Fighting terrorism

Côte d’Ivoire boosts anti-terrorism budget in the north

By Jeune Afrique

Posted on December 15, 2021 16:13

Firefox_Screenshot_2021-12-15T10-19-21.724Z An Ivorian soldier in M’Batto, November 2020 © ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP
An Ivorian soldier in M’Batto, November 2020 © ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP

At the end of November, during a tour of the northern part of the country, Mamadou Touré, the minister for the promotion of youth, professional integration and civic service, announced that a training and professional integration programme would be created for young people. Côte d’Ivoire’s government is trying to prevent young people, who are often unemployed, from being seduced by jihadists, who try to recruit them in exchange for money and motorbikes.

Originally allocated 2bn CFA francs ($3.4m), the budget for this programme has, according to our information, been increased.

It has risen to more than 8.4bn CFA francs, which has already been mobilised for 19,812 young people from six northern regions (Bagoué, Bounkani, Folon, Kabadougou, Poro, Tchologo). The state is contributing 6.6bn and the remaining 1.8bn is being financed through a debt-reduction and development contract, which was concluded with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). Prime minister Patrick Achi is expected to make these new measures official in the coming days.

International Academy

Since June 2020, the north has been the target of attacks attributed to men from the Macina katiba of Amadou Koufa, a jihadist leader affiliated with the Groupe de Soutien à l’islam et aux Musulmans. To prevent its young people from being radicalised, Abidjan’s policy now consists of combining military action with development efforts in regions where the population strongly feels that it has been abandoned by the state.

Côte d’Ivoire’s other partners are also planning to launch projects in the northern part of the country during the first quarter of 2022. In early December, the Ivorian authorities, the United Nations Development Programme and the AFD held a meeting to coordinate actions in these regions.

The European Union (EU) is currently finalising programmes with Abidjan to monitor the borders and gain a better understanding of the ins and outs of the illegal gold trade in Tengrela – a possible source of funding for jihadists – as well as steps to promote inter-community dialogue. The EU is also expected to support the development of the Académie Internationale de Lutte Contre le Terrorisme, which was inaugurated on 10 June in Jacqueville.

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