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Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Unchanged Situation

Jihadist attacks persisted in north and east, leaving scores dead, while govt denied negotiating with jihadists. Spate of jihadist attacks reported across Sahel region (north) early March. In Oudalan province, suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) 10 March clashed with soldiers and volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) in Tin-Agadel village, leaving two ISGS and one civilian dead. In Soum province, ambulance 2 March struck improvised explosive device (IED) likely placed by al-Qaeda-linked Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) on Mansila-Solhan road, killing six; unidentified gunmen next day killed five ethnic Fulani civilians including village chief and his son in Kabaoua. In Seno province, several incidents reported in Gorgadji department: suspected ISGS combatants 9 March attacked Guidé village, killing one civilian and seizing livestock; security forces 20 March clashed with suspected jihadists in Gorgadji commune, reportedly leaving five militants and one VDP killed. Meanwhile, clashes between JNIM and ISGS, notably near Ayagorou village, Oudalan province, 6-7 March continued to weaken ISGS’s positions in Sahel region. Centre-North region saw significant clashes between VDPs and jihadists. Notably, suspected ISGS 1 March killed two VDPs and one civilian in Poussoumpoudou mining site, Namentenga province; suspected JNIM combatants 5-6 March attacked VDPs and security forces convoy in Kourao area, Bam province, killing one soldier and five VDPs; further clashes 20 March reportedly left five suspected jihadists and one VDP dead in Ourfaré village, Namentenga province. Jihadist groups continued to demonstrate growing influence in East region: suspected jihadists 7 March abducted two, including member of Koglweogo self-defence group, in Kompienga village, next day killed one civilian in Tagou village, also Kompienga province. In Cascades region in south west, presumed JNIM-affiliated Katiba Macina militants 10 March attacked Gontiedougou village, Comoe province, wounding several residents. Govt 4 March denied it was negotiating with “terrorist groups”, after investigative newspaper L’Évènement late Feb claimed JNIM leader Iyad Ag Ghali negotiated release of 20 JNIM members with national intelligence agency.

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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.

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