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The Government of Togo and the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) destroyed 2,000 seized and obsolete weapons and 10,000 rounds of ammunition to mark the International Day of Peace.

Trafficking in the Sahel: Muzzling the illicit arms trade

Shoppers in Mali’s Gao, Timbuktu, and Ménaka regions can snap up AK-pattern assault rifles for $750 and cartridges for 70 cents apiece, from locally handcrafted pistols to smuggled French and Turkish machine guns, as a dizzying array of illegal weaponry dots market stalls across the Sahel, a 6,000-kilometre-wide belt in the middle of Africa.

Graffiti showing a fuel transporter in Porto Novo, Benin.

Trafficking in the Sahel: Gas lighting

Kourou/Koualou, a tiny village in a neutral zone straddling Benin and Burkina Faso, was the centre of a one-million-litre-a-year cross-border illicit fuel trade, a snapshot of a phenomenon that spreads far across the 6,000-kilometre-wide African Sahel region.

Millions of people in the Sahel region of Africa are facing food insecurity caused by consecutive failed rainy seasons, desertification, and a fragile security landscape.
© UNICEF/Olivier Asselin

Trafficking in the Sahel: Killer cough syrup and fake medicine

In the summer of 2022, 70 Gambian babies and young children died from kidney failure after ingesting cough syrup spooned out by their caregivers. The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a global alert that four tainted paediatric products had originated in India, as local health authorities continue to investigate how this tragedy unfolded.

The Nigerien army patrols the Sahara desert targetting  militant groups including ISIL and Boko Haram.
© UNICEF/Gilbertson

Trafficking in the Sahel: Guns, gas, and gold

Chili peppers, fake medicine, fuel, gold, guns, humans, and more are being trafficked via millennia-old trade routes crisscrossing the Sahel, and the UN and partners are trying out new, collaborative ways to thwart those attempting the illegal practice, a growing problem in this fragile African region.