The struggle against violent jihad: An alternative approach to bringing peace to the Sahel?

In a recent article, Reuters documents regional peacekeeping comittees’ efforts to maintain stability in Amataltal, Niger.

“In the Tillaberi region, a lack of local leadership, peace mechanisms or strong ties with Niamey have allowed ethnic rivalries to fester and attacks to continue, security experts said. Jihadist groups have won recruits among disaffected locals who believe the state has abandoned them.”

With French troops struggling to contain violence elsewhere, and the US contemplating a drawdown of forces, local leaders offer a possible blueprint for defeating militants without weapons: a network of influential ex-rebels, clerics and peace committees that has stopped jihadists gaining a foothold by monitoring grievances and people with extreme ideas.

Read more on Reuters


Islamist militants are targeting Christians in Burkina Faso: ‘They are planting seeds of a religious conflict’

DAKAR, Senegal —  One evening in late June, gunmen stormed a village in northern Burkina Faso and ordered people who had been chatting outside to lie down.

Then the armed strangers checked everyone’s necks, searching for jewelry. They found four men wearing crucifixes — Christians. They executed them.

The killings in Beni, reported by Catholic leadership in the region, followed attacks on churches in the West African nation that have left at least two dozen people dead since February, according to local news reports. It was the second time in as many months that militants singled out worshipers wearing Christian imagery.

A spreading Islamist insurgency has transformed Burkina Faso from a peaceful country known for farming, a celebrated film festival and religious tolerance into a hotbed of extremism.

Read more on The Washington Post