The fight against Tuareg rebels by the governments of Mali and Niger has motivated West African governments to schedule a security conference in the next few months. While the Tuareg rebellion has put the region’s instability on the radar, political leaders also acknowledge issues regarding the connection of the region’s poverty along with the issues of drug trafficking, the possibility of terror groups infiltrating the area along with the circulation of light weapons.
Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore applauded efforts by his counterpart in Niger Mamadou Tandja and Malian leader Amadou Toumani Toure to resist a rebellion led by nomadic Tuareg peoples in the Sahara and the arid Sahel belt to the south.
The uprising in Niger has been the more bloody, with at least 49 soldiers killed by the Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ) since it launched an insurrection in February.
"In the Sahel area, the rebel movements which have appeared threaten the peace and security of the whole region," Compaore said.