This week on Hold Your Fire!, Naz Modirzadeh and Richard Atwood are joined by Sahel Project Director Jean-Hervé Jezequel to discuss how Sahelian states and their main backers in France can use dialogue and better governance to craft a more effective strategy against Islamist insurgents.
Suspected jihadists launched deadliest attack in country since 2015, killing 160 and displacing thousands. In Sahel region, suspected jihadist militants overnight 4-5 June attacked Solhan village, Yagha province, killing over 160 and displacing over 7,000 in deadliest attack in six years; amid claims jihadists may have launched attack to seize gold mine outside Solhan town, Sahel region’s governor 6 June suspended all activities linked to gold mining in Yagha and Oudalan provinces. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 8 June condemned massacre and denied involvement, while many blamed Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) for attack; govt 24 June pinned attack on JNIM affiliate, said majority of assailants were child soldiers. In Oudalan, suspected ISGS militants 4 June clashed with volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) in Markoye department, killing two VDPs; suspected jihadists 14 June killed at least 13 civilians in same area. In Centre-North region, suspected VDPs 2 June killed ethnic Fulani woman in Nasséré village, Bam province, and unidentified assailants 21 June ambushed police patrol on Barsalogo-Foubé axis, Sanmatenga province, killing at least 11. In North region, suspected JNIM-affiliated Katiba Macina or Ansarul Islam militants 4 June attacked VDP unit in Titao department, killing one VDP. Thousands 26 June demonstrated in Kaya city, Centre-North region and Titao town, North region, calling for state action against rising insecurity. National Reconciliation Minister Zéphirin Diabré 1 June announced govt opposition to negotiating with ISGS and JNIM but remained open to discussions on demobilisation and repatriation of Burkinabé jihadists operating overseas.
Since 2013, when it sent troops to Mali, France has led international efforts to root out Islamist militancy from the Sahel. Yet the jihadist threat has grown. Paris and its partners should reorient their military-centred approach toward helping improve governance in the region.
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.
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.
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.
Créée en février 2017, la Force conjointe du G5 Sahel est une force de nouvelle génération dans un espace sahélien où se bousculent des initiatives militaires et diplomatiques parfois concurrentes. Il ne suffira pas de fournir des armes et de l’argent pour résoudre les crises sahéliennes. Pour atteindre ses objectifs, la force doit gagner la confiance des populations et des puissances régionales et obtenir leur soutien.
Jihadist violence in the West African Sahel has now spread to the north of Burkina Faso. The response of Ouagadougou and its partners must go beyond the obvious religious and security dimensions of the crisis, and any solution must take into account deep-rooted social and local factors.
Putting a bounty on militant leaders’ heads, these types of policy moves, make negotiations and outreach [in Burkina Faso] quite a bit harder.
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.
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.
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.
The new rulers [in Burkina Faso] want to use justice when it serves them but they don't want to sink their own ship.
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.
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.
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.