Lassina Diarra, researcher on Islamism and terrorism in West Africa, for Centre4s.
Geographically and demographically as well, Cote d’Ivoire is largely a continuum of the Sahel-Sahara space. That location induces a share of vulnerability, especially since the country has been hurt, more than once, with assaults by non-national attackers (Grand-Bassam March 2016 and Kafolo June 2020) thus revealing the nature and configuration that exogenous terrorist threat poses to the country. However, the statement of France Intelligence Director, on February 1, 2021, puts that assumption into perspective. He stated that many coastal states, including Côte d’Ivoire, are facing a major process of terrorist groups dissemination. Admittedly, the Cote d’Ivoire has not yet reached the degree or the intensity of violence omnipresence observed in the Sahel, though a number of actions and alerts lead to substantiate that fear. Based on both Antonio Gramsci thinking – the theory of cultural hegemony – and the literature on local Islam, as a theoretical framework, this paper analyzes and tries to identify the leanings of the sliding from the field of piety to that of social belligerence, in Côte d’Ivoire, especially in a context of political tensions which mask, or makes less sensitive, the propensity of sectarian friendliness of some social groups.