In spite of recent developments including the marked expansion of democratic spaces, West Africa remains particularly affected by outbreaks of latent conflicts, related to the presence or activity of armed groups. Beyond specific backgrounds –local or national– these players and sources of instability are part of underlying and interdependent dynamics, which are real "conflict systems" with sub-regional implications. This briefing note completes and puts into perspective data available in our briefing notes dedicated to armed groups in West Africa. These fact sheets provide condensed information on the historical and ideological foundations, objectives, operation and procedures of armed groups in West Africa.
Key words : armed groups, non-state actors, conflicts system, border conflicts, trafficking, smuggling, terrorism.