While Togo suffered its first ever jihadist attack in Nov. 2021, yesterday’s large assault represents the first loss of life from such violence in the small West African state. At least 8 Togolese troops were killed and 13 others wounded in an attack on a base and subsequent IED blast.
As violence continues to spread across the Sahel, particularly in Burkina Faso, the violence is now seeping into the states of Ivory Coast, Togo, and Benin.
Northern Ivory Coast has seen a substantial increase in suspected jihadist attacks since March of this year. Much of the violence is emanating from southwestern Burkina Faso, where al Qaeda’s Katibat Macina is expanding.
While JNIM has not claimed the assault, its Katibat Macina is widely suspected of perpetrating the attack. This comes after sustained operations against it in the area last month.
With at least 257 al Qaeda-linked attacks in Mali and its neighboring countries, this represents a significant uptick in the al Qaeda-led insurgency in northern Mali in recent years.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and associated groups have unleashed a string of attacks in Mali and elsewhere in West Africa this year.
AQIM says the attack is meant to show that it can target Algeria in “whatever area we want, and to let you know that your fortifications that you have made will not prevent the strikes of the mujahideen from reaching you.”
Al Qaeda continues to prioritize targeting hotels, which are considered soft targets, across the African continent. AQIM has launched assaults on several hotels in West Africa in recent months, while Shabaab regularly targets hotels in Somalia.