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West African countries mobilise to counter jihadists

West African countries mobilise to counter jihadists

Terrorism threat

Following the recent terrorists attacks in Burkina Faso, west African countries are on the alert against any attacks planned by jihadists in the zone.

Security measures have been tightened in hotels and other sensitive areas in west African countries amidst fears of a regional jihadist attack.

Senegalese police announced on Monday that they had arrested over 900 people as a response to the terrorism threat. The Corniche area in Dakar where numerous hotels are located has also been highly secured.

Niger’s interior minister Hassoumi Massaoudou announced last week that terror suspects had been arrested in the past weeks in Niamey.

Meanwhile, in Sierra Leone, officials have refuted rumours of a possible attack of hotels but have gone ahead to re-enforce security measures using local police, private guards and video surveillance.

French embassies in Dakar and Abidjan have already called on their citizens to avoid crowded areas.

Bakary Sambe, a political and history lecturer, underlines that “Senegal has remained a stability model in a highly unstable zone” in comparison to Mali in the east and Nigeria in the south which have been victims of Islamic extremism.

Sambe thinks the privileged position of Senegal exposes it as a symbolic target of an attack due to its key interests.

Mohamed Fall Oumere, a specialist on security matters and publisher of Mauritanian newspaper “La Tribune”, has advised that special security measures should be implemented in Ivory Coast, Senegal and Mauritania.

“The jihadists are passing across messages in three phases. They want to prove to France that the intervention in Mali since 2013 cannot solve any problem. Then to French allies that they are targeted. To ISIS as part of competition that will unfortunately cause damage,” Oumere said.