Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.
Even for a region that has witnessed the growing entrenchment of extremist groups and skyrocketing violence, it was a particularly deadly week in Africa’s Sahel. On Nov. 1, Islamist militants killed 54 people, including dozens of soldiers, in an attack on an isolated military base in northeastern Mali; the Islamic State claimed responsibility. Days later, gunmen ambushed a Canadian mining company’s convoy in northern Burkina Faso, killing at least 37 people and wounding 60 more.
Though the two attacks are not directly linked, together they reveal the mounting scale of unrest that is sweeping the semi-arid southern border region of the Sahara that stretches from Senegal to Sudan. In an in-depth feature in June for WPR, Peter Dörrie charted how instability has grown across the Sahel since the 2011 overthrow of long-time Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi upended the regional order.