By Fidel Amakye Owusu

1. During the recent evacuation of foreigners from Sudan, Nigeria was one of the countries in West Africa that had to evacuate so many of its nationals.

2. While Sudan is a Horn of African country and therefore located in the eastern half of Africa, what stands between Nigeria and Niger—two West African countries—and Sudan is Chad.

3. And so what?

4. Apart from the proximity of the West Africa to the chaos in Sudan, many factors make the region vulnerable to the conflict. With West African states already threatened by violent extremism, banditry, and socio-economic challenges, its susceptibility to the Sudan crisis cannot be ignored.

5 What are these?

6. Firstly, the RSF forces is known to include groups and individuals from some Sahel States including Chad, Niger and Mali. Some have mentioned fighters from northern Nigeria to be among para-military force.

7. Dagalo and his allies have amassed huge wealth that is able to pay foreign fighters. Also, warlords often use foreign fighters to exact some level of loyalty—Dagalo is doing that.

8. Again, some transnational groups in West African Sahel have distant affinity to ethnic groups in western Sudan. This has meant that some people from West Africa find themselves fighting on the side of the RSF due to factors that transcend pecuniary motivation.

9. Also, the Sahel borders that connect the various states in the region including Sudan, Chad and Niger and Nigeria are among the most porous in the continent. The volatile Lake Chad Basin area lies within the region.

10. These factors mean that West African fighters in Sudan would soon pose serious threat to the stability of the region. With most of these fighters coming from groups that are marginalised at home, their return through these porous borders could be dangerous.

11. Even though the conflict in Sudan has not ended albeit with some tenuous ceasefire in place, fighters will in one way or the other come home. Should Dagalo agree to a peace deal and subsequent integration of RSF forces into the regular army, foreigners will not qualify. This will mean they will have to go back to their home countries.

12. Even if the war grinds on, at a point Dagalo may not have the resources to maintain the reportedly huge number of forces. Some may have to go home. For West Africa this could mean chaos.

13. West African states and the Economic Community of West African States must be proactive with looking for a panacea to the impending headache. Vigilance through intelligence could be helpful. Socio-economic and political inclusion is also important.

By Fidel Amakye Owusu – International Relations and Security Analyst and Writer

Article Reproduced with Permission from Fidel Amakye Owusu

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