Event Details

04 Oct


04 Oct 2023
3 PM

Add to Google Calendar

Click here to register

A wave of attacks hit the Bounkani region in north-eastern Côte d’Ivoire in June 2020, illustrating the presence of violent extremist groups as far north as the coastal states of West Africa, far from their bastions of influence in the central Sahel.

Since then, the population has been threatened and intimidated, entire villages taken hostage, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted and attacks mounted on defence and security force positions.

At the same time, an increase in criminal activities such as hold-ups, cattle rustling and kidnappings has also been reported. Although several sources attribute the amplification of these three illicit economies to violent extremist groups, and sometimes rightly so, the analysis needs to be nuanced because many dynamics are at work, in parallel, which depend on a number of factors. The north of Côte d’Ivoire has long been a major trafficking zone because of its porous borders with Burkina Faso and Mali, while illicit markets proliferated during the armed rebellion that split the country in two (north and south) between 2002 and 2011. The dynamics of conflict and crime therefore need to be analyzed in this post-conflict context, as the legacy of the rebellion in the north of the country is still being felt today.

Since 2020, the threat of violent extremism has spread to the Bounkani region (Téhini, Tougbo, Bolé, Togolokaye, Kolobougou, Gôgô, Zèpou, etc.) and the Tchologo region (Kafolo), both of which border Mali and Burkina Faso. Although pressure from violent extremist groups has decreased in 2022, with fewer attacks and criminal activities recorded, this does not mean that the vulnerabilities and risks faced by north-eastern Côte d’Ivoire have disappeared. Comoé National Park, a protected area straddling the two regions, appears to be particularly vulnerable to both extremism and criminality. According to local communities, the park harbours fighters and criminal groups who take advantage of its 11 500 square kilometres of forest to carry out incursions, withdraw after attacks, hide, organize and stockpile equipment, as well as exploit subsoil resources, particularly gold.

Subscribe to the WEA-Obs dedicated mailing list