Ankara is strengthening ties with Sahelian capitals, building mosques and hospitals and opening up export markets. Its defence pact with Niamey has led rivals to suspect its intentions. Turkey and other outside powers should do what they can to avoid unnecessary additional competition in the region.
A spate of mass killings in Niger’s Tillabery region has raised the spectre of broader civil strife. Most worrying is the ethnic dimension to the crimes. Authorities should move quickly to prioritize civilian protection lest vigilantes take matters into their own hands.
Dans le sud-ouest du Niger, le banditisme armé pourrait renforcer la méfiance entre les communautés et favoriser des insurrections susceptibles d’être exploitées par les jihadistes. Les autorités nigériennes devraient agir pour remédier aux injustices subies par les communautés vivant de l’élevage, initier des dialogues intercommunautaires et mieux encadrer les groupes d’autodéfense embryonnaires.
Since 2013, when it sent troops to Mali, France has led international efforts to root out Islamist militancy from the Sahel. Yet the jihadist threat has grown. Paris and its partners should reorient their military-centred approach toward helping improve governance in the region.
Au Mali, les violences dans la zone située aux sud et sud-est de Mopti prennent un caractère de plus en plus communautaire. Les autorités de transition devraient harmoniser les initiatives de dialogue, renforcer la présence étatique et traiter les problèmes de fonds, notamment les conflits fonciers.
Islamist militants are making further inroads into Tillabery, a region on Niger’s border with Mali. To fend off the threat, Niamey should supplement its counter-insurgency campaign with initiatives aimed at soothing communal tensions along the frontier and starting dialogue with locals in the jihadists’ orbit.
Dans la région du Sahel central, les Etats se mobilisent pour lutter contre les effets du changement climatique sur les crises violentes. Cette préoccupation est légitime. Cependant, pour trouver des réponses adaptées à la montée de l'insécurité, il importe de sortir de l’équation simple entre réchauffement climatique, raréfaction des ressources et flambée des violences.
Maybe this is a mistake. But the French are downsizing, they’re not withdrawing [from the Sahel]. They’re still the biggest military force in the region.
Deploying counterterror forces [in the Sahel region] has wiped out some leaders but failed to defeat or contain the threat. Instead, there has been a rise in authoritarian rule, a spread in instability and much higher risk to civilians.
Everyone seems obsessed with what is going on in Bamako, and that is another indication for the people in [Mali's] countryside that the state is not coming back.
Putting a bounty on militant leaders’ heads, these types of policy moves, make negotiations and outreach [in Burkina Faso] quite a bit harder.
Il faut voir ces attaques [au Niger] comme une forme de punition collective contre ces communautés où une résistance s'organise.
Niger has faced growing insecurity on many of its borders. [It] is one of the major challenges that the upcoming administration will have to face.
Africa is especially vulnerable to climate change, as millions are already experiencing record heat, extreme precipitation and rising sea levels. Increasingly, the security implications of changing weather patterns are visible in deadly land resource disputes between farmers and herders across the continent – including in the continent’s most populous country, Nigeria.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Naz Modirzadeh and Richard Atwood are joined by Sahel Project Director Jean-Hervé Jezequel to discuss how Sahelian states and their main backers in France can use dialogue and better governance to craft a more effective strategy against Islamist insurgents.
In the Sahel, heavy-handed military operations have fuelled animosity among ethnic communities which non-state armed groups, including jihadists, turn to their advantage. It’s time to prioritise governance and dialogue.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Naz Modirzadeh and Richard Atwood look at trends on the African continent in 2021 with Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director and interim Vice President Comfort Ero, from the rising violent jihadist threat to political transitions and the impact of COVID-19.