Boko Haram, other terrorists profiting from Sahel’s porous borders, says UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says weakness in management of border areas and laxity in controlling of movements of people and goods in Sahel region have created substantial trans-border criminal activities, human trafficking and illicit flow of arms.

According to Samuel Bwalya, Country Director of UNDP in Nigeria, these weaknesses are profiting transnational criminal groups and terrorist organisations that are destabilizing and threatening human security at the community and national level through their illicit activity in and beyond border areas of the Sahel region.

He spoke in Abuja on Wednesday at a regional symposium to launch the survey project report on small arms and light weapons in the Sahel.

Bwalya, who was represented by Mandisa Masholugu, UNDP Deputy Country Director, said the international community has raised concerns about the proliferation of illicit small arms as a serious impediment to social and economic development in the Sahel region and its neighbouring countries.

He however noted that a draft action plan on management of illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons should be in the future a reference point for institutional and non-governmental actors, including international partners in support to regional effort on management of illicit proliferation of small arms.



    Also speaking at the event, Halimat Ahmed, Commissioner, Political Affairs, Peace and Security, ECOWAS said the survey was conducted in nine countries among which are five ECOWAS member states: .

    Other states that participated in the survey she said are Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Mauritania and Chad.

    “This symposium is an attempt to evaluate and develop a common strategy in the fight against proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the region especially the Sahel where at various points of its huge expanse, the world has seen and felt the negative impact of small arms and light weapons in our region,” said Ahmed who was represented by Joseph Ahoba, Head Small Arms Division of ECOWAS.

    “This effort is noteworthy for the reason of the fundamental objective of promoting better understanding of the challenges posed by the illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons and the inter-linkages of that international crimes such as drug and human trafficking, the challenges of transhumance as well as the upsurge of terrorism in the region.”

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