Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Deteriorated Situation

Political instability reached new heights as second coup this year ousted transitional President Lt. Col. Damiba amid rampant violence countrywide.

Interim president toppled after less than nine months in power. Heavy gunfire 30 Sept erupted in capital Ouagadougou, notably near military camp allegedly hosting transitional president, Lt. Col. Damiba, as troops blocked several roads. Junior military officers — led by Capt. Ibrahim Traoré — hours later seized control of state television, announced they had toppled Damiba, whom they accused of failing to quell escalating violence across country since taking power in Jan. New military leaders same day closed borders, imposed night curfew and dissolved transitional govt. West African regional bloc ECOWAS immediately condemned coup, called for return to constitutional order. Earlier in month, Damiba reorganised security forces amid mounting popular discontent at deteriorating socio-economic and security situation. Notably, Damiba 12 Sept sacked Defence Minister Gen. Barthelemy Simpore and assumed role himself; also announced redeploying military units from areas largely spared by violence to flashpoints in Centre-North and Boucle du Mouhoun regions.

Violence remained pervasive in north, centre and east. In Sahel region’s Soum province, jihadists targeted convoys carrying supplies to Djibo town, which has been under blockade by al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) since Feb: at least 35 civilians killed 5 Sept in explosive device attack on Bourzanga-Djibo axis; at least 11 soldiers killed and 50 civilians missing after 26 Sept attack near Gaskindé locality. Meanwhile in Oudalan province, army airstrikes 14 Sept reportedly killed three women and seven children in Timbolo village in recently created “military interest zones”. In Centre-North region, clash between vigilantes (VDPs) and presumed JNIM 2 Sept killed one militant and one vigilante in Namentenga province, while explosive device 6 Sept killed two gendarmes in Ouanobian commune, Sanmatenga province. In East region, suspected JNIM militants 1 Sept killed five VDPs in Taagou area (Gourma province). In Centre-East region, joint operation by VDPs, govt and Togolese forces 4 Sept killed 16 suspected JNIM militants near Sandiaba commune (Koulpélogo province). JNIM progressed in Boucle du Mouhoun region (west), notably taking control of Solenzo town (Banwa province) 5 Sept.

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In The News

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
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

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