long term they must be disbanded or regulated.
Ahead of Chad’s presidential election on 10 April popular discontent is rising amid a major economic crisis, growing intra-religious tensions and deadly Boko Haram attacks. The regime that portrays itself as spearheading the fight against regional jihadism could see all sorts of violent actors gain influence at home if it pursues exclusionary politics and denies its people a viable social contract.
The Sahel’s trajectory is worrying; poverty and population growth, combined with growing jihadi extremism, contraband and human trafficking constitute the perfect storm of actual and potential instability. Without holistic, sustained efforts against entrenched criminal networks, misrule and underdevelopment, radicalisation and migration are likely to spread and exacerbate.
Sensible, inclusive regulation of pastoralism that has mitigated tension in parts of the Sahel should be extended to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), where conflicts have worsened with the southward expansion of pastoralism.
[There are no] significant indications of other violent extremist activity [in Chad aside from Boko Haram], so in that respect, [the decision to include Chad in the U.S. travel ban] is completely baffling.
Rural insurgencies across the Sahel are destabilising the region and undermining local security and governance. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to continue support for the Alliance for the Sahel and promote local dialogue to buttress law and order.
The Boko Haram insurgency is weakening in the Lake Chad basin, but its underlying socio-economic drivers remain to be addressed. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2017, we urge the EU and its member states to support regional governments with winding down vigilante groups, funding youth employment projects, rebuilding agriculture and trade, and restoring public services.
Jihadist groups have regrouped in the neglected hinterlands of Sahel countries and are launching attacks from them. To regain control of outlying districts, regional states must do far more to extend services and representation beyond recently recaptured provincial centres.