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Foreign Terrorist Fighters in the Sahel-Sahara Region of Africa: Recommendations for stemming a long-lasting threat (April 2022)

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Summary Overview

The phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) poses a serious threat to global peace, security and stability; particularly in various African countries. Analysts have cautioned about the relocation of FTFs following the collapse of the so-called Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) Caliphate, including to terrorism-affected countries across Africa. This poses grave implications for these countries and their respective regions. This policy paper presents options and recommendations for addressing the threat of FTFs in Africa’s Sahel-Sahara region. It is based on findings from a field study conducted in Tunisia, Mali and Niger. The findings show that the flow of FTFs in this region is likely to be long-lasting, with long-term and near-permanent impacts from a security and socioeconomic perspective. FTF operations affect trade and economic activities, undermine investor confidence, and threaten the psycho-social wellbeing of people residing in these countries. Despite efforts by governments and international partners to address the phenomenon, these threats persist. This points to a need for a new approaches to deal with the FTF situation in the Sahel-Sahara.