WEF 2020: Libya violence further destabilising Sahel, warns UN’s Guterres

Johannesburg – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that Libya’s ongoing civil war is threatening to spill into and further destabilise the restive Sahel and Lake Chad regions.

“Libya has been a centre, a cancer for arms export and fighters export and the most worrying impact is of course with the Sahel and Lake Chad. And more and more these things are interlinked,” Guterres told Al Jazeera in Davos, Switzerland in a Thursday interview.  

“What we are having with the Sahel and Lake Chad is a war with terrorist organisations that we are not winning. Terrorism is spreading. It is now threatening the countries of the coast – Ivory Coast, Ghana, Beni.”

The Sahel region, comprising Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Niger, has become a hotbed of extremism with various militant groups affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

“The region has experienced a devastating surge in terrorist attacks against civilian and military targets,” Mohamed Ibn Chambas, UN special representative and head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), told the UN Security Council earlier in January.