Maat: 705 Dead in March 2023...Nigeria Ranks First in the Number of Victims
Okeil: We recommend the United Nations to provide necessary funding and support that will make African counter-terrorism initiatives effective
Hossban: We call for developing joint African military cooperation to eliminate hotbeds of terrorist organizations
Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights issued its monthly report, entitled "Lens of Terrorist Operations & Acts of Violence in Africa - March 2023" to monitor the transformations taking place in the phenomenon of terrorism in the African continent during March, track the international and regional efforts made to limit it, as well as the elements detracting from the importance of these efforts, in an attempt to enrich these efforts that are taking place in the course of defeating terrorism in Africa. The report monitored the killing of more than 705 victims, showing a sharp decline in the number of victims by 182 from the previous month of February 2023.
In its monthly report, Maat stated that West Africa ranked first for the second month in a row, with 391 victims, in light of the growing activity of armed groups, such as Boko Haram and the terrorist organization of Daesh in Nigeria. Therefore, Nigeria ranked first in terms of the number of victims, with 296 dead, indicating an alarming rise not experienced since the beginning of the year.
Central Africa came second with 156 victims, and this escalation was represented in the increase in the operations of armed militias in the Congo in addition to the activity of the Allied Democratic Forces and Daesh, while the activity of the separatists in the northwest in Cameroon increased with the activity of Boko Haram. The East African region came third, with 121 victims, and as usual, North and South Africa regions came last, with 26 and 11 victims, respectively.
Commenting on the report, Ayman Okeil, a human rights expert and President of Maat, said that despite the decline in the number of victims of violence and terrorism in the continent compared to the past two months and since the beginning of 2023, this did not prevent the continued exacerbation of the threat of terrorism in the continent, which represented 48% of deaths related to terrorism globally. In this light, the situation in the continent is in dire need for any resources or competencies that could contribute, even in a small percentage, to solving the problem. Okeil recommended the international community to take into account the integration of female competencies into its plans to combat terrorism in the continent, in order to strike a balance between them and the huge number of women getting involved in such organizations, in an effort to make them more resistant to such attractions.
Within the framework of the African Union's Agenda 2063, the human rights expert recommended the United Nations to provide funding and full support that makes African counter-terrorism initiatives effective and innovative, in order to fit with the new approach of dangers pursued by terrorist organizations.
Nessren Hossban, a researcher in combating hate speech and violent extremism at the Maat, expressed her concern about the lack of military cooperation between African countries due to their continued dependence on Western powers in the fight against terrorism, and stressed the need for creating joint African military cooperation in which efforts are intensified to eliminate hotbeds of terrorist organizations, and enhancing transparency between the security services regarding the information of the strongholds of these organizations, instead of leaving each country fighting it alone. Besides, Darwish recommended African countries to discuss the development of a joint military plan that targets Al-Shabaab organizations in Somalia and Boko Haram in Nigeria, during the coming period, because they represent nearly half of Africa’s terrorists.