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Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Unchanged Situation

Jihadist violence persisted mainly in northern regions, and President Kaboré was sworn in for second term. In Sahel region in north, suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 7 Dec kidnapped resident in Beldiabe town, Oudalan province. Suspected jihadists 15 Dec also ambushed army patrol in Mansila commune, Yagha province, killing soldier; subsequent clashes reportedly left 13 attackers dead. In Centre North region, security forces 15 Dec killed two suspected jihadists in Silmangue village, Namentenga province. Clashes between volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) and suspected jihadists 19 Dec reportedly left several jihadists dead and one VDP injured near Dablo town, Sanmatenga province. Situation remained fragile in East region: suspected al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) combatants 1 Dec kidnapped municipal councillor in Boula village, Gagna province. Policeman 9 Dec also shot dead farmer at checkpoint near Tanghin-Dassouri city in Centre region’s Kadiogo province; in response, protesters same day took to streets in Tanghin-Dassouri, briefly occupying unmanned police station and blocking road. Meanwhile, independent body National Human Rights Commission 7 Dec reported 647 incidents around 22 Nov general elections, which impeded human rights including freedom of movement, free speech and access to education. Constitutional Council 18 Dec confirmed re-election of President Kaboré, who was sworn in 28 Dec; Kaboré 30 Dec dissolved govt.

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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

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

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
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