Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger on Genocide Watch NGO list of conflicts to monitor

Friday, February 10, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , , , , ,

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – The Sahel region of Africa, including Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, has been placed on a list prepared by the US-based Genocide Watch NGO of top 10 conflicts to watch in 2023.

Stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Red Sea in the east, the Sahel is in the violent grip of jihadist insurgencies. “Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger show no signs of beating back stubborn Islamist insurgencies,” Genocide Watch said in a January 1 report about the region.

Concerning Burkina Faso, GW reports that thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million displaced, as an estimated 40% of the country has come under the control of Jihadi groups. GW notes that the country’s president, Ibrahim Traoré, has drawn closer to Russia in an effort to contain the jihadists: “Traoré himself is struggling to unify divided security forces…Most worryingly, Traoré is recruiting volunteers to battle jihadis, which could send ethnic bloodshed spiraling.”

Meanwhile, Mali has been suffering the effects of two coups in 2020 and 2021. “The state is virtually absent in the far north,” GW said. “There, Islamic State- and al Qaeda-linked militants fight one another and battle non-jihadi rebels, who are predominantly Tuareg, a community that spans much of the Sahel.”

The situation is somewhat better in Niger, GW reports, although there are “worrying” issues in this country too. While the government has been able to stem them bloodshed to some extent by engaging jihadists and refusing to arm civilian groups, President Mohamed Bazoum survived a coup attempt in March 2021, and there may be residual hostility against him within his own army. Moreover, GW said: “Jihadis have entered parks and forests along the Burkina Faso and Benin borders, drawing closer to the capital, Niamey.”

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