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Security Brief: AFRICOM Week of April 26, 2021

Week of April 26, 2021 | Issue 30


Makenzi Taylor, Ashtyn Thompson, AFRICOM


Nigerian farmers[1]


Date: April 30, 2021

Location: Nigeria

Parties involved: The Nigerian government, farmers, Boko Haram, and other criminal groups

The event: Nigeria is facing a looming food crisis in the country as the violent activities of Boko Haram, bandits, and kidnappers have made it extremely difficult for farmers to tend their farms and produce much-needed crops to supply food for the population. Farmers and Nigerian government officials alike have called on President Mohammed Buhari to take the necessary steps to avert the food crisis as security challenges continue to plague the country.[2]

The implications:

  • As the Nigerian government continues to struggle to protect its citizens from Boko Haram and other criminal groups, grievances among citizens against the government will likely form or exacerbate existing grievances. These grievances may result in uprisings or average citizens, particularly farmers, taking matters into their own hands, perhaps by arming themselves. This could lead to a rise in crime and violence.

  • Terrorists and criminal groups stand to benefit from Nigeria’s looming food crisis as it will likely benefit its recruitment strategy as it can persuade others to join the ranks by offering more necessities than the Nigerian government. As civilians become desperate for food and basic protections, there is a high probability that more Nigerian will join the ranks of Boko Haram or a bandit group. This would allow these groups to ramp up their activities and spread their influence, putting further pressure on the Nigerian government, as well as neighboring countries.

Date: April 29, 2021

Location: African Continent

Parties involved: African member states

The event: On Thursday, April 29, the continent’s disease control body stated that Africa risks being overrun by coronavirus infections if urgent measures are not taken to avert a similar disaster to India's "very concerning" crisis.[3] The African Union (AU) will convene an emergency meeting with member states’ health ministers on May 8, 2021, to discuss the looming threat.

The implications:

  • As COVID-19 spreads and new variants emerge, Africa’s already fragile healthcare systems are likely to crash amidst the growing number of cases and deaths. A severely deteriorating healthcare system may cause more deaths due to COVID-19 and other health issues that normally do not result in death. Poor responses to other health emergencies will likely happen due to a surge in COVID-19 cases as medical personnel will have to focus their time on combating the rise in cases.

  • A crashing healthcare system may allow militant groups and terrorist organizations on the continent to increase activity, resulting in more deaths. By African governments having to focus more of their attention on combating COVID-19, counterterrorism measures and missions will likely decrease in frequency. If counterterrorism measures and missions fall back, attacks will likely increase since groups will not have to deal with serious blowback as military forces are focused on tackling COVID-19.

[1] Nigerian farmers by Mike Blyth licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic

[2] Insecurity: Food insecurity looms in Nigeria, farmer warns FG, Vanguard Nigeria, April 2021, https://www.vanguardngr.com/2021/04/insecurity-food-crisis-looms-in-nigeria-farmer-warns-fg/

[3] 'Act now': Africa medics warn of India-like Covid surge, News 24, April 2021, https://www.news24.com/news24/africa/news/act-now-africa-medics-warn-of-india-like-covid-surge-20210429

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