Number of terrorist attacks in Africa’s Sahel region “continues to rise” According to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterreswho arrived in Niger’s capital Niamey on Monday, the second of three countries he visited on a West African tour to mark the holy month of Ramadan.
Speaking after meeting Niger’s President, Mohamed Bazoum, he said that the “international community must realize” that terrorism “is not just a regional or African problem, but one that threatens the whole world.”
Peace, stability, prosperity
He repeated his call for more resources to tackle the problem, saying that “peace, stability and prosperity in Niger and across the Sahel remains an absolute priority for the United Nations.”
President Mohamed Bazoum acknowledged Guterres’ commitment to finding a solution to the terrorism problem, saying it was “dynamic and evolving and we need to adapt our response.”
Meanwhile, the former President of Nigeria, Mahamadou Issoufouapproved the request of the Chair of the African Union and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to lead an The Joint African Union (AU)-UN Strategic Assessment on security in the Sahel, with a focus on developing recommendations on how to strengthen the overall international response to the security crisis in the Sahel.
The assessment will be carried out in consultation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Joint Secretariat of the Group of Five (G5).
Civilians as victims
The UN says that insecurity in Niger is driven by a number of different actors and as the UN chief noted “civilians are often the first victims” when violence strikes. Figures show that nearly eight out of ten victims of the attacks were civilians.
Various extremist armed groups operate mostly in the Tillabéri, Tahoua and Diffa regions of the country’s northwest, south and southeast, respectively. In the Maradi region to the south, armed groups operating from Nigeria frequently cross the border to carry out attacks; Armed bandits in Niger are also a significant threat.
In 2021, the Global Terrorism Index linked 588 deaths in Niger to terrorism, the highest terror-related death toll in the last decade. In the Tillabéri region, deaths have more than doubled between 2020 and 2021.
Insecurity is just one part of what the Secretary-General has called a “multidimensional crisis of extraordinary scale.” Climate change, increasing food insecurity, malnutrition and record high food prices, fueled by the war in Ukraine, are all contributing to unprecedented humanitarian needs.
Women in Niger prepare fields for the rainy season as part of an anti-desertification initiative.
The United Nations says the number of people critically food insecure has more than doubled since 2020, and estimates that 15 percent of Niger’s 25 million people will need humanitarian assistance by 2022.
In a country where 80 percent of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods, insecurity and climate change have contributed to their inability to forage for themselves.
The 2019 Human Development Index, which measures indicators of life expectancy, education and income, ranks Niger as the least developed of the 189 countries on the list.
Hope for the future
Despite the many challenges Niger faces, the UN Secretary-General told media in Niamey that there is still “hope” and that the UN must live up to that expectation and support Nigerian youth, and especially women, to access opportunities to create better lives. future.
He said the “positive momentum in Niger” could lead to a virtuous cycle of change across the region.
Mr Guterres continues on to Nigeria on Tuesday.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN News.
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In Niger, Guterres Calls for More Resources to Counter Terror Attacks in the Sahel. Africa
Source link In Niger, Guterres Calls for More Resources to Counter Terror Attacks in the Sahel. Africa