7 West African Countries Call for Unity Against Jihadists in Sahel Region

A militiaman in Gao, Mali PHOTO/Quartz

Bamako, Mali – With the increased pull out and calls for the same by peace keeping troops in the recent past from the war-torn nation of Mali, seven West African states convened a meeting last Thursday to call for increased cooperation against the increased Jihadist terror.

These states included Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Ivory Coast, Togo and Ghana.

This meeting came just ahead of the on-going meeting, the Accra Initiative.

The Accra Initiative was launched in 2017 and its members include Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso and Benin. Mali and Niger maintain an observatory role.

In attendance this week are members of E.U, U.K, ECOWAS to ensure a coordinated response against the Islamist terror groups.

The first emergence of the Jihadist groups occurred back in 2012 backed by the larger Jihadi groups Al- Qaeda and Islamic State (I.S).

They have gone on to wreck continuous havoc in the vast and resource strained Sahel region.

Burkina Faso, Niger and Benin are one of the poorest economies of the world and thus face more devastating impacts.

In Mali since 2012, more than two million people have been displaced with reports of thousands of deaths ensuing. From 2021, Benin and Togo experienced increased random attacks along their border with Burkina Faso.

Thus far, there have been reports of 20 attacks in Benin and five attacks in Togo resulting to 4000 people being displaced this year alone.

The two recent Mali coups have jeopardized measures against the insurgencies as supporting nations’ troops in the MINSUMA initiative have begun withdrawing.

Ivory Coast has announced commencement of its troops withdrawing due to their border conflict with Mali.

French troops are backing out of Barkhane Anti-jihadist Mission that has been there in the past decade.

This is mainly due to the recent claims of the Mali’s military junta siding and getting aid from Russia.

There are reports of the Russian Wagner Group mercenaries being used by the Mali military government.

Britain and Germany too have announced plans of withdrawing with the British Defence Minister saying that they are “rebalancing our deployment” to counter the insurgency in the unstable Sahel region thus why they and other European states are in attendance at the current Accra Initiative meeting this week.

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