The Links between Jihadi Organizations and Illegal Trafficking in the Sahel

This paper examines the links between jihadi organizations and illegal criminal activities in the Sahel region. Based on extensive interviews conducted in the region, the paper argues that, while radical organizations are linked with activities such as human trafficking and drug trafficking, this is not their main sources of revenue, which in fact generally comes from kidnapping. Furthermore, the paper shows that those groups have developed links with illegal networks that deal in the basic goods the organizations need, such as gas, weapons and food. While jihadi groups do maintain relations with various illegal economic sectors in the Sahel, those relations are not as strong as many have argued.

Rome, IAI, November 2018, 11 p.
Working Papers 25
Publication date: 

1. Jihadi Organizations and Human Trafficking
2. Jihadi Organizations and Weapons Trafficking
3. Jihadi Organizations and Drug Trafficking
3.1 The Debate among Jihadists with Regard to Drug Trafficking
3.2 Jihadi Organizations in the Sahel and Drug Trafficking
Annex: List of Interviews

Research area