Sahel: Terrorist threat still looms

The double terrorist attack on the French embassy in Ouagadougou and the headquarters of the Burkinabé staff is a message to France and its African partners in the fight against terrorism, while the G5 Sahel should soon be operational.

Although the international community, headed by France, has mobilized to fight terrorism in the Sahel region of Africa, the threat is still as heavy. A double attack took place on Friday, March 2 in Burkina Faso, the first in front of the French embassy, ​​the second in front of the headquarters of the staff. Eight members of the Burkinabé security forces were killed, two gendarmes in front of the French embassy and six soldiers at the headquarters, and 80 people were wounded. The day after the attack, the jihadists of the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM), led by the Malian Touareg Iyad Ag Ghaly, claimed the Ouagadougou attacks by claiming to have acted in retaliation for an operation. in Mali, according to a message reached Saturday, March 3 at the Mauritanian private agency Al-Akhbar. In fact, a relative of Iyad Ag Ghaly, an ex-colonel of the Malian army named Malick Ag Wanasnat, was killed during a raid by the French forces in Mali, conducted on February 14, near the Algerian border, had announced the Malian army.
Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been the target of jihadist attacks, which have already struck its capital. This is the third time in two years that this country is the victim of attacks targeting targets frequented by Westerners.

But, according to specialists, attacks have never reached such a level of organization. “The operating mode of the attacks evolves crescendo. After soft targets, such as hotels and restaurants, this attack targeted hard targets, strong symbols, “said a consultant Burkina Faso security, Paul Koalaga, cited by AFP. “A very organized attack, very timed, with great clarity in the objectives: this refers to some of the groups we know well in the region,” said a French diplomatic source told AFP. And to add: “I believe there is no precedent. We have already had precedents with car bombs that exploded in front of embassies- Tripoli, Nouakchott- but not that. ” “Typing like that, in the capital, in Ouagadougou, they are retaliation, a real strategy to say: We touch you where you do not expect,” says Antoine-Info, Antoine Glaser, journalist and writer specializing in ‘Africa. He believes that “it is a message sent to the Burkinabe and French authorities”.

The G5 Sahel referred

According to the Burkinabé Minister of Security, Clement Sawadogo, the attack was perhaps aimed at “a military meeting of the multinational anti-jihadist force G5 Sahel (Mali, Burkina, Niger, Chad and Mauritania), which was to be held in a devastated room by the explosion of a car bomb. This meeting between the Chief of Staff and officers was held in another room at the last moment, avoiding carnage. ” Indeed, this double attack comes as Emmanuel Macron is putting pressure on the G5 Sahel to organize offensives at the three borders of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. France, a country with major economic interests in the continent, particularly in the Sahel region, is one of the main initiators of the G5 Sahel, created in 2017.

“The attacks in Ouagadougou are the result of French support for the G5 Sahel, which is fighting against jihadist groups,” said Amira Abdel-Halim, an expert on Africa at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (CEPS). adding that “the Europeans let France take over the fight against terrorism in the Sahel”. It also explains that the rise of G5 Sahel worries terrorist groups: “That is why they resort to attacks that make noise to say that they exist and that their nuisance capacity is entire”.

“We will do everything so that the G5 Sahel does not settle” in this area, so assured January 15 to AFP a spokesman for Daesh in the Great Sahara. A report submitted to the UN on Friday, March 2, also came to underline the resurgence of terrorist actions in Mali, with a risk of spread in neighboring countries. According to this report, the rise of the G5 Sahel goes hand in hand with “growing terrorist threats from Da’esh in the Great Sahara and Ansar Al-Islam”, particularly in the border region between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. .

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