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January 9, 2020

West Africa
Jihadi Violence and Terror Surging in West Africa

In a follow up to his remarks in December, Mohamed Iban, Chambas, the UN special representative sand head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) sounded the alarm on growing militant and jihadi violence. In his January 8 briefing to the UN Security Council, he said the “devastating surge” in terrorism has “shaken public confidence.” He focused on Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, where casualties from terrorism have increased fivefold since 2016, with 4,000 deaths in 2019 compared to 770 in 2016.

Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, briefs the Security Council on West Africa, on January 10, 2019, in New York.

September 4, 2019

Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Coastal West Africa Now Facing Islamist Extremist Threat

West Africa is facing a growing threat from Islamist extremist groups. Many of these groups originated in Mali but have since spilled over its borders, with jihadis establishing themselves in the north and east of Burkina Faso. The country has become a desirable haven for many groups because of the security vacuum that has defined the country following the deposition of longtime strongman Blaise Compaore.

Silhouetted palm trees and woman carrying merchandise on her head on beach at sunset, Gulf of Guinea, Lome, Togo, West Africa.

August 31, 2017

Sub-Saharan Africa
Codel to West Africa

With the exception of U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Halley, the Trump administration has shown little interest in Africa. It has been very slow to make Africa-related appointments: there is still n…

Senator-Coons-West-Africa-CODEL

January 28, 2020

West Africa
Cutting U.S. Military Support for France in West Africa Would Be a Mistake

Since the last defense review more than a year ago, there has been a shift in U.S. defense priorities from countering terrorism to great power competition. Since then, the Department of Defense has been considering a drawdown of U.S. military assets in Africa, especially West Africa, presumably for redeployment to arenas of great power competition. That would be a mistake.

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a press conference ahead of a G5 Sahel force meeting, with the heads of state for G5 Sahel countries, in Nouakchott, Mauritania, July 2, 2018.

May 24, 2019

Islamic State
Where Exactly is the Islamic State in West Africa?

The Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) claimed a May 16 attack near Tongo Tongo, Niger, killing more than 20 soldiers not far from the Malian border. In March it issued a photo of its members in Burkina Faso and in April it claimed an attack on a militia in Mali. But, it is not clear that the ISWA group based primarily in Nigeria is behind those attacks. 

Cameroon-Boko-Haram-Islamic-State-Terrorism-West-Africa

December 26, 2019

West Africa
Envoy for West Africa and the Sahel Delivers Grim Message to UNSC

On Monday, December 16, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, special representative and head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) delivered a grim message to the UN Security Council. He characterized West Africa as “shaken by unprecedented violence,” involving terrorism, organized crime, and intercommunal violence.

Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, briefs the Security Council on West Africa, on January 10, 2019, in New York.

July 9, 2019

Zimbabwe
Wildlife Conservation in Africa, Outrage in the West, and Cecil the Lion

Four years ago, on July 2, 2015, a Minneapolis Dentists killed a well-known Lion, Cecil, in a Zimbabwe trophy hunt with a bow and arrow. Cecil was something of a star in the developed world.

A man dressed as Cecil the Lion on a subway platform in New York.

February 17, 2012

Sub-Saharan Africa
Food Insecurity: West Africa’s Turn

Last year, international attention was riveted by the near humanitarian disaster in the Horn and East Africa caused by prolonged drought. Relevant UN agencies and NGOs were able to mobilize the neces…

Africa-Sahel-20120217

November 6, 2017

Niger
Will the Niger Attack Shift U.S. Policy in West Africa?

An attack on Green Berets in southwest Niger has reignited a debate over U.S. policy in the region that stretches back decades.

Airmen unload a C-130J Super Hercules during a deployment at Agadez, Niger.

March 16, 2016

Sub-Saharan Africa
Radical Islamist Terrorism in West Africa

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its affiliates launched an attack in Mali in November, one in Burkina Faso in January, and now in Ivory Coast over the past weekend. On March 16, Boko Haram…

Ivory Coast Attack