Mounting massacres across Africa’s Sahel nations


The tri-border region where the Sahel countries of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali come together is the scene of fast-mounting massacres by presumed Islamist militants. At least 80 people were killed in an ambush in Burkina Faso on Aug. 18. The target was a  convoy near the town of Arbinda, but scores of civilians were slain along with 17 soldiers and members of a pro-government militia. On Aug. 4, presumed militants killed 30 civilians, soldiers and militiamen in an attack near the town of Markoye. The assailants first attacked civilian villagers, and then fired on soldiers responding to the raid. State media reported that government troops killed 16 of the attackers. (The Hill, Al Jazeera, AP, France24, Reuters)

In Niger, gunmen killed 37 civilians, including 14 children, in an Aug. 16 attack on the village of Banibangou. The victims were peasants gunned down working in their fields. Authorities blamed the Islamic State of the Greater Sahara (EIGS) for the attack, which brought to 450 the number slain in Niger’s Tillabéri region this year. (EuroNews, Market Research)

In Mali, ongoing deadly attacks have caused a massive population exodus in several regions of the country, including Menaka, Mopti, Gao, Timbuktu and Sikasso. “Violence is spreading so rapidly across Mali that it threatens the very survival of the state,” said UN human rights expert Alioune Tine after a visit to the country earlier this month. (ReliefWeb, UN News)

Map: Wikivoyage

  1. France: head of Islamic State in Sahara killed

    France announced the death of the leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS), calling the killing of Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi (Sahraoui) “a major success” for the French military after more than eight years fighting extremists in the Sahel. French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that al-Sahrawi “was neutralized by French forces” but gave no further details. It was not announced where al-Sahrawi was killed, though EIGS is active along the border between Mali and Niger. (AP)

  2. Nearly 70 dead in Niger village attack

    At least 69 people, including a local mayor, have been killed in an attack by gunmen in Niger’s Tillaberi “tri-border zone.” The gunmen, mounted on motorbikes, ambushed a delegation led by the mayor of Banibangou on Nov. 2 in the outlying hamlet of Adab-Dab. The attack was attributed to the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS).

    Armed groups have killed more than 530 people in attacks on civilians in the frontier regions of southwest Niger this year, over five times more than in all of 2020, according to data provided by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED). (Al Jazeera)

  3. Angry protests rock Burkina Faso, Niger

    Police in Burkina Faso fired tear gas at people protesting against the state’s failure to stop a rise in jihadist violence. Some erected barricades and burned tires as clashes spread around the streets of the capital, Ouagadougou. (BBC News) Meanwhile, fighting broke out when a convoy of French forces headed for Gao, Mali, was blocked by local residents as it passed through the town of Tera in Niger’s Tillaberi region. (France24)

  4. Scores of militiamen killed in Burkina Faso attack

    Authorities in Burkina Faso have declared a two-day period of mourning after presumed jihadis killed at least 41 members of a government-backed militia in the country’s desert north. A column of civilian fighters from the Homeland Defense Volunteers (VDP), a group the government funds and trains to contain Islamist insurgents, was ambushed on Dec. 23 as it swept a remote area in the northern Loroum province. (The Guardian)

  5. Coup d’etat in Burkina Faso

    The military seized power in Burkina Faso on Jan. 24, ousting the country’s democratically elected president after mutinous soldiers stormed his home. President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, faced growing public criticism over his government’s failure to stem militant attacks that have destabilized broad swathes of Burkina Faso, displaced 1.4 million people, and caused 2,000 deaths last year alone. (NYT)