July 20, 2024

The Sub-Saharan region is witnessing a worrying and increasing rate of attacks by insurgents, heightening the tension in the Sahel area.

Since 2020, the Sahel region has been hit with three military takeovers, with the last happening in Niger, in late July 2023.

Reports indicate that these military takeovers have been fueled by anger at the bloodshed caused by Jihadist activities in the Sahel region.

On Tuesday, terrorists who had laid ambush near the Niger border with Mali attacked Nigerien soldiers, killing dozens and leaving others suffering various degrees of injuries.

The attack, the deadliest since the July 26 coup, has raised concerns about escalating Jihadist activities in the region, further denting the image of the continent.

A statement by the country’s Ministry of Defense, released late Tuesday, confirmed the attack and said that 17 Nigerien soldiers had been killed and 20 injured.

The soldiers were a detachment of the Nigerien Armed Forces (FAN) moving between Boni and Torodi.

They were victims of a terrorist ambush near the town of Koutougou, 52 kilometers southwest of Tordi. An unconfirmed report by the Nigerien junta claimed that at least 100 attackers were killed in retaliation.


The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has condemned the attack on the Nigerien security forces and supporters of the junta.The bloc is preparing to deploy troops to Niger to forcefully restore the nation to constitutional rule.

On Thursday, August 17 and Friday, August 18, 2023 defense ministers of the member states held meetings in Accra to discuss the plan of deployment.

Information available from the meetings indicated that all member states, except those with military rule and Cape Verde, have agreed to send troops.

The bloc says it is ready to deploy the standby troops, should all diplomatic efforts fail.

This will not be the first time such a warning has been issued. It is not clear whether the junta will again disobey the call for diplomatic engagements, as it did initially, which influenced the decision to activate standby forces.


In the midst of the storm, the continent has hit a snag in uniting to fight for a common goal. The ECOWAS has failed to have the backing of the African Union (AU) on the decision to deploy troops to restore constitutional order in Niger.

On Monday, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council met in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to deliberate on the Niger crisis.

According to information available, many southern and northern African member countries rejected the ECOWAS proposal to stage a military intervention unless the Nigerien military junta cedes power and reinstates President Bazoum.


However, Tuesday’s attack on the soldiers is said to have been motivated by the threat of military intervention by ECOWAS, coupled with the internal extremist threat.

On the back of the deteriorating state of security in Niger, there has been the emergence of a new militia, called the Volunteers for the Defense of Niger.

Reports suggest that the militia is recruiting volunteers to support the nation’s armed forces.


Niger’s western border area, which meets with central Mali and northern Burkina Faso has in the last decade become the epicentre of violence, caused by armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) in the Sahel region.


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