Terrorism has been expanding in the Sahel region of Africa which includes the western and eastern part of the continent, an AU official said on Monday, February 11th.
Speaking to journalists, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ismael Chergui, said the whole of West Africa is on alert as terrorism is on the rise across the region.
“The situation is also aggravated by conflicts between ethnic groups and clashes occurring between herders and agricultural men,” Chergui continued.
The Sahel part of Africa includes (from west to east) parts of northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, the extreme south of Algeria, Niger, the extreme north of Nigeria, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, the extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea, Cameroon and Central African Republic.
“Terror attacks are happening in parts of on the region on a daily basis, particularly in Burkina Faso where criminal and terrorist attacks are on the increase, including along its border with Mali as well as the east of Niger,” Chergui said
The combination of criminal and terrorist attacks has brought about unprecedented high levels of killing of innocent people and damaging properties in the region which is relatively poor, according to the commissioner.
It is in this context that the 32nd summit of the African Union Heads of State and Government discussed peace and security issues as to how the continental body can address security problems in a comprehensive manner, not only in military terms but also through improving infrastructure, political engagement, justice and the economic circumstances of the youth.
According to the commissioner, the fight against Boko Haram is very expensive due to the immense nature of the territory. The G5 Sahel countries expressed frustration at Brussels over pledges made last year for $400 million towards the fight. “We have managed to collect $70 million of the total pledged,’ Chergui added.
He said the African Union Commission has decided to dispatch at least two financial means in order to equip soldiers of G5 Sahel region to fight Boko Haram.