Jihadism is strong in the Sahel

Tens of terrorists aboard trucks and motorcycles stormed last Thursday, about noon, on the military camp of Chinegódar, in Niger. The fray ended with 166 dead,

Jihadism is strong in the Sahel

Tens of terrorists aboard trucks and motorcycles stormed last Thursday, about noon, on the military camp of Chinegódar, in Niger. The fray ended with 166 dead, 89 nigerian soldiers and 77 raiders, which makes him the worst attack jihadist suffered by this country in its entire history. This episode is nothing but the bloody epilogue of the deadliest year living in the Sahel west from the beginning of the crisis in 2012. According to data compiled by the International Crisis Group (ICG), in 2019 were killed 4.779 people in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, an 86% more than in 2018. The violence jihadist, and the extrajudicial killings of civilians by militias and paramilitary units spread over the region.

When the rebels tuareg in the north of Mali rose up in arms in January of 2012 with the goal of creating an independent State, no one could have foreseen that eight years later the whole region would be shaken by the violence that has claimed nothing less than 12.824 lives in this period. Their alliance of circumstance with three terrorist groups that operated in the area, Ansar Dine, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Movement for the Oneness of Jihad in West Africa (Muyao), it sparked a conflict that neither the successive military operations of france (Serval and Barkhane) or the establishment of the G5 Sahel, the infradotada force composed of the Armies of Niger, Chad, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Mali, have been able to stop. Before the increase in attacks by jihadists, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, meet this Monday to the presidents of those five countries at a summit in Pau (southwest of France) to address the issue.

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In parallel to the increase of attacks and deaths, a growing sense antifrancés is extended by the region to the backs of groups that define themselves as anti-colonialists. If in 2013 the actual gauls of the Operation Serval were received as heroes in the streets of Gao and Timbuktu, at present, their presence is increasingly contested. Anti-government demonstrations in Bamako are chanting slogans against the “army of occupation” and in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) citizens ' movements do not hide its displeasure over the military interventions of Barkhane, which runs along the northern roads of the country in pursuit of suspected terrorists without any hindrance.

Precisely Burkina Faso is the best example of the situation. In 2019 became the fourth african country on number of victims for the violence, passing of 303 people killed in 2018 to 2.189 last year, only a step behind conflicts such statements as those of Nigeria, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and ahead of Libya, according to the ICG. Burkina Faso has surpassed even Mali (1.870 dead in 2019) and Niger (720 fatalities). What is most troubling is the trend. December last year was the month with the most killings in terrorist attacks in the three countries, among which stands out the offensive jihadist against the barracks, nigerien of Inates, that killed 71 soldiers.

in Addition to Diffa, in the far east of Niger, where Boko Haram is still active, the call area of the three borders is, today, the main epicenter of this violence. From the regions of mali to Mopti and Gao, the presence jihadist has been extended to the regions of Sahel, Centre-North, East, and North (Burkina Faso) and Tilaberi, in western niger. It is here, in the enormous expanses sahel, where three terrorist groups move like a fish in the water supported in the porosity of the borders, the inability of armies in frank withdrawal and discomfort, sometimes become complicit with the radicals, of communities mired in poverty and abandoned to their fate, who also suffer the violent repression of the State.

On the side of mali to the border the more active is the Group of Support to Islam and Muslims (JNIM, according to its acronym in Arabic), the coalition of terrorist resulting from the union of The Murabitún of Mojtar Belmojtar (known as Mr. Marlboro or The one-Eyed), Ansar Dine, led by the tuareg Iyad Ag Ghali, and the Front for the Liberation of Macina preacher's fulani Amadou Kufa. The JNIM maintains links with Al-Qaeda. In 2016, arises in the north of Burkina Faso Ansarul Islam, led by then-Malam Dicko and at present it is believed that by his brother Jafar Dicko after the death of the first. Finally, there is the Islamic State the Great Sahara (EIGS) at the orders of Abu Walid Al-Sahrawi, responsible for the major attacks in Niger but also with the ability to hit in the other two countries.

in Front of them, in addition to national armies, Operation Barkhane French, the more nourished all that keeps this country on the outside, has some 4,500 troops in the field. They have joined a british outpost with 100 military personnel and three helicopters, and 70 soldiers and two helicopters danes, reports AFP. As a peace-keeping force, the UN maintains some 15,000 blue helmets in Mali, from countries such as Chad, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Egypt, Togo, Niger, China, or Germany, who suffer from the constant harassment by armed groups that have caused about 200 casualties.

The G5 of the Sahel was born in November of 2015 with the intent to deploy around 5,000 troops on the ground, but is operating from 2017, it has not reached that figure and have problems of funding, because of the 400 million euros has only received 300 in the past year. In addition, his troops have been accused of Human Rights violations in Mali, in particular against the community fulani. It is, finally, the european mission training the malian Army and the G5, the EUTM, which has more than 600 soldiers and is the only one which participates in Spain, although without going into combat.

Updated Date: 13 January 2020, 15:00

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