Crisis grows in West Africa. Who cares?
The UN says conflict in Africa’s Sahel region is “unprecedented.” More than five million people throughout West Africa need urgent help. Nearly a half-million people have been internally displaced in Burkina Faso alone.
Islamic terrorism and tribal conflict drive the region’s unrest. Spokesman Greg Musselman says Voice of the Martyrs Canada is increasing their efforts in Burkina Faso as persecution continues to rise.
Rising regional unrest
Specific definitions vary, but the UN organizes 16 nations into the West Africa region. The U.S. Council on Foreign Relations classifies crisis in two nations – Nigeria and Mali – as either “worsening” or “unchanging”.
Nigeria’s Islamic militant group, Boko Haram, has been growing in power and reach since 2009. Read our extensive coverage here. Today, Nigeria faces threats on three fronts: Boko Haram, the Islamic State, and Fulani herdsmen. Mali’s situation has grown increasingly worse since 2015; Open Doors USA places Mali at #24 on this year’s World Watch List.
As noted here, Islamic terrorism and tribal conflict are behind the latest spike in regional unrest. Refugees escaping violence in Nigeria or Mali flee to neighboring countries, only to encounter scarce resources or new threats.
Take Burkina Faso, for example.
Persecution in Burkina Faso
According to the UN, between 23- and 31,000 people sought refuge in Burkina Faso when violence erupted in Mali. Now, they might be on the move again.
Mali’s terrorism crept into Burkina Faso in 2015. Extremist violence hit a new high this year. In fact, there have already been twice as many attacks compared to 2018’s total. Both Christians and Muslims are suffering; violence over the weekend targeted a mosque in northern Burkina Faso.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth