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.
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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.
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.
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.
The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara has pursued breadth rather than depth of engagement in its rapid rise along the Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso borders.
EU Special Representative to the Sahel Angel Losada Fernandez discusses Europe's security strategy in the region, which focuses on integrating development, security, and governance in coordination with African actors on the ground, in this interview with the Africa Center.
Increased attacks from militant Islamist groups in the Sahel coupled with cross-border challenges such as trafficking, migration, and displacement have prompted a series of regional and international security responses.
The escalation of violent events linked to militant Islamist groups in the Sahel reflects an array of diverse actors operating within distinct geographic concentrations.
Expansion of violent events linked to an array of militant Islamist groups in the Sahel highlights the growing scope of security challenges facing this region.