Tag Archives | violence

Commentary – Jihad and Instability in Sahel: The Extent of a Crisis

The video message recently released by the al-Furqan media network, showing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for the first time since 2014, turned the spotlight on the presence of the Islamic State (IS) in the Sahel – the region of Western Africa south of Sahara. Urging jihadist fighters in Mali and Burkina Faso to intensify their attacks against France and its allies to avenge the aggressions in Syria and Iraq, al-Baghdadi explicitly confirmed the oath of allegiance to the Islamic State made by Adnan Abu al-Walid al-Sahrawi, a former MOJWA (Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa) member and Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s comrade in the Sahel.  Just a few weeks before, IS applauded the jihad fought by mujahedeen against African tawaghit  (transgressor of the will of Allah) governments, tribal murtadd (apostate) militias and Western crusader armies in the Sahel. In al-Naba newsletter (N. 175), Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks conducted by assailants loyal to the Caliphate against foreign military forces and pro-government armed groups in Mali, slightingly defined as Sahawat[1]– particularly, colonel El Hadj ag Gamou’s GATIA militia (Imghad Tuareg Self-Defense Group and Allies) and the coalition of former rebel groups MSA (Movement for the Salvation of Azawad).  Al-Sahrawi’s bay’a to al-Baghdadi dates back to 2015, and was formally accepted by IS in October […]

Continue Reading 0

Running Out of Options in Burundi

Talks about ending Burundi’s crisis – sparked by the president’s decision to seek a third term – have fizzled out. With elections nearing in 2020, tensions could flare. Strong regional pressure is needed to begin opening up the country’s political space before the balloting. What’s new? After almost three years, the Inter-Burundi Dialogue has ended in failure. Next steps are unclear as regional leaders reject handing over mediation to other institutions while not committing wholeheartedly themselves to resolving the crisis. Elections due in 2020 carry a real risk of violence unless political tensions ease. Why did it happen? The East African Community (EAC) took the lead on mediation in Burundi though it lacks the requisite experience, expertise or resources. Absence of political will and divisions among member states, coupled with the Burundian government’s intransigence, made successful dialogue among the parties impossible. Why does it matter? Without urgent intervention, the 2020 elections will take place in a climate of fear and intimidation. This would increase risks of electoral violence and people joining armed opposition groups and ensure that Burundi continues its descent into authoritarianism, raising prospects of another major crisis with regional repercussions. What should be done? Regional leaders should use their influence, including threats […]

Continue Reading 0