2015 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Sahel Region

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

Date: 2015 Description: MAG works to eliminate the threat of poorly secured SA/LW in Mali, which is in the Sahel region of Africa.  © Photo courtesy of MAG.

Since the fall of the Qadhafi regime in 2011 and outbreak of conflict in Mali in 2012, violence and instability have increased in the Sahel Region. Violent extremist organizations taking advantage of an influx of illicit arms and munitions from Libya pose a direct threat to established governments in the region. According to the United Nations, overall “terrorist attacks” in the Sahel and Maghreb Regions increased 60 percent from 2012 to 2013, totaling 230 incidents. In late 2012, a few of these violent extremist organizations assumed control of almost half of Mali before being pushed back by intervening French and African Union forces. The threat of attack by violent extremist organizations, increased illicit SA/LW trafficking, and poor state control of arms stockpiles significantly challenge peacebuilding and stability efforts in the region. Assisting countries in the Sahel and Maghreb Regions to improve their SA/LW stockpile security will strengthen their capacity to engage violent extremist organizations and reduce the likelihood of civilian casualties from spontaneous and cataclysmic explosions at munitions sites. In FY2014, the U.S. government contributed $4.6 million for CWD in Sahel.

The Department of State supported the following implementing partners:

• The government of Niger planned and conducted PSSM training.

• MAG improved PSSM capacity, carried out destruction activities, and completed security and safety improvements to Chadian and Nigerian stockpiles; and began a weapons-cutting program in Mali.

• NATO Support Agency supported the second NATO Partnership for Peace/Mediterranean Dialogue Trust Fund project for weapons security and destruction in Mauritania.