For the founder of the AfrikaJom Center think tank, a member of the Sahel Citizens League, the protection of civilians must be placed at the heart of strategy.
Change the priority to break the deadlock that the Sahel region has been obsessed with for nearly a decade. This is the theme of the Sahel Citizens League, an alliance of 48 African and international civil society organizations in July 2020. Its first report was released on April 13 as a roadmap for leaders and institutions. Prioritize the protection of civilians, address the root causes of crises, respond to humanitarian emergencies, and fight impunity: Four pillars have been established to change the situation in many ways.
For the coalition, the policy failures undertaken so far in the fight against insecurity are painful. Since 2017, attacks on civilians in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have increased fivefold. In these countries, jihadists are expanding their scope of control, exacerbating inter-ethnic conflicts. For the Senegalese Alioune Tine, the founder and coalition member of the West African think tank AfrikaJom Center, there is an urgent need to get rid of purely military means.In the interview World africa The independent expert on the human rights situation in Mali can be traced back to the roots of evil that plagued the Sahel region and the way to improve the lives of civilians.
Since 2013, the security response has been characterized by mobilizing an impressive number of soldiers and investing a lot of money [2 milliards d’euros par an pour la lutte antiterroriste], Did not produce any significant results on the ground. According to maps drawn by certain countries, the only safe area is still the capital. 2020 is the deadliest and most tragic year for Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger with nearly 2,440 people dead. The humanitarian cost is very heavy. There are nearly 2 million refugees and internally displaced persons. The reality is that we are in a deadlock, chaos and uncertainty. Getting rid of complete security is just a simple requirement.
Few foreign troops have managed to save a country from its invaders. Considering what is happening in the Sahel, we can see that the limitations of outsourcing security issues have been greatly exceeded. African countries cannot control the strategy, countermeasures or diplomatic and financial resources of the Sahel region.
I think we would rather “Africize” them.In order to effectively combat terrorism through the African Union, the African continent [Union africaine] Economic Community of West African States [Communauté économique des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest], The troops should be mobilized on the front lines and the means to prevent attacks on the Gulf of Guinea countries should be found. This is certainly the next goal of the jihadists. The challenges ahead are huge.
Given that it is impossible to defeat jihadists on the ground, security continues to deteriorate and its tragic impact on civilians’ daily lives, this is a realistic solution. Almost all the Sahel states have retained the principle of dialogue with local jihadists. This dialogue was also encouraged during the last G5 Sahel summit in N’Djamena. [en février]. In some countries, this has become a reality. We strongly recommend it in the report.
Impunity maintains a vicious circle of violence and revenge. There is a serious crisis in the rule of law, which is related to the decomposition process of the post-colonial countries in the Sahel. The absence of the state in certain areas and the apparent weakness of the judiciary make impunity the norm, not the exception. In this case, most communities are responsible for their own safety, and militias have proliferated. They are completely illegal and act with the tacit or complicit support of local authorities or security forces.
In many cases, investigations have failed due to lack of political will or human resources. In many places affected by violence, justice does not work. This inaction exacerbates the feeling of impunity, and the alleged perpetrators of this crime will benefit from it.
The most obvious examples are election and universal suffrage crises. It traverses the entire Sahel region. No opposition in any country accepts a presidential election. These differences make the country more vulnerable. On the contrary, the challenges and threats facing the Sahel region should lead to a coalition of political forces. Despite all the alterations, the post-colonial system is everywhere, and this is ultimately a political failure. The only answer they bring to democracy is authoritarianism. These soft dictatorships are unreasonable: they arouse resistance and violence everywhere. This governance crisis affects the country’s ability to protect civilians.
Civilians in some communities participating in jihadist groups are often regarded as terrorists or complicit in themselves. Just because of their identities, they are often targets of military reprisals. Compared with security issues, respect for human rights has always been regarded as a secondary issue. We must reverse our values and place human safety at the core of our strategy.
The Bounty issue and the disputes it caused can only be resolved through the establishment of an international and independent investigation committee. I believe that all parties affected by this tragedy should agree to this proposal.