Violent Extremism Lurking in Sahel Region
Knowing that terrorism does not exempt any region in the world, the United States of America today outlined relevant steps to counter the surge of this violence in the Sahel region of Africa.
For the past few days, Mali, one of the nations in the Sahel region, was hit by terrorist attack which killed nearly 20 innocent civilians in Bamako.
In his remarks in New York City, Representative to the UN Ambassador David Pressman for Special Political Affairs highlighted steps to eliminate the drivers of extremism in the Sahel region.
Three Areas to Consider
According to Ambassador Pressman, the US believes that enhanced focus on good governance by the countries of the region is essential.
“Inclusive and effective governance – and improvements here will serve as the foundation for stability across the region.” – Ambassador Pressman
He stressed that the people of Mali and of other countries in the region have expressed a clear desire for more responsive government institutions, and for peaceful, democratic changes of power through inclusive, transparent, and free elections.
Second, Ambassador Pressman underlined the collective effort to counter violent extremism in the region.
“The United States welcomes the region’s efforts to create a new countering violent extremism youth network for the region, which we hope will enable the sharing of best practices.” – Ambassador Pressman
The US lauds the leaders in the Sahel working to deepen cooperation amongst themselves, including through the Group of Five for the Sahel and the Nouakchott Process, by coming to an agreement on a shared vision of the region’s transnational threats and the efforts needed to address them.
Third and finally, the US encourages further progress by the United Nations system and its partners towards effective implementation of the UN Sahel Strategy.
For one, the US welcomes the Secretary-General’s forthcoming strategic review of the Office of the Special Envoy for the Sahel and to considering its recommendations on ways to improve the UN system’s capacity to deliver assistance effectively to the Sahel region.
Us Building Counterterrorism Efforts in Sahel
According to Ambassador Pressman, the United States will continue to work with its partners in the Sahel and Maghreb region to build their counterterrorism capacity so that they can address the underlying drivers of radicalization and build the long-term law enforcement architecture that will preserve the many gains they’ve already made.
In addition, Ambassador Pressman encouraged the leaders of the Sahel region to adopt a whole-of-government approach to countering violent extremism, which reflects a common understanding that terrorists will not be defeated by the force of arms alone.
Violence in Mali Undermines Stability of The Sahel
With the rise ofextremism engulfing Mali, US said chaos and violence in Mali does threaten to undermine the stability of the entire region of Sahel.
There is an apparent danger posed by violent extremists imposing their brutal ideology, committing human rights abuses, destroying irreplaceable cultural heritage in Mali.
It’s not only the violent extremists, drug traffickers and arms smugglers are also finding safe havens and porous borders, providing them a launching pad to extend their reach throughout not only the region, but beyond.
The violence in Mali has displaced nearly 500,000 people from their homes, and 4.5 million more are suffering from dwindling food supplies.
The United States has already provided more than $378 million to meet the escalating humanitarian needs in the Sahel.
The outbreak of conflict in northern Mali was caused by clashes between Government forces and Tuareg rebels.
Tuareg rebels launched a new rebellion in the north on 17th of January. Since then, troops have clashed with rebels in several northern towns.
Tuareg nomads are present throughout the Sahel region of Africa. Both Mali and Niger have battled Tuareg uprisings in the last decade.
The Sahel has regularly been afflicted by food insecurity as drought, poor harvests and rising food prices have left the region on the brink of a humanitarian crisis.
The Sahel belt of Africa stretches from Senegal to Eritrea.