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Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Unchanged Situation

Military conducted joint counter-insurgency operations with neighbours but violence continued to run high in north, and President Kaboré reshuffled govt and military leadership. Lull in jihadist attacks recorded in Sahel region as military retaliated against al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) following Inata attack that left over 50 dead in Nov. Burkina Faso and Niger 25 Nov-9 Dec conducted joint offensive along shared border as part of second phase of Taanli operation launched last June, claimed to have killed around 100 jihadist militants; Burkinabé army said artillery strikes 2 and 4 Dec killed 14 militants in Sahel region’s Yagha province. Some 1,200 troops from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Benin also deployed in border areas as part of Operation Odalgou 4 launched 26 Nov to counter possible spillover of jihadist attacks into Gulf of Guinea. Violence ran high in North region’s Loroum province. Notably, alleged JNIM militants 9 Dec ambushed and killed 14 people including 13 volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) in Titao town, and suspected jihadists 23 Dec ambushed convoy of tradesmen traveling to Titao under VDP escort, reportedly killing 41 including prominent VDP figure Soumaïla Ganame alias Ladji Yoro. Presumed JNIM-affiliated combatants week of 4-10 Dec attacked four police and gendarmerie stations in Boucle du Mouhoun region (west), destroying three. Amid growing dissatisfaction within army ranks over govt’s management of security crisis, Kaboré 3 Dec appointed new heads for all three military regions and new special forces commander; move comes after appointment late-Nov of young officers to head all three regional commands in gendarmerie. Following protests in recent weeks against govt’s inability to stem widespread jihadist violence, PM Christophe Dabiré and cabinet 8 Dec resigned. Kaboré 10 Dec named former UN official Lassina Zerbo as PM, and 13 Dec appointed new, smaller cabinet of 25 members. National Reconciliation Minister Zéphirin Diabré 28 Dec postponed national reconciliation forum, initially scheduled for 17-23 Jan, to unspecified date, citing opposition’s withdrawal from reconciliation process after Inata attack.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

1 Apr 2021
Putting a bounty on militant leaders’ heads, these types of policy moves, make negotiations and outreach [in Burkina Faso] quite a bit harder. Foreign Policy

Hannah Armstrong

Former Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel
8 Jan 2020
Burkina is a gateway to coastal West Africa and there is a real concern that jihadist groups may see it as a launching pad to gain other footholds in the coastal region. Financial Times

Comfort Ero

President & CEO
6 Mar 2018
In Burkina Faso, the intelligence system did not rest on an institution but on the shoulders of one man, General Gilbert Diendere. We know that some of the 566 soldiers have joined jihadist groups. AFP

Rinaldo Depagne

Deputy Program Director, Africa & Project Director, West Africa
20 Jun 2017
There is a strong sense [in Burkina Faso] that the state has never really done much for the north. [...] Strengthening its military presence isn’t enough – they need to establish trust. Bloomberg

Cynthia Ohayon

Former Analyst, West Africa
3 May 2017
The new rulers [in Burkina Faso] want to use justice when it serves them but they don't want to sink their own ship. Reuters

Cynthia Ohayon

Former Analyst, West Africa
27 Apr 2017
Justice is important for the Burkinabe, and the lack of justice and impunity is one of the reasons people rose against [Burkina Faso's President] Compaore. World Politics Review

Cynthia Ohayon

Former Analyst, West Africa

Latest Updates

Q&A / Africa

Burkina Faso et Niger : des élections à l’épreuve des insurrections ?

Le Burkina Faso et le Niger se dirigent tous deux vers des élections générales. Rinaldo Depagne et Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim décryptent leurs enjeux et insistent sur la nécessité pour leurs vainqueurs de se pencher sur l’insécurité croissante dans les régions rurales, provoquée en grande partie par la présence de groupes jihadistes.

Report / Africa

Burkina Faso : sortir de la spirale des violences

La prolifération des groupes armés et l'implantation rapide des jihadistes a conduit, en 2019, à une intensification de la violence au Burkina Faso. Le gouvernement devrait adopter une approche intégrée de la sécurité et mettre fin aux crises du monde rural en résolvant notamment la question foncière.

Also available in English
Commentary / Africa

Burkina Faso: Safeguarding Elections amid Crisis

As Burkina Faso’s rural conflict rages, the country is also beset by urban unrest. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2020 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to lend support to election preparations and encourage the government to devote energy to the crisis in the countryside.

Briefing / Africa

L’Afrique de l’Ouest face au risque de contagion jihadiste

Face à la percée jihadiste au Burkina Faso, porte ouverte sur les pays du Golfe de Guinée, ceux-ci craignent des attaques sur leurs territoires. Les Etats de la région devraient améliorer le partage du renseignement, renforcer les contrôles aux frontières et renouer un lien de confiance avec la population.

Also available in English
Report / Africa

Reprendre en main la ruée vers l’or au Sahel central

Au Mali, au Burkina Faso et au Niger, le boom aurifère représente une nouvelle source de financement, voire un terrain de recrutement pour divers groupes armés, y compris jihadistes. Les Etats sahéliens devraient rétablir leur présence aux abords des mines d’or et mieux formaliser l’exploitation aurifère artisanale.

Also available in English