Terror in the Sahel; Africa missing in action

Rwanda has pledged to contribute US$ One million towards the G5 Sahel Task Force. It brings together five countries in the Sahel region that have been theatres of terrorist attacks from groups allied to Al Qaeda and Islamic State.

The 2012 insurgency in Mali was the first sign that armed groups had grown in strength and military experience. They overran nearly three quarters of the country before a robust military response by France stopped them in their tracks.

Now there is a myriad of groups with differing ideologies that – besides Mali – have been creating havoc in Niger, Chad, Mauritania and Burkina Faso.

Rwanda’s contribution – however modest – is an expression of its solidarity with the five countries, the urgent need to fight terrorism wherever it may be and fighting on the side of peace.

However, the Sahel problem should be an eye opener for other African countries; they should not only jump into action when things get out of hand. And even when they do, they seem ill-prepared and end up being ridiculed by what was once rag tag groups that were given time to grow and organise, and today terrorise five sovereign states.

This is the same thing that is happening in Nigeria and its Boko Haram threat.

Securing the Sahel has more or less been left in the hands of France which has about 40,000 troops deployed there under Operation Barkhane, and surprisingly, apart from the five affected countries, Africa is conspicuously absent.

Do countries bordering the five Sahel countries have to wait before terror comes knocking on their doors? They should get out of their comfort zones as the only remedy for terror is prevention.


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