Violence on the rise in Africa’s Sahel, UN says
September 26, 2019 - Groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State have strengthened their foothold across the Sahel region this year, making large swathes of territory ungovernable and stoking ethnic violence.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Wednesday that West African and international powers are failing to tackle the spiralling threat of Islamist militancy in the Sahel, Reuters said.
France, the former colonial power in the region, intervened in Mali in 2013 to drive out Islamist militants who had occupied the north, but rather than stabilising the region, the situation has progressively worsened.
France still has about 4,500 troops in the region as part of counter-terrorism operations, while the United Nations operates a peacekeeping force in Mali of about 15,000 soldiers and police.
In 2017, five countries – Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania - backed by France, launched the G5 Sahel task force to combat the insurgents. But the initiative has been perennially underfunded.
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