DAKAR, Senegal (AA) – Fatalities in terrorist attacks in Africa’s Sahel region have surged by over 2,000% over the past 15 years, according to a recent report.
“The Sahel region in sub-Saharan Africa is now the epicenter of terrorism … accounting for more terrorism deaths in 2022 than both South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) combined,” said the 2023 Global Terrorism Index published by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace.
“Across the Sahel, 22,074 people were killed in 6,408 terror attacks between 2007 and 2022,” the report said.
The region was the most impacted area of the world, representing 43% of global terrorism deaths, a staggering spike from just 1% in 2007, it added.
Four of the 10 countries most affected by terrorism last year were in the Sahel region, according to the report, which analyzed terror attacks in 163 countries worldwide.
One of them was Burkina Faso, where terrorism deaths climbed from 759 to 1,135, the largest global increase.
Burkina Faso now ranks second on the list of countries most impacted by terrorism, behind just Afghanistan, the report said.
Mali was ranked fourth, Nigeria stood eighth, and Niger was at 10th spot on the latest index.
Most countries in the Sahel were colonized by France, and the former colonial power continues to actively intervene, with anti-militancy forces stationed and actively engaged in the region for years. However, French intervention has only exacerbated and intensified problems, fanning the flames of violent militancy and resistance by insurgent groups who resent Western neocolonial influence in the region.