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Terrorism in the Sahel: 4 Important Trends

Phase two of this joint Hub/ACSRT project shows how Terrorist and Violent Extremist Organizations (TVEO) activity is spreading in complexity and geographically from the SAHEL towards the south despite collaborative counter-terrorism efforts.

The security situation in the Sahel continues to degrade, a reality reflected by the increase in violent acts and casualties. Terrorism remains a major source of insecurity, but often overlaps with other forms of conflict, creating complex insecurity environments. This second joint HUB/ACSRT report which analyses Terrorist and Violent Extremist Organizations (TVEOs) in the Sahel, looked at JNIM, ISGS, Boko Haram and ISWAP. During the period of analysis, new trends became evident, both in terms of number/type of attacks and geographical areas.

This study outlines:

  • TVEOs have slightly extended their areas of operations, which could imply new changes of strategic and operational priorities.
  • There has been an escalation of terrorist activity using different Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) in specific areas.
  • There is a risk TVEO activities will expand beyond the Sahel, in particular to the south which could potentially affect the Gulf of Guinea, despite the increase in counter-terrorism operation effectiveness over the last four months.
  • However, disagreements between JNIM and the ISGS have provoked clashes, despite years of cohabitation and even cooperation, causing a reduction in their abilities to carry out attacks.

This report is the follow up to the first publication and is part of the continuing effort between the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) of the African Union (AU) and the NATO Southern Hub. Such cooperation demonstrates the willingness of both organisations which has a positive effect on enhancing shared understanding of security challenges in the South. By lengthening the period from 8 to 16 months, a broader and more nuanced understanding of the dynamics of terrorism over time has been achieved.

This study will continue to be updated in the future. Be sure to follow our progress by subscribing to the updates.


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