For this report, FRANCE 24’s team has embedded with Niger’s special forces. In this episode of West African jihadism, local “franchises” of the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda are vying to establish a large “caliphate” across the Sahel region. Local villagers get caught in the crossfire, fear that jihadists may infiltrate the population and live in fear of reprisals. About 4,000 civilians died in this zone in 2019 alone. The Nigerian government has two goals: to keep people safe and to restore territory, to prevent the “caliphate” from rising from its ashes on the African continent.