Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou has said that the stabilization of Libya is the most important step in ensuring that the security of both Africa and Europe is upheld. Issoufou said the menace of terrorism, violence and large-scale exodus from Africa can only be addressed by a collective counterinsurgency that would put to an end the chaos in Libya. Issoufou expressed the sentiments on a trip to Germany saying due to the strategic position his country holds in sub-Saharan Africa enhanced collaboration with Europe could put root out radical and extremist elements.
The geographical placement of Niger has always exposed her to numerous threats majorly brought by spillovers and cross-border terrorism from Libya, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Nigeria. Niger is a country of transit for migrants seeking to reach Europe by boat from Libya, and Issoufou is an ally of the West in its fight against Islamist insurgents based in Mali and Nigeria.
Issoufou was seeking out more involvement and assistance from Europe to address the stability of Libya and the entire Sahel region as the stability of a large part of Africa was dependent on the same. Previously, Niger has been a key ally in the fight against terror organization like ISIS, Al Qaeda and Boko Haram in her neighboring countries which has, in turn, put a target on the country that has experienced several deadly attacks.
In addition to the threat posed by jihadists, Niger is a strategic transit hub for illegal migration, smuggling, and trafficking into Libya and Europe which opens it to more threats by the various rings and networks of smugglers. Therefore, an unstable Libya opens both Europe and sub-Saharan Africa to recurring threats that undermine the peacekeeping mission. However, restoring order and decimating al Qaeda and ISIS regrouping in Libya would cut the smugglers out and as such concurrently address the matter of insecurity in Africa and illegal migration into Europe.
According to Germany, it is in the best interest of Europe to be actively involved in the counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel and Maghreb regions of Africa to avoid the spillover of terrorism from the regions and into Europe masqueraded as migrants and refugees. While it may appear inconsequential, Libya’s security offset the entire sub-Saharan region’s security and thereby erection of an all-inclusive fully functioning government would address the majority of the security issues in the region.