Islamist militants have wreaked havoc in West Africa. An insurgency that began in northern Mali in 2012 has spread to Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, threatening coastal states such as Benin, Ghana, Togo and the Ivory Coast. Military juntas have toppled governments in Mali and Burkina Faso, accusing them of failing to ensure security. According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, jihadists killed more than 1,300 civilians in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in 2021, bringing the death toll to more than 3,500 since 2015. Gold mining, an important source of income, was also targeted.