Eight states sound alarm over Sahel hunger

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Eight West African states have called for emergency aid for four countries in the Sahel facing food shortages as a result of jihadist violence.

Agriculture ministers from the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), at a meeting in the Nigerien capital of Niamey on Monday, said around 3.5 million people in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal were suffering from "food insecurity."

They called for "immediate, unconditional food assistance" for the June-August period, the runup to harvest time, when grain stores are at their lowest level.

UEMOA comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

The Sahel, one of the world's poorest and most fragile regions, is being battered by attacks by jihadists, including cross-border incursions by Nigeria's Boko Haram movement.

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