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Analysis of Security Dynamics in West Africa from October 2022 to June 2023

The West Africa region has been impacted by violent conflict, often characterized by insurgencies, terrorism, intercommunal clashes, and criminal activities. Several factors contribute to the violent conflict in the Greater Sahel, including socio-economic challenges, political instability, weak governance, and competition over resources. The region faces numerous development challenges, such as poverty, high unemployment rates, limited access to education and healthcare, and food insecurity. These conditions, coupled with a lack of strong institutions and poor governance, create an environment conducive to conflict and exploitation by various armed groups. Jihadist and extremist groups have gained prominence in the Greater Sahel, aiming to establish Islamic states, implementing strict interpretations of Sharia law, and challenging state authority. Some of the prominent armed groups operating in the region include Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), affiliated with al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS). These groups have conducted attacks on military and civilian targets, committed human rights abuses, and engaged in smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, and other criminal activities. The violent conflicts in West Africa have had devastating consequences for the affected populations. This situation led to mass displacement, loss of lives, human rights violations, and hindered socio-economic development. The conflicts have also exacerbated existing intercommunal tensions, leading to cycles of revenge and further instability.
Dengiyefa Angalapu, Nichole Grossman

Summary Of Discussions On Emerging Issues That Will Shape The 2023 General Election In Nigeria

The 2023 general election will be a defining moment not just for Nigeria but also for West Africa. The region has suffered democratic decline and experienced coups and counter-coups in the past three years. However, beyond the hopes of the emergence of transformational leadership that will change the country's fate, there are existing challenges that threaten the conduct of free, fair, and credible elections in Nigeria. Nigeria's 2023 election will be the seventh to be conducted in the fourth republic. It will be unique for two reasons. First, it will not have an incumbent running. Second, the country has promulgated the 2022 Electoral Act, bringing new changes to election guidelines and regulations. However, the 2023 election is one that many analysts speculate will be fraught with severe challenges. Nigeria's six geopolitical zones are currently embroiled in different conflicts, ranging from farmer-herder clashes witnessed in all the zones to banditry and terrorist threats in the northwest and north-central and secessionist agitations in the southeast. These conflict situations are likely to deteriorate further with increased political violence that could affect the safety of election materials, personnel and even voters. In addition, the security situation could affect voter turnout – despite ongoing voter registration already surpassing 85 million registered voters - and even the legitimacy of the results.
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