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January 23, 2020

Nigeria
Borno State Increasingly Isolated as Boko Haram Threatens Roads

Over the last couple of weeks, Boko Haram has increased attacks on the road from Maiduguri to Kano, the only remaining safe highway of the six major roads that connect Maiduguri with the rest of the state and country, according to Nigeria media. A major report on the increasing isolation of Maiduguri closely follows Boko Haram attacks on transmission lines supplying the city with electricity. Destroyed bridges and frequent attacks on travelers have cut off not only Maiduguri residents, but many other residents of Borno state from accessing or travelling to Borno’s neighboring states.

The city gate of Maiduguri along Bulumkutu road, on July 26, 2019, in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria.

January 22, 2020

Nigeria
Boko Haram Cuts Electricity to Maiduguri in Northern Nigeria

On January 20, the electric company serving Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, publicly stated that Boko Harm attacks on transmission lines and infrastructure had cut electricity service to the city on January 17, removing Maiduguri from the national grid. The electric company had promised to restore power soon.

A Boko Haram flag flies on transmission lines in Damasak, Borno, Nigeria, on March 24, 2015.

January 21, 2020

Nigeria
Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: January 11–17

This update represents violence in Nigeria and related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger from January 11 to 17, 2020.

Map of Nigeria shaded to reflect NST-documented deaths per state.

January 15, 2020

Gambia
President Barrow’s Broken Promise Threatens Gambia’s Post-Jammeh Future

The Gambia has found itself on the brink of a new political crisis, just three years after the dramatic fall of longtime strongman Yahya Jammeh. Protestors filled the streets of the capital Banjul last month, demanding President Adama Barrow’s resignation after three years in office.  Earlier this year, Barrow began to lay the groundwork for extending his tenure in office. In late December, Barrow formed a new political party, the National Peoples Party, which would allow him to contest next year's presidential election. 

Gambia's President Adama Barrow sits in the chair reserved for heads of state before delivering his address during the seventy-third session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 25, 2018.

January 14, 2020

France
France and G5 Sahel Recommit Themselves as U.S. Mulls Drawdown

President Emmanuel Macron of France hosted a summit in Pau, southwestern France, with the heads of state of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauretania, and Niger. The purpose of the summit was to improve military coordination against insurgents with a particular focus on the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) and al-Qaeda affiliate Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM). Macron also sought, and received from the African chiefs of state, an endorsement of France’s continued presence in the region. He, in turn, pledged a small increase in the number of French soldiers to be deployed there. 

France's President Emmanuel Macron with the G5 Sahel heads of state deliver a news conference as part of the G5 Sahel summit on the situation in the Sahel region in Pau, France January 13, 2020

January 9, 2020

West Africa
Jihadi Violence and Terror Surging in West Africa

In a follow up to his remarks in December, Mohamed Iban, Chambas, the UN special representative sand head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) sounded the alarm on growing militant and jihadi violence. In his January 8 briefing to the UN Security Council, he said the “devastating surge” in terrorism has “shaken public confidence.” He focused on Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, where casualties from terrorism have increased fivefold since 2016, with 4,000 deaths in 2019 compared to 770 in 2016.

Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, briefs the Security Council on West Africa, on January 10, 2019, in New York.

January 8, 2020

Nigeria
The Islamic State Executes Eleven Over Christmas in Nigeria

Members of the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA), a faction of Boko Haram, recently executed eleven hostages on camera. The video, released to a Nigerian Journalist on December 26, alleged that all the hostages executed were Christians, and that their murders were in retaliation for the killing of Abubakar al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, by U.S. forces in October. It is ISWA that has identified them as Christians, but the identities of the eleven murdered have not been released.

A bearded man with Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's appearance speaks in this screen grab taken from video released on April 29, 2019.

January 7, 2020

India
Global Cities in the World’s Largest Democracy

Over the past 25 years, two defining trends in foreign policy have gained momentum. The first, and most obvious, has been the gradual shift from the post-Cold War moment to an increasingly multipolar…

A laundry and high-rise buildings in Mumbai, India

January 7, 2020

Iran
Death of Iranian General Soleimani Provokes Muted Reaction in Africa’s Giants

Nigeria and South Africa are the giants of Africa, with the two largest economies on the continent.  Both have had long-term relationships with Iran, though South Africa’s has been the closer. Thus far, the official reaction to Soleimani’s death from Nigeria and South Africa has been muted or non-existent, reflecting caution. Though the Nigerian inspector general of police has put his forces on “red alert,” likely fearing action by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) or other alleged Iranian proxies, there has been no apparent word from the government. In South Africa, the fiercest reaction came from the African National Congress (ANC), while Naledi Pandor, the South African foreign minister, called for calm.

Women hold pictures of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, who was killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, during a funeral procession and burial at his hometown in Kerman, Iran, on January 7, 2020.

December 26, 2019

West Africa
Envoy for West Africa and the Sahel Delivers Grim Message to UNSC

On Monday, December 16, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, special representative and head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) delivered a grim message to the UN Security Council. He characterized West Africa as “shaken by unprecedented violence,” involving terrorism, organized crime, and intercommunal violence.

Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, briefs the Security Council on West Africa, on January 10, 2019, in New York.