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  • Author: Pauline Le Roux
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The Sahel has experienced the most rapid increase in militant Islamist group activity of any region in Africa in recent years. Violent events involving extremist groups in the region have doubled every year since 2015. In 2019, there have been more than 700 such violent episodes (see Figure 1). Fatalities linked to these events have increased from 225 to 2,000 during the same period. This surge in violence has uprooted more than 900,000 people, including 500,000 in Burkina Faso in 2019 alone. Three groups, the Macina Liberation Front (FLM),1 the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS),2 and Ansaroul Islam,3 are responsible for roughly two-thirds of the extremist violence in the central Sahel.4 Their attacks are largely concentrated in central Mali, northern and eastern Burkina Faso, and western Niger (see Figure 2). Multiple security and development responses have been deployed to address this crisis. While some progress has been realized, the continued escalation of extremist violence underscores that more needs to be done.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Sahel, Niger, Burkina Faso
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Increased attacks from militant Islamist groups in the Sahel coupled with cross-border challenges such as trafficking, migration, and displacement have prompted a series of regional and international security responses.
  • Topic: Security, Migration, Regional Cooperation, Trafficking , Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Sahel, Niger
  • Author: Emile Ouédraogo
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Vivid examples of weak military professionalism in Africa are regularly evident in news accounts of instability on the continent. Militaries collapsing in the face of attacks by irregular forces, coups, mutinies, looting, human rights abuses against civilian populations, corruption, and engagement in illicit trafficking activities are widespread. This pattern persists decades after the end of colonialism, despite billions of dollars of security sector assistance and longstanding rhetoric on the need to strengthen civil-military relations on the continent. The costs for not having established strong professional militaries are high: persistent instability, chronic poverty, deterred investment, and stunted democratization.
  • Topic: Security, Corruption, Human Rights, Post Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Davin O'Regan, Peter Thompson
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A string of crises stretching back more than a decade has rendered Guinea-Bissau one of the most fragile states in Africa. This recurring cycle of political violence, instability, and incapacitated governance, moreover, has accelerated in recent years, most notably following a military coup in April 2012. Exploiting this volatility, trafficking networks have coopted key political and military leaders and transformed Guinea-Bissau into a hub for illicit commerce, particularly the multibillion dollar international trade in cocaine. This has directly contributed to instability in Senegal, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, and elsewhere in Africa. European and African organized criminal groups have likewise established ties to the Guinea-Bissau trade. Drawn by the lucrative revenues, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other militant groups in West Africa have also been linked to Guinea-Bissau trafficking. Now commonly referred to as Africa's first narco-state, Guinea-Bissau has become a regional crossroads of instability.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Economics, Narcotics Trafficking, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Steven Livingston
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Political instability and violence in Africa are often the products of rumor and misinformation. Narrow interests have used politically biased newspapers and radio programming to spread disinformation and champion politically divisive causes. Meanwhile, reasonable opposition voices have been kept silent and shuttered from public life, often by repressive, even violent means. This remains a serious concern across Africa.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Paul D. Williams
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The protection of civilians is a critical issue in African security. Nearly 600,000 civilians in 27 African countries have been massacred in the past two decades. Tens of millions more have been killed in battles, displaced, or perished from indirect causes of such attacks and the continent's armed conflicts. Not only are civilians the main victims of Africa's wars, but also an increasing number of United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions have called upon peacekeepers to protect them. For many, civilian protection is the very essence of peacekeeping. This is a driving rationale behind the unanimously endorsed and UN-mandated “responsibility to protect” principle—the idea that governments have a responsibility to prevent and curtail genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing. Civilian protection is also a crucial part of forging durable political settlements because any peace agreement that tolerates continued violence against civilians will not provide a solid foundation on which to build legitimate governance structures.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Human Welfare, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations