Yearender: Sahel region faces unprecedented security deterioration

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 year 2019 was marked by an unprecedented deterioration of the security situation in the Sahel countries, while the presence of foreign troops is increasingly criticized.

Since 2012, the security situation in the Sahel region has been very worrying, starting with the crisis in Mali, following the destabilization of Libya. Despite a French military intervention still underway in this West African country, the threat has spread to other countries such as Niger and Burkina Faso.

“We not only have classic acts of terrorism, but we also have a desire to break social cohesion with targeted attacks, in particular against religious buildings, against civilians, which then causes community tensions and violence, ” said Gilles Yabi, director and founder of Wathi, a think thank on West Africa based in Dakar.

“I think it is important to see that in the security degradation, we not only have armed jihadist terrorist groups, we also have other armed groups, militias, whether in Mali or in Burkina Faso, “he told Xinhua.

Analyzing the causes of this disastrous situation in these countries where people are already struck by poverty, Yabi said it is necessary to go back to the crisis in Mali and the fragility of its political and military institutions which favored the rapid spread of the crisis and enabled armed groups to form a very strong threat, taken control of the territory before being repulsed by a Franco-African intervention.

Faced with the situation, G5 Sahel, a regional cooperation framework including Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Mali and Niger, decided in 2014 to pool their efforts in an institutional framework to coordinate and monitor regional cooperation on the development of security policies.

After its constitution, the force of the G5 Sahel countries was targeted by an attack on its headquarters on June 29, 2018 in central Mali. The countries then launched a reorganization project, appealing the international community to raise funds for the force.

“I renew my call for international solidarity in order to provide the G5 Sahel joint force with predictable and sustainable equipment and financial resources. The two pillars, security and development, are necessary for the stability of the region,” said Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, also acting president of G5 Sahel, at the United Nations headquarters in September.

For him, the persistence of the security crisis in the G5 Sahel countries is the direct consequence of the destructuring of the Libyan state.

“I therefore call on the international community to mobilize and find a lasting peace solution in this country, because the resolution of the security crisis in our countries requires peace in Libya,” he said.

For Gilles Yabi, the international community, notably France by its military presence, the European Union, which is present in the training of armies, the United States, present for years in a rather discreet manner with special forces, aerial and drones, must support the countries of the Sahel.

“All of these actors are trying to make their contribution, but we see that this is not enough and there is a lot of controversy about the role of these actors,” he explains.

For the Burkinabe analyst Siaka Coulibaly, media consultant on political governance and security issues, the international community must give itself the obligation to assist the Sahel countries.

“The solution to terrorism is multifaceted and requires significant political and managerial capacities which are still to be sought in the countries of the Sahel. There should therefore be a multisectoral plan which covers security and development”, he said. Enditem

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