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Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Deteriorated Situation

Suspected jihadist attacks and intercommunal violence surged in east and north. In East region, suspected jihadists late Nov-early Dec killed at least 30 people in string of attacks reportedly in retaliation for late Nov attacks by Koglweogo community defence group that killed twenty Fulani in Gourma province: suspected jihadists 1 Dec killed five Koglweogo in Nagare, Gnagna province and fourteen Protestant worshippers in Hantoukoura church in Komonjdjari province. Security forces 11 Dec killed fifteen suspected jihadists in Pama, Kompienga province. Unidentified assailants 14 Dec killed seven civilians including five Koglweogo in Kantari, Tapoa province. In north, jihadist attacks targeted security forces and civilians. Suspected members of jihadist Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 3 Dec attacked military positions, killing three soldiers in Toeni, Boucle du Mouhoun region, and wounding four in Banh, North region; army said it killed twenty assailants. In retaliation, army killed 28 suspected militants in three airstrikes in Yatenga province, North region 4 Dec. Suspected jihadists 24 Dec attacked Arbinda town, Soum province in northern Sahel region, killing 35 civilians and seven military; security forces reportedly also killed 80 assailants. Suspected jihadists 26 Dec ambushed military patrol in Hallele, 60km from Arbinda, killing eleven soldiers. Parliament 5 Dec approved 16% increase in defence spending in 2020. Relations with France grew strained after latter 18 Nov raised its assessment of insecurity in country and French President Macron early Dec invited G5 Sahel leaders to Pau in south west France “to clarify their expectations of France” amid growing anti-French sentiment in region. President Kaboré 12 Dec said “the tone and the form” of Macron’s invitation were “problematic”. Meeting initially planned for 16 Dec postponed to 13 Jan. France late Dec designated area in south west running along border with Côte d’Ivoire as red zone, highest level of security risk.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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

Program Director, Africa
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

Senior Adviser 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

Commentary / Africa

Burkina Faso’s Alarming Escalation of Jihadist Violence

Attacks on the Burkina Faso army headquarters and the French Embassy on 2 March 2018 were better organised, involved heavier weapons and were more sustained than anything seen so far in Burkina Faso. In this Q&A, our West Africa Project Director Rinaldo Depagne says the jihadist assault further exposes worrying weakness in the Burkinabé security forces.

Also available in Français
Commentary / Africa

The Sahel: Promoting Political alongside Military Action

Rural insurgencies across the Sahel are destabilising the region and undermining local security and governance. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to continue support for the Alliance for the Sahel and promote local dialogue to buttress law and order.

Impact Note / Africa

Burkina Faso : présenter les conclusions d’un rapport aux protagonistes

Un rapport de Crisis Group est le fruit de plusieurs mois de travail de terrain, de rédaction et de débats. En outre, comme le montre ce reportage photo, le moment où l'analyste présente cette nouvelle publication à ses lecteurs est également le point de départ d'un nouveau cycle de recherche.

Also available in English
Report / Africa

Force du G5 Sahel : trouver sa place dans l’embouteillage sécuritaire

Créée en février 2017, la Force conjointe du G5 Sahel est une force de nouvelle génération dans un espace sahélien où se bousculent des initiatives militaires et diplomatiques parfois concurrentes. Il ne suffira pas de fournir des armes et de l’argent pour résoudre les crises sahéliennes. Pour atteindre ses objectifs, la force doit gagner la confiance des populations et des puissances régionales et obtenir leur soutien.

Also available in English
Report / Africa

The Social Roots of Jihadist Violence in Burkina Faso’s North

Jihadist violence in the West African Sahel has now spread to the north of Burkina Faso. The response of Ouagadougou and its partners must go beyond the obvious religious and security dimensions of the crisis, and any solution must take into account deep-rooted social and local factors.

Also available in Français