The year 2021 was a horrendous period for the region. All the problems that one can imagine were there, from the massacre of civilians to two military coups in Mali and of course, an aggressive expansion of the jihadist groups. Early last year saw the massacre of more than 100 people in two villages of northwestern Niger, in an area bordering Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

The targeting of civilians is now so intense that more civilians were killed than soldiers. Between January and November 2021, no fewer than 600 civilians in Niger were slaughtered in terrorist attacks, mainly conducted by an Islamic State offshoot. The figures of this year’s killings are shilling: 200 people were killed in March in a single operation in the Tahoua region, in northwestern Niger. Another 160 civilians were killed in June in the village of Solhan, northeastern Burkina Faso.

In this podcast, MEA Risk analyst and editor of The North Africa Journal, Arezki Daoud, address the Sahel’s descent to chaos as we start the year 2022.


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