This webinar provides an in-depth look at the origins, aims, and drivers of Al Qaeda-affiliated Jama’at Nusrat Al Islam Wal Muslimin (JNIM) coalition in the Sahel. The analysis considers dynamics in the group’s composition, its objectives over time, as well as political and economic factors that have enabled it to persist.
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A 70-percent annual increase in violent events linked to militant Islamist groups in the Sahel propelled a new record of extremist violence in Africa in 2021.
Violence linked to the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) more than doubled in the past year. Concentrated along the Burkina Faso-Niger-Mali border areas, ISGS events target civilians nearly half the time.
Composed of distinct operational entities, the militant Islamist group coalition Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wal Muslimeen serves the role of obscuring the operations of its component parts in the Sahel, thereby inhibiting a more robust response.
France has long conducted military operations in the Sahel, from its colonial wars to its present Operation Barkhane, which deploys around 5,000 soldiers across the region. Examining the evolution of French doctrine for such missions highlights how the focus of these operations has changed from a population-centric approach meant to increase the post-colonial administration’s legitimacy, to one that focuses on security. This adaptation recognizes the limited objectives that such operations can achieve but it also presents new challenges since it relies on others for the inherently political work such operations entail.
The disproportionate representation of Fulani in militant Islamist groups in the Sahel has led to the stigmatization of the entire Fulani community. Reversing this will require renewed outreach and trust-building between Fulani leaders, government authorities, and neighboring communities.
Rising violence by militant Islamist groups in the Sahel is straining intercommunal tensions, threatening the foundations of social cohesion in the region.
Reversing the escalating violence of militant Islamist groups in the Sahel will require an enhanced security presence coupled with more sustained outreach to local communities.
A selection of Africa Center analysis of the ongoing security challenges in the Sahel, current security responses, and priorities for establishing peace and stability.
The Sahel is the African region that has seen the most rapid growth in violent extremist activity over the past 2 years. Ambassadors of the G-5 Sahel countries and leading experts examine the drivers and responses to the region's security challenges.
Burkina Faso’s first militant Islamist group, Ansaroul Islam, has faced setbacks, pointing to the weaknesses of violent extremist organizations lacking deep local support and facing sustained pressure.