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Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Unchanged Situation

Military stepped up aerial campaign against jihadists in north, while deadly violence persisted in several regions, including in east and south west.Air Force launched several airstrikes against presumed al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) positions in Sahel region’s Soum province 14-15 Sept, and Centre-North region’s Sanmatenga provinces 18 and 21 Sept; number of casualties unknown. Meanwhile in Sahel region (north), unidentified assailants 3 Sept shot civilian dead near Arbinda town, Soum province. Amid rise in violence in Soum since Aug, absence of direct clashes between army and JNIM in areas covered by 2020 ceasefire agreement may indicate pact still holding. JNIM and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 18 Sept clashed in Soum province’s Koutougou department. In Centre-North region, residents in Foubé locality, Sanmatenga province, 11 Sept called for help, said embargo imposed by armed groups since May will soon lead to starvation. Police 1 Sept fired tear gas against artisanal miners inside dugouts of Bissa gold mine in Bam province, killing eight. In East region, suspected JNIM 12 Sept carried out sophisticated ambush against security forces convoy in border zone between Gourma and Tapoa provinces, leaving six gendarmes and one civilian dead; overnight 15-16 Sept killed soldier in Foutouri department, Komondjari province. In Cascades region (south west), violence in Mangodara commune, Comoé province, starting early Sept reportedly forced thousands to flee; notably, unidentified gunmen 17 Sept reportedly killed six civilians in Noumoukiédougou village. France 16 Sept said French Barkhane forces mid-Aug killed ISGS leader Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui in strike in tri-border area between Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. G5 Sahel force’s member states (Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Chad) 31 Aug-1 Sept met in Niger’s capital Niamey, pledged to develop more multilateral and bilateral operations in tri-border area.
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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

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

Interim Vice President & 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

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

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
Commentary / Africa

Tackling Burkina Faso’s Insurgencies and Unrest

Burkina Faso is suffering mounting insurgent attacks and social unrest. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2019 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU to support the return of some Burkinabé troops from Mali and to fund social programs that could ease discontent.

Also available in Français