Extremism and conflict in Liptako-Gourma


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Weak governance, local conflicts and violent extremism are intertwined in Liptako-Gourma. In the most recent attack on 13 August in Ouagadougou, 19 people were killed. The joint regional force of the G5 Sahel will be deployed in a complex security environment. In Mali, considered the epicenter of the crisis, tensions grew during debates on the revision of the constitution. The prospect of the 2018 presidential election also raises many questions.

With the Malian presidential election scheduled for July 2018, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) recognised that initiating a multifaceted dialogue and preventing pre- and post-election violence and creating a favourable environment for elections is critical.

This seminar, chaired by Lori-Anne Théroux-Bénoni, Office Director, ISS Dakar, highlighted the challenges Mali is facing regarding elections, including the polarisation of the political scene and concerns over the electoral process two years after the peace agreement between the Malian government and some armed groups was signed. The ISS also investigated the security challenges facing Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in the Liptako-Gourma region through the lens of the joint force of the G5-Sahel whose mandate includes fighting insecurity in the region. The ISS looked at the causes of the insecurity in the Liptako-Gourma region and raised concerns over security issues for countries in the region and the international community. Poor governance and the marginalisation of border regions of the three countries, coupled with insecurity due to violent extremism, organised crime and local conflicts, makes this transnational area prone to instability and vulnerable to various threats. 

The closed seminar featured presentations by Baba Dakono and Ibrahim Maïga, two ISS researchers based in Dakar, and targeted diplomats, subject-matter experts and organisations committed to promoting peace and security in the Sahel region.

Recommendations made during the seminar highlighted the importance of initiating an inclusive political dialogue, the implementation of reforms related to the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement and the creation of adequate structures and mechanisms to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections in Mali. Regarding the situation in the Liptako-Gourma, the concerned states should provide basic services to the population and emphasise the need for justice. In-depth understanding of the dynamics of local conflicts and the diverse needs of the population could provide solutions for addressing threats. 


Ibrahim Maïga, Email: imaiga@issafrica.org