Conflict and Fragility

Reports and papers

Exploring the risk of violent extremism along the border between Northern Benin and Nigeria

18 Jun 2024 - 14:38
Source: Sandstorm in Arewa Dandi Kangiwa - Argungu Road Kebbi State, northwest Nigeria. © Irene Becker
Dangerous Liaisons

For over a decade, researchers and politicians feared a link between extremist groups in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin. Since 2014, studies have pointed to Benin’s unfortunate potential to serve as a geographical hinge. So far, evidence has been largely absent.

While violent extremism in northern Benin is typically regarded as a “spillover” from the Sahel our report “Dangerous Liaisons: Exploring the risk of violent extremism along the border between northern Benin and Nigeria” warns that a large violent extremism problem has emerged in North West Nigeria that now threatens Benin.

In the cross-border Borgou region (Benin), a collaboration between Nigerian and Sahelian insurgents is in the making along Benin’s border with Nigeria. 

These signals are extremely concerning, and action is needed.

Nigeria and Benin should cease the d’entente between Talon and Tinubu and intensify cooperation. This should take the form of information exchange, arranging hot-pursuit and consider joint action.

But also Western donors and programming need to break stove-piped responses in the Sahel and Lake Chad respectively. The two conflicts appear to merge and a more united and flexible response is needed.

Evidence from this report come from four quantitative datasets on political violence and the movement of VEOs, coupled with over 70 interviews with key informant interviews along the border.

Read online report.

Find the French summary here.