UN chief: Terrorists strengthen foothold in Africa’s Sahel

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is warning that terrorist groups have strengthened their foothold across Africa’s Sahel region, which is experiencing escalating violence.

The U.N. chief said in a report to the U.N. Security Council circulated Wednesday that the expanding foothold is “making large swathes of territory unstable and stoking ethnic violence, especially in Burkina Faso and Mali.”

Guterres said the G5 Sahel Force established by five countries — Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania — to fight the Islamic State and other extremist groups “continues to face significant training, capability and equipment shortfalls, which hamper its full operationalization.”

But the secretary-general stressed that combatting terrorism “cannot be outsourced to the G5 Sahel countries, the region or the continent” — it is a global issue.