The kidnapping and killing of children continues across the Sahel
Children bear the brunt of the devastating impact of Jihadism in the Sahel region, as they face the dual horrors of being targeted and killed, as well as being recruited and displaced from their homes.
A recent report by Amnesty International, titled “I Have Nothing Left Except Myself: The Worsening Impact on Children of Conflict in the Tillabéri Region of Niger,” highlights the impact jihadism has on children in the Sahel region of Africa.
“Since the start of 2021, the conflict in Niger’s western Tillabéri region, which borders Mali and Burkina Faso, has worsened significantly. Children have been killed, recruited to participate in hostilities, deprived of the opportunity to go to school, and forcibly displaced,” according to the report.
Niger’s western Tillabéri region lies within Africa’s Sahel, a belt of land immediately south of the Sahara Desert that stretches east-west across the continent. The region has received global attention due to the marked rise in extremism experienced over the past decade in what is now considered an epidemic of jihadism.
The radicalized Islamic groups plaguing the Sahel are attempting to establish a caliphate in the region and frequently target Christians in their attacks. Jihadists have had control over much of northern Mali since a coup attempt in 2012, which has enabled them to recruit, train, and equip fighters for nearly a decade. From there, fighters have crossed the borders into Niger and Burkina Faso, persecuting anyone who opposes their extremist agenda, especially Christian believers.