Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Deteriorated Situation

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).  

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In The News

30 Sep 2022
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. Financial Times
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Mathieu Pellerin

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel
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 h... 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 e... Bloomberg

Cynthia Ohayon

Former Analyst, West Africa

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