Jihad violence hits Benin, contagion spreads across West Africa

nour el houda bouzammour
nour el houda bouzammour
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Al-Qaeda- and ISIS-linked extremist violence that devastated much of West Africa’s interior Sahel region for more than seven years.

Furthermore, specialists say it has now extended to seaside countries, with Benin being the hardest hit.

According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, jihadist attacks in Benin between July and December increased more than tenfold compared with 2 to 25 in the same period last year, more than any other coastal state in West Africa.

Violence in Benin, home to 12 million people, is largely due to what is happening in neighbouring Burkina Faso. In Burkina Faso, jihadist attacks have killed hundreds and displaced nearly two million people from their homes.

The attacks were initially limited to the eastern border of Burkina Faso and Benin in the west, as well as the Pendjari National Park in the Alibori and Atacora regions, but have now expanded. Incidents in densely populated areas around the park have increased since June, as jihadists linked to an al-Qaeda-linked group called JNIM pushed Benin forces out of the border, creating a security vacuum and taking control of parts of the Rand. It is said that In a recent report by Clingendael.

Jihadist rebels appear to have created a vast Nigerian sphere of influence in Togo to keep supply lines open, recruit personnel and procure equipment, analysts say. Another goal is to resist pressure from the Accra Initiative, a military platform that engages Burkina Faso and littoral states to prevent the spread of extremism from the Sahel.

Benin’s government has stepped up its response, investing nearly $130 million since last year in building new bases of operations, strengthening existing bases and recruiting about 4,000 security forces, the Benin president said. Patrice Talon in a speech earlier this month.


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