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Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Deteriorated Situation

Jihadists launched deadliest attack in months in East region and violence spread to previously unaffected towns, notably in Boucle du Mouhoun region; transitional govt faced criticism particularly over human rights record. In East region, presumed Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants 14 May ambushed civilian convoy in Kompienga province, killing 14 civilians and three VDPs; 19 May took control of Madjoari military camp (also Kompienga), killing 11 soldiers; 25 May launched deadliest attack in months, killing over 50 people near Madjoari village. Severe insecurity persisted in Sahel region (north): JNIM 7 May killed at least nine volunteers fighting alongside security forces and two civilians in ambush near Bambofa village (Seno province); suspected jihadists 13-14 May killed 13 volunteer fighters and at least 13 civilians in Guessel and Salmossi communes (Oudalan province). Also in Sahel, armed forces operation 26 May reportedly killed 12 jihadists, including local commander, in Tongomayel commune (Soum province). In Centre-North region, encounter between presumed JNIM militants and gendarmes 5 May left five gendarmes and eight militants dead in Ouanobian village (Sanmatenga province); unidentified jihadists next day killed three volunteer fighters in Boroum village (Namentenga province). In North region, presumed JNIM militants 5 May killed three soldiers, four volunteer fighters and two civilians in ambush in Loroum province. In Boucle du Mouhoun region (west), presumed JNIM militants 7-8 May attacked prison in Nouna town (Kossi province), freeing over 60 prisoners; govt forces claimed killing 40 JNIM militants 9 May after group ambushed them in Barani area, Kossi province. Meanwhile, thousands 1 May reportedly protested in capital Ouagadougou, denounced ruling junta’s ineffectiveness and encroachment on civil liberties. NGO Human Rights Watch 16 May reported govt forces and allied volunteer fighters committed 42 summary killings and 14 enforced disappearances between Sept 2021 and April 2022. Amid tensions over transition duration, West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS 17 May sent mission to country to assess security situation in response to transitional govt’s late April request.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

26 Jan 2022
Considering Ecowas’ recent failures to deter coups, what happened in Mali and Burkina Faso may inspire other officers in the region. Bloomberg

Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim

Consulting Analyst, Sahel
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

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