The specter of Islamist extremism looms over West Africa
While the recent defeat of Islamic State in Syria certainly marks an important milestone in the fight against terrorism, analysts warn that West Africa is increasingly at risk of being overrun by jihadist fighters.
Between November 2018 and March 23, violence related to the rise of extremist groups killed 4,776 people in the Sahel region, which includes Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Mauritania. This number marks a 50% increase over the same period last year. Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga recently warned that the decline of Islamic State and similar groups in the Middle East “could lead to a transfer of jihadists to the Sahel region.”