CNA Staff, Oct 1, 2020 / 13:55 pm
A new report from Catholic Relief Services has found that growing violence in the Sahel region of West Africa is impacted by economic inequality, creating one of the fastest growing humanitarian crises in the world.
The study found that religious leaders could have an important role in promoting peace.
On September 30, Catholic Relief Services released a study analyzing the causes of the Sahel conflict, and its effects on communities in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. The study, conducted in April, included interviews, surveys and focus groups of local farmers, herders, militias, and religious and social leaders.
"According to the analysis, jihadists and organized crime groups are exploiting the poor and unemployed, small communal grievances and mistrust of national political leadership to recruit fighters to carry out acts of violence," Catholic Relief Services said.
Recruitment in these groups is driven by poverty and lack of national resources, the report said. It added that both Christian and Muslim leaders have spoken out against the violence, and have at times faced assassination attempts for doing so.