How Arms Proliferation Is Driving Herder-Farmer Conflict in the Sahel

Vigilantes and local hunters armed with locally made guns patrol on the street in Yola, Nigeria, Feb. 25, 2019 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).
Vigilantes and local hunters armed with locally made guns patrol on the street in Yola, Nigeria, Feb. 25, 2019 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Africa’s Sahel region, the long stretch of scrubland that extends from Mauritania to Sudan, has emerged as a critical global hotspot in recent years, as national governments struggle to contain growing insecurity, rampant criminality and waves of violent extremism. But efforts to stabilize this transcontinental belt just south of the Sahara have largely overlooked one critical driver of tensions: the centuries-old but increasingly violent disputes between nomadic herding and sedentary farming communities. A recent influx of weapons has given these conflicts new and deadly force, with grave implications for international security. The scale of the recent violence stemming from herder-farmer […]

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