European countries must reinforce north African armies battling Islamist militants or the security situation will deteriorate and they will be forced to move, a senior Niger official said Friday.
“When speaking of security, Europe thinks of closing up, securing the interior and the borders, but the principal security of Europe is the security and development of Africa,” said Amadou Marou, president of the National Consultative Council that is managing the country’s political transition following a military coup in February.
His comments follow the kidnapping last month of five French nationals, a Madagascan and a Togolese from an uranium mining town in Niger by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
AQIM, which has exploited the vast spaces of the Sahara desert and Sahel scrub-land to stage attacks in a number of countries in the region, is believed to be holding the prisoners in a mountainous desert region in northeastern Mali.
“Somalia got away from us and northern Mali is in the process of getting away from us,” said Marou, speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of a meeting organised by the lay Catholic community Sant’Egidio.
“If the Europeans don’t reinforce security in this area, they’ll have to move,” he added.
North African counter-terrorism experts held two days of meetings this past week with their G8 counterparts on how to step up regional cooperation and battle Islamic militants linked to Al-Qaeda.
“The Sahel is very fragile, fertile ground for all sorts of terror and trafficking,” said Marou.
He certainly has a point. Europeans have to get a handle on their own immigration most certainly as does the rest of the infidel world. But if Islam (radical, orthodox, traditional, whatever you want to call it) is to be fought, it must be fought where it is taking massive amounts of territory and resources away from more or less secular and more or less rational peoples.
We cannot for example, claim to be fighting Islam and attempting to curb its growing influence in Western nations while packing up and leaving Afghanistan or watching Somali militants grow in power and territory, threatening neighbouring nations and peoples and attacking non-Muslim peoples all over Africa, especially Christians and those opposed to draconian (as if there was any other kind) Islamic rule. Sooner or later, we will face off with islam in a more or less conventional military scenario. But the longer we wait, the higher the cost in blood and treasure.