As Terrorists Settle Into the Sahel, West Africa Prepares for Battle

MIN READMay 29, 2019 | 09:00 GMT

Soldiers stand guard at a G5 Sahel task force command post on Nov. 22, 2018, in Mauritania near the border with Mali.

Remote villages near Mauritania's border with Mali have long been neglected, making them easier prey for jihadists and other armed groups that have proliferated in Africa's Sahel region in recent years.


As global terrorism shifts away from fighting against Western-led operations in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, jihadists and other militants -- including those affiliated with al Qaeda and the Islamic State -- have begun seeking out unstable regions in Sub-Saharan Africa as their next home. The Sahel, a vast space stretching from Mauritania's Atlantic Coast to Eritrea, has been particularly vulnerable to this shift due to the region's perennial tumult and poverty. But there are signs that the Sahel's militant spell is now seeping into West African countries as well, such as Ghana and Ivory Coast, which could have drastic consequences for some of the Continent's most prosperous economies and their chief ally, France. ...

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