Extremists target African village leaders

In remote community in southwest Niger, village chief are being targeted.

Those targeted include chiefs, mayors, council members and religious leaders. The tally is likely an undercount: It omits dozens of attacks carried out by unidentified groups in areas where Islamists operate.

The attacks have weakened ties between rural communities and central governments in the Sahel and helped militants gain control of large areas. It follows the same playbook Islamic State and al Qaeda militants have employed to wield power in other parts of Africa and the Middle East

Islamic State has publicly described a strategy to wage war against community elders who oppose it. In a November 2018 issue of al-Naba, Islamic State’s official newsletter, the organization urged followers to target tribal chiefs to make an example of those who help and collaborate with its enemies.