Terrorist attacks surging in Sahel and West Africa: UN envoy

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations (UN) envoy for West Africa and the Sahel said the region has experienced “a devastating surge in terrorist attacks against civilian and military targets” in recent months.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas told the UN Security Council that the “unprecedented terrorist violence” has shaken public confidence.

He said terrorist attacks have increased five-fold in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger since 2016 with over 4,000 deaths reported in 2019 compared to an estimated 770 deaths in 2016. In Burkina Faso, deaths rose even more dramatically from about 80 in 2016 to over 1,800 in 2019, he said. “Most significantly, the geographic focus of terrorist attacks has shifted eastwards from Mali to Burkina Faso and is increasingly threatening West African coastal states,” Chambas said.