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News > World

UN Security Council Debates Military Group to Address Violence in West Africa

  • UN Security Council at a regular meeting in New York, US, May 15, 2019.

    UN Security Council at a regular meeting in New York, US, May 15, 2019. | Photo: EFE

Published 16 May 2019

Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger created the Sahel Group, a joint military operation, to combat irregular armed groups.

The United Nations Security Council held a session Thursday on peace and security in Africa, which focused on the Sahel Group of Five's Joint Force (G5 Sahel), a military assistance operation, which Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger established in 2017 to combat irregular armed groups.


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Reports are expected from the UN Undersecretary-General for Africa, Bintou Keita, and from the Burkina Faso's Foreign Affairs Minister Alpha Barry, who holds the G5-Sahel's rotating presidency.

As scheduled, Keita spoke on the most recent report of by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres referring to the G5-Sahel joint force, which has recently carried out four operations after having suspended them due to a June 2018 attack against its headquarters in the Malian town of Sevare.

Efforts are now being made to activate the joint force completely, given that security conditions, particularly in Mali and Burkina Faso, have deteriorated due to "side effects" from the political situations in neighboring countries such as the Ivory Coast, Tongo and Benin.

Regarding the worsening of regional security, Reuters reported that the Islamic State group claimed responsibility Thursday for an attack on soldiers from Niger, for which the death toll was increased to 28.

Another factor complicating Sahel's geopolitical scene derives from the situation in Burkina Faso, where the government declared a state of emergency in 6 of its 13 regions on December 2018. This decision was taken due to the growing violence among communities and the increased presence of irregular armed groups.

The issue of financing and providing resources to support the joint force also occupied the G5-Sahel debates. During a mission to Mali and Burkina Faso carried out in March, UN Security Council members examined the joint force's operational status and the deterioration of security in region. 

The G5-Sahel joint force, which was conceived as a way to fight extremist and criminal groups in West Africa still requires a great deal of fundraising — it has not yet become fully operational.

For this reason, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (Minusma) is continuing to provide logistical support as established by UN Security Council 2391 resolution approved in 2017.

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