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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

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