Africa

4 West African countries launch joint anti-terror operation

Over 300 suspects caught, weapons, ammunition seized as part of operation in Sahel region

Fatma Esma Arslan   | 01.12.2021
4 West African countries launch joint anti-terror operation FILE PHOTO

DAKAR

The West African countries of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Togo jointly conducted an anti-terror operation, a top security official said on Wednesday.

Burkina Faso Security Minister Maxime Kone said that 5,720 troops were deployed to common borders under a security agreement signed in 2017.

More than 300 suspects were caught and large caches of weapons, ammunition, drugs, and bomb equipment were seized as part of the Koudanlgou 4 Zone 2 operation on Nov. 21-27, Kone said.

In the Sahel region, south of the Sahara Desert, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger have been attacked by terrorist groups al-Qaeda and Daesh/ISIS.

As these groups have expanded their sphere of influence to Togo and Ivory Coast by moving south in recent years, the countries of the region are trying to combat them with joint operations.

The fight against terrorism remains a top issue for Sahel countries despite the French military operation Barkhane, the European Task Force Takuba, and the UN Financial Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) in the region.

The Burkina Faso government came under severe criticism after the death of 58 soldiers in two terrorist attacks in November.

The attacks led to protests calling for the resignation of President Roch Kabore and accusing the government of failure in the fight against terrorism.

Al-Qaeda- and Daesh/ISIS-linked terrorist groups in neighboring Mali have been carrying out frequent attacks in the north and east of Burkina Faso since 2015.

Though Burkina Faso carries out joint military operations with its neighbor Niger, it has been unable to eliminate terrorist groups based in Mali.

According to UN data, more than 17,500 people had to leave the country for security reasons this year.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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