Published on 30 Apr, 2020.
Armed attacks in the Sahel remains high amidst the global C-19 pandemic. Insecurity remains high as security forces continue to be attacked throughout the region and particularly in northern Burkina Faso. In Mali negotiations for the release of opposition leader is ongoing as some members of entourage have been released. Systemic violence against Fulanis continues as Human Right watch issues report of security forces torturing and killing unarmed Fulani men in Burkina Faso. The situation in the Sahel in the next 4-8 weeks remains grim as resources—security forces are overstretched and redirected to assist with managing the C-19 pandemic. This naturally, will be taken advantage of by insurgents and human plight will be exacerbated with the onset of the rainy season and seasonal challenges associated with this.
Amidst the jihadist violence in the north and northeastern regions, violence against civilians especially the Fulani community has increased. The Human Right Watch issued a report of 31 unarmed Fulani men who were tortured and killed by security forces in Djibo, Soum Province. Security forces suffered some attacks as jihadists presumed to be JNIM militants overran a military base at Sollé in the north killing 5 soldiers and seizing several vehicles and weapons before burning the base. Militants also suffered some significant losses as an attack militant attack on a military base in Boucle du Mouhoun region resulted in significant militant fatalities.
Militant activity has been active in Mali over the last four weeks. On 6th April, JNIM militants launched a successful attack on an army camp in Bam, Gao area, killing 25 soldiers as well as capturing arms, vehicles and other equipment before burning the camp. Reports also indicate an expansion of JNIM into the Kayes region after militants overrun security forces. ISGS fighters were however forced to retreat from Mopti region—Dialloube after over 100 ISGS members were killed in clashes with JNIM militants. Although clashes among both groups had existed, fighting in such magnitude has ever occurred in the region and is extending to the Burkina Faso border—the Mondoro area. ISGS have also attacked civilian communities perceived to be loyal to JNIM in the Tin Tabakat area. Negotiations for the release of opposition leader—Soumaila Cisse is still ongoing as 5 of his entourage were released. Malian electoral authorities also announced that Cisse retained his seat after the first round of legislative elections. Malian security forces have also been accused of human rights violations after soldiers allegedly carried out summary executions and extrajudicial killings in Mopti’s Kounari commune.
Jihadist attacks continued in west and south-east as the capital battles with C-19. Presumed ISGS assailants launched a large-scale attack on a position of the Nigerian army in the Tillaberi area. Military forces suffered only limited casualties but reportedly killed dozens of militants. The most devasting attack over the last 4 weeks was an attack by unknown jihadists in Tamalolo killing 67 individuals. Border towns across the Chadian –Nigerien border is likely to be a refuge for Boko Haram militants as the Chadian offensive in the last few weeks has resulted in the withdrawal of Boko Haram fighters from Chad.
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