Insurgents have established bases in an important nature reserve spanning parts of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. They pose a growing danger to local ecosystems and people living around the park. The three countries need to collaborate more closely to keep the threat at bay.
Military suffered highest death toll from back-to-back jihadist attacks since 2015; govt worked to strengthen ties with other military regimes in West Africa.
Back-to-back jihadist attacks against military left scores dead. In Sahel region’s Oudalan province, alleged Islamic State in the Sahel (IS-Sahel) 17 Feb ambushed military convoy between Oursi and Déou localities, leaving at least 51 and as many as 80 soldiers dead. IS-Sahel 20 Feb attacked military detachment camp in Tin Akoff town, also Oudalan, and later took control of town, killing dozens of soldiers, volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) and civilians. Similar large-scale attacks significantly contributed to former Presidents Kaboré and Damiba’s fall. Earlier in month in Sahel region’s Seno province, IS-Sahel 4 Feb killed 22 civilians and three police officers in Bani town. In Centre-North region’s Namentenga province, alleged al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) fighters 7 Feb killed seven gendarmes and one VDP in Boala village. In East region’s Tapoa province, unidentified jihadists 26 Feb killed as yet unknown number in Partiaga town.
Armed forces and VDPs faced new allegations of abuses in East region. VDPs 1 Feb reportedly killed seven civilians suspected of cooperating with JNIM in Ganyela village (Gourma province). Local NGO Collectif contre l’impunité et la stigmatisation des communautés alleged military same day killed at least 30 civilians in Piega, Sakoani and Kankangou localities (Tapoa province). After Nigeria 6 Feb said unidentified gunmen killed at least 15 Nigerian pilgrims near Boudieri village (Tapoa province), rumours of Burkinabé forces’ involvement circulated online; FM Olivia Rouamba same day denied allegations and announced investigation.
Authorities deepened cooperation with military regimes in Mali and Guinea. PM Apollinaire Kyélem de Tambèla 1 Feb met with Malian Interim President Col. Goïta in Mali’s capital Bamako to discuss bilateral security cooperation and allegedly also potential partnership with Russia; Kyélem de Tambèla reportedly proposed formation of federation between Mali and Burkina Faso. Malian PM Choguel Maïga 23-26 Feb visited capital Ouagadougou to sign counter-terrorism cooperation agreement. Meanwhile, FM Rouamba 9 Feb met with Malian and Guinean counterparts in capital Ouagadougou, announced “joint initiatives” against West African regional bloc ECOWAS sanctions (see Guinea and Mali).
Tensions within the army [in Burkina Faso] have exacerbated over the past months because President Damiba has not been able to restore security in the country.
Considering Ecowas’ recent failures to deter coups, what happened in Mali and Burkina Faso may inspire other officers in the region.
Putting a bounty on militant leaders’ heads, these types of policy moves, make negotiations and outreach [in Burkina Faso] quite a bit harder.
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.
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 h...
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 e...
On 4 September, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba gave a speech reviewing his actions since he seized power on 24 January 2022. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Mathieu Pellerin and Rinaldo Depagne analyse this milestone.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood talks with Crisis Group expert Rinaldo Depagne about the coup in Burkina Faso, the latest in a series of military takeovers in Africa.
On 24 January, a military junta overthrew Burkina Faso’s president, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Mathieu Pellerin and Rinaldo Depagne explain how this latest coup confirms the failure of democratically elected regimes in West Africa.
Since 2013, when it sent troops to Mali, France has led international efforts to root out Islamist militancy from the Sahel. Yet the jihadist threat has grown. Paris and its partners should reorient their military-centred approach toward helping improve governance in the region.
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.
The proliferation of armed groups and the expanding footprint of jihadist groups fuelled violence in Burkina Faso in 2019. The government should adopt a more integrated approach to security and tackle the crisis in rural areas by resolving land disputes.
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.
Faced with jihadist breakthrough in Burkina Faso, neighbouring states in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea increasingly fear attacks in their own territories. These countries should improve intelligence sharing, strengthen border controls and regain the trust of local populations.
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