France’s top spy chief, Bernard Emie, warned that Salafi-jihadist groups in the Sahel are looking to Benin and Cote d’Ivoire for new territory. In a rare appearance, the head of France’s General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) shared intelligence that shows leaders from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) met to discuss this very strategy.
The violent extremist organizations of the Sahel have been expanding their reach lately. Groups have advanced east into Niger, south into central Mali, and Burkina Faso. The Westward expansion would provide the groups with a supply route to the coast as well as more areas for recruitment.