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Countering Jihadi Swarm Tactics in the Sahel

The article below was written by IWP Research Professor Thomas Flichy de La Neuville and published by The Weichert Report.

Widely spread in the Sahelian zone because of its affordability and the mobility it provides motorists, motorcycles have become an element of social prestige for the youth. However, their use has been inordinately diverted for criminal purposes, thus leading to an increase of motorcycle attacks in the region. Facing this danger, should we hinder these motorcycles or counter them by creating even more mobile vehicles for law enforcement and military uses?

Motorcycles in Africa, A Versatile and Popular Tool-And an Unlikely Weapon

Motorcycles have proliferated in Africa during the last 30 years due to their compact size, mobility, and inconspicuousness. The motorcycle in Africa has multiple uses: Approximately 1.5 million of them are used as taxis in urban areas, where they are used to transport passengers and goods. Meanwhile, in the rough terrain of rural areas of Africa, motorcycles are used to run vital pumps needed for irrigating crops on African farms.

In fact, an entire culture based on motorcycles has developed in the cities of North Nigeria and Cameroon. The city markets were first dominated by the Japanese motorcycles. In Cameroon, the Honda CG125 is called “Bazooka,” a Suzuki A100 is known as “Chagari,” and a Suzuki AS100, is referred to as the ” black cat.” These Japanese motorcycles were very popular until the arrival of their Chinese competitors in 2004 with Nanfang, Lifan, Jingseng, Crankcase and, the fastest, TVS125. These motorcycles, equipped with a lengthened seat, can carry three-to-four people. More importantly, for smuggling purposes, they can transport six plastic cans of 60 liters each (gasoline smuggling is a major factor in the African black market).

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