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Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Unchanged Situation

Jihadist insurgency and counter-insurgency operations continued to fuel intercommunal tensions across country, notably in east where jihadists gained ground. Army early Sept launched large-scale counter-insurgency operation in all three regions in north, but jihadists, mainly from Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM), continued to target military and volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs). In Sahel region’s Soum province, suspected JNIM insurgents 11 Sept ambushed new elite regiment on Gaskindé-Djibo axis, killing four soldiers. Suspected JNIM insurgents next day attacked VDP unit in Boukouma area, wounding at least two VDPs. Local sources reported military 18 Sept killed about 40 civilians in operation in Tin Akoff area in Sahel region’s Oudalan province. In North region, JNIM 11 Sept attacked VDP unit near Tangaye commune, killing at least one and wounding many. In Centre North region, suspected jihadists 12 Sept stopped trucks coming from Kaya city, Sanmatenga province, in Tafogo, Namentenga province, and seized their shipment. Unidentified assailants 19 Sept ambushed military unit on Bourzanga-Namsiguia road, Bam province, death toll unknown. In East region, jihadist violence and counter-insurgency operations by VDPs continued to fuel tensions between Fulani and Mossi communities. VDPs 1 Sept reportedly abducted member of Fulani community on road between Fada (Gourma province) and Pama (Kompienga province). Suspected jihadists 17 Sept killed three VDPs in ambush on Fada-Nagré axis, Gourma province; in retaliation, VDPs same day killed three Fulanis in area. Jihadist groups also expanded in hitherto safe areas of East region. In Gnagna province, jihadists 15 Sept briefly kidnapped five NGO workers, and next day burned primary school in Bilanga area. Islamic State (ISIS) militants 15 Sept briefly occupied Tansarga town in Tapoa province, ransacking and burning several public buildings. Intercommunal and jihadist violence remained high in Boucle du Mouhoun region in west. In Barani commune, unidentified assailants 16 Sept killed two sons of Fulani Cheikh; suspected jihadists next day killed Dogon chief of Pellin 2 village, and day after killed at least one civilian in Pampakuy village. Ahead of presidential election scheduled for 22 Nov, several candidates late Sept submitted their candidacy, including President Kaboré 29 Sept.

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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

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
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.