AU says concerned by increasing sophistication of terror groups in Sahel region

Burkina Faso soldier stands guard at the village of Gorgadji in the Sahel region
Burkina Faso soldier stands guard at the village of Gorgadji in the Sahel region

The African Union (AU) on Monday expressed concern over the increasing sophistication of terror groups in the Sahel region.

“In Sahel, the AU Peace and Security Council has noted the grave developments that are happening and the extending threat,” said AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui on the sidelines of the 33rd ordinary session of the AU assembly of heads of state and government in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

“The terror groups aren’t only showing resilience but also new military equipments and techniques in the way they are attacking the security forces,” Chergui said.

In recent months, deadly attacks on security forces and civilians by suspected Islamic militants has killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands of others in the Sahel region.

Last month, an attack by suspected Islamic militants on a Niger army base killed 89 soldiers, the deadliest attack on Nigerien troops in years.

Hundreds of soldiers and civilians have also been killed in recent months in suspected militant attacks in neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali, exacerbating the security crisis in the Sahel region.

“The terror groups are killing innocent civilians,” Chergui said. “They are also showing sophistication in their attacks on security institutions and security forces.”

He said the Sahel countries should not be left alone, as the terror threat is one that should concern the whole African continent.

“This is an important development that worries us and we have to act accordingly to see what can be done,” Chergui said said. “We need to harmonize the training of our troops and better equip them. ”

He warned that terror groups could be emerging in previously peaceful areas of southern regions, especially in northern Mozambique.

In recent months, a spate of deadly attacks on civilian and military targets by suspected Islamic militants in northern Mozambique has spread fear in a previously peaceful corner of Africa.

On a positive said, Chergui said, the ongoing dialogue between the Malian government, ethnic Tuareg rebels and other sectors of Malian society can reduce the terror threat in the Sahel region. Enditem

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