DAKAR, December 6 (Reuters) – West African armies need a new strategy to tackle the growing jihadist threat, as improved technologies have given militants the upper hand as they seek to destabilize the Sahel region, Nigerian President Mohamed Bazoum said on Monday.
Groups linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State have expanded their reach in the central Sahel since 2017, staging regular attacks that have killed thousands and displaced millions in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Faso.
“Advances in technology now allow rebel groups to access a number of tools that were once the prerogative of state forces,” Bazoum said, noting the use of satellite phones, motorcycles that make them more mobile than the army and advanced weapons smuggled from Libya.
“The Sahelian states must adopt a military strategy suited to the challenges of their techniques to make the war less unbalanced”, he declared.
He was speaking at the Dakar Forum on Peace and Security which opened on Monday in the Senegalese capital, bringing together several European heads of state and ministers to discuss stability and cooperation in post-Africa. pandemic.
Senegalese President Macky Sall said the fiscal tightening of many African countries has meant their armies have become less well equipped to counter the growing jihadist threat in recent years.
“Security is priceless, but it comes at a cost,” he said in his introductory speech.
Communities in conflict-affected regions of the Sahel are increasingly losing patience with their governments’ inability to stem the violence, which persists despite the presence of European troops and UN peacekeepers.
Civilians on Monday closed transport, gas stations and businesses in central Mali towns, Bandiagara and Bankass, after at least 31 people were killed in an attack https://www.reuters.com/ world / africa / militants-kill-least- 31-central-mali-say-local-authorities-2021-12-03 on a passenger bus there last week.
“There are too many dead. We demand security measures,” Bandiagara mayor Housseyni Saye told Reuters by telephone.
Neighboring Burkina Faso has also been hit by anti-government protests in recent weeks, prompting President Roch Kaboré to pledge military reform https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/burkina-army-says-three-soldiers- killed- fight-with-militants-2021-11-25.
The unrest follows the deaths of more than 60 members of the security forces and at least a dozen civilians in militant attacks in November.
At least four other government soldiers were killed in eastern Burkina Faso on Sunday when their reconnaissance patrol struck an improvised explosive, a military and security source said on Monday.
(Reporting by Cooper Inveen and Alessandra Prentice; Additional reporting by Tiemoko Diallo in Bamako and Thiam Ndiaga in Burkina Faso; Writing by Nellie Peyton, editing by William Maclean)
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