The Burkina Faso attack shows how al-Qaeda is exploiting weak governments in West Africa

Omar Mohammed reports: The attacks in Burkina Faso that left 28 people dead and 55 injured point to an increasing security challenge in West Africa, where, analysts say, militant groups affiliated to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State are taking advantage of fragile and weak states to hit western targets.

This is the second time in a couple of months that militants launched an assaulted directed at an establishment popular with foreigners. In neighboring Mali last November, in a similar fashion to what happened at the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, gunmen stormed the Radisson Hotel in Bamako and took 170 people hostage and ultimately killing 21 people many of whom westerners.

In both of these cases, the militant group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility.

AQIM, which traces its roots to the Algerian civil conflict in the 1990s and became an al-Qaeda affiliate in mid-2000s, has increasingly focused their strategies on targets located in countries that are either weak or unstable. In west Africa, it has targeted Algeria, Niger, Mali killing people and carrying out kidnappings for ransom, all done with the objective of ridding the region of what they perceive to be the corrupting influence of the West. [Continue reading…]

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