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African Leaders Urge New Strategies in Combatting Violent Extremism

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Ayize claire

Apr 22, 2024

 The continent has witnessed a surge in attacks by groups linked to Islamic State and al Qaeda

Nigerian soldier ready to tackle an extremist sect called boko haram.

At a recent security summit held in Lagos, Nigeria, African leaders discussed the urgent need for revitalization of institutions combating violent extremism across the continent.

The summit highlighted proposals for a new standby military force and enhanced autonomy in peace-keeping operations.


The continent has witnessed a surge in attacks by groups linked to Islamic State and al Qaeda, particularly in regions such as the Sahel, Somalia, and Mozambique. These extremist factions target both civilians and military personnel, significantly destabilizing the region.


Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe emphasized the disproportionate impact on the Sahel, noting the increasing threats faced by coastal states, including Togo. “The institutions that have been in place for decades are no longer sufficient to address the current security challenges,” Gnassingbe stated.


Moussa Faki, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, presented alarming data at the summit. "In the past year, daily attacks by extremist groups in Africa increased to eight, resulting in an average of 44 fatalities, compared to four attacks and 18 deaths in previous years,” Faki explained. The ongoing violence has not only led to the loss of civilian lives but also fueled military coups across several nations.


Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, pointed out that the Sahel alone accounts for half of the global deaths caused by terrorism. This statistic underlines the critical importance of international support and cooperation in addressing these security issues.


The departure of 1,500 French troops from Niger last year marked a significant shift in the West’s strategy in the Sahel, especially following the July coup that led to the establishment of a military junta in Niger and the expulsion of French forces.

The summit concluded with a unified call for the overhaul of existing security mechanisms and the establishment of robust military capabilities to counteract the growing threat of extremism.

Leaders emphasized the need for greater control over peace-keeping efforts and the urgent formation of a coordinated military response.

This summit represents a pivotal moment for African nations as they seek to forge a collective path towards stability and security in the face of rising extremism.

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