Sahel: The fight against terrorism | DW Documentary

Terrorist groups continue to gain ground in the Sahel region south of the Sahara. Jihadist incursions occur daily, including terrorist attacks, murders, and raids on villages. The situation is increasingly explosive.

African armies struggle to hold their positions, which leaves entire areas undefended. In addition, France has decided to reduce its military support to the region. As a result, local people have been forced to take up arms to defend themselves.

Mali is the heartland of the Dogon people. The Dan Na Ambassagou (Hunters Who Trust in God) militia is made up of a thousand men carrying outdated weapons. They face Islamist extremists equipped with Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers. But these “dozo” warriors also rely on charms, amulets and traditional beliefs in magic. They fight in temperatures of 45 degrees, with scarce water and no food. They are the last bastion of resistance for the 300,000 people who still live on the Dogon plateau.

The nation of Mauritania is playing a leading role in the fight against terror. This reportage shows an operation led by one of the GSI or Special Intervention Groups – commando units responsible for tracking down jihadist cells on the Malian border. A squadron of light aircraft tracked jihadist vehicles, destroying them as they crossed the border.

Mauritania also has a special police force able to reach the remotest corners of the country. They use an unusual form of transport – dromedaries! Colonel El-Khalil and his company of riders spend weeks in the desert gathering intelligence from nomadic peoples.

This film is an immersive journey showing the growing threat of a jihad without borders.

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