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¬†Tillab√©ri¬†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 Kabor√©, faced growing public criticism over his government‚Äôs 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)

  6. African Union suspends Burkina Faso following coup

    The African Union (AU) on Jan. 31 suspended Burkina Faso in response to the Jan. 24 military coup ousting President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

    The AU’s¬†Peace & Security Council¬†announced its decision “to suspend the participation of Burkina Faso in all AU activities until the effective restoration of constitutional order in the country.”

    On Jan. 28, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) suspended Burkina Faso from all ECOWAS institutions and demanded the immediate release and protection of President Kabore and all the other political detainees. It also demanded the restoration of constitutional order in the country and resolved to deploy a delegation to consult with Burkina Faso’s military leaders. No sanctions have been imposed on the country.

    In a statement Jan. 31, the junta announced that the constitution was restored and coup leader, Col.¬†Paul Henri Damiba, was named President of Burkina Faso.¬†The junta approved a “fundamental act”¬†to achieve these ends and named the junta the Patriotic Movement for Preservation and Restoration. (Jurist)

  7. Another massacre in Niger

    Unidentified “armed bandits”¬†on motorbikes attacked a truck travelling between villages in western Niger’s Tillaberi region, killing¬†at least 18 civilians. (TRT World)

  8. Another massacre in Burkina Faso

    Armed assailants have killed some 50 people in a Burkina Faso’s conflicted¬†East Region¬†It was not immediately clear who was behind the May 25 attack against residents of the rural commune of Madjoari. (Reuters)

  9. Another massacre in Burkina Faso

    At least 50 people were killed¬†in an attack by armed men on a village in northern Burkina Faso June 12. The attackers struck before dawn in Seytenga commune, Seno province.¬†Seytenga was days earlier the scene of a battle between security forces and jihadists, and the attack on the village is thought to be a reprisal for the military’s actions. (Al Jazeera)