UNODC continues its support to national actors in Côte d’Ivoire to prevent and counter the use of improvised explosive devices by terrorist groups

ABIDJAN. The terrorist threat, which has long been concentrated in the Sahel region, has now shifted to the coastal states. The attacks that took place on the northern border of Côte d'Ivoire are evidence of this geographic and operational evolution of terrorist groups, which have been multiplying attacks in the country since April 2021 and increasingly using improvised explosive devices (IEDs). 

In this context, the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC/TPB), following a preliminary evaluation of Côte d’Ivoire’s' preparedness to counter IEDs held in November 2021; it organized on 29-31 March 2022, a "Consultative Meeting on Preventing and Countering the Illicit Acquisition and Use of Improvised Explosive Devices by Terrorist Groups” in Abidjan part of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum West Africa Working Group (GCTF-WAWG) with the financial support of Germany.

This meeting consisted of in-depth exchange between various representatives of Ivorian entities and structures involved in the prevention and countering of terrorism in Côte d'Ivoire. Indeed, organized crime groups use IEDs to intimidate government armed forces trying to reduce trafficking of all kinds (illegal gold panning, arms and drug trafficking, etc. ....).

In this regard, Dr. Amado Philip de Andrés, UNODC Regional Director for West and Central Africa, stated: "The threat posed using IEDs is of such magnitude that only strong and targeted measures will be able to address it, especially that the use of IEDs has become one of the most common modus operandi of terrorist groups. Evidence shows that incidents related to IEDs have increased significantly in West Africa since 2015, with civilian populations and infrastructure being targeted."

This activity highlighted a series of challenges as well as good practices in the West African context and more specifically in the context of Côte d'Ivoire.