Despite the challenge of trying to decriminalize centuries-old smuggling routes and cross-border terrorism, the countries of the Sahel are showing progress in building “credible, functioning justice systems.”
That’s according to Pierre Lapaque, who represents the vast African region that stretches from Senegal to Sudan, for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
He says that combating the challenges and threats posed by illegal trafficking, organized crime, flourishing terrorist groups and corruption, is “a matter of survival” for communities across the semi-arid territory of the Sahel.
That’s especially true for the so-called G-5 countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – who Mr Lapaque says are “fully committed” to the fight.
He told Matt Wells that the tragic deaths of four UN Peacekeepers, blown up by a roadside bomb in central Mali on Wednesday, highlighted the on-going security threat to everyone living in the Sahel.