The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit told the Security Council in a briefing on Friday that the ongoing crisis in Mali is having far-reaching effects in West Africa and the Sahel.The envoy gave the warning that the crisis illustrates the fragility of the region.
Mr. Djinnit, who heads the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), said the situation in Mali has heightened the overall terrorism threat in the subregion, adding that the international community must remain mindful of the limitations faced by Mali’s neighbours, and enhance support in the areas of border control and counter-terrorism, among others.
“As developments unfold in Mali, the risks for infiltration and destabilization are real in some of the countries bordering Mali, as illustrated by the efforts of neighbouring countries to tighten security along the borders,”
According to the latest estimates by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 150,000 people have fled to neighbouring Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso, while an additional 230,000 have been internally displaced.
The conflict has strained resources and worsened the humanitarian situation in the Sahel, which was already precarious due to years of drought, piracy, and transnational organized crime. It also prompted the Malian Government to request military assistance from France to stop the progression of extremist groups.