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Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Unchanged Situation

Amid ongoing jihadist violence in north and east, security forces, self-defence militias and volunteers fighting alongside security forces were accused of killing civilians, notably ethnic Fulanis, whom they accuse of supporting jihadists. Violence continued in Sahel region’s Soum province (north). IED attack 6 June killed two soldiers in Pobé-Mengao area. Troops 9 June repelled jihadist attack on Kelbo military camp, killing 12 militants; one soldier also killed. Volunteers fighting alongside security forces 12 June killed Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) middle-rank officer in Arbinda town; next day reportedly killed five civilians in Djibo town, whom they accused of supporting jihadists. In North region’s Loroum province, unidentified assailants 26 June reportedly ambushed security forces convoy on Sollé-Ingané axis killing six; IED next day killed three civilians in same area. In Centre-North region, security forces and Koglweogo community defence group 15 June reportedly killed six civilians in Kaya city, Sanmatenga province. In East region, tit-for-tat attacks continued between jihadist groups and civilians on one hand, and Koglweogo or volunteers on the other. Suspected jihadist militants 5 June killed six suspected Koglweogo in Nagare market, Gnagna province; Koglweogo next day reportedly killed unspecified number of Fulani civilians in neighbouring locality. Volunteers fighting alongside security forces 7 June reportedly killed two Fulani civilians accused of supporting jihadists in Tanwalbougou locality, Gourma province. Suspected jihadists 13 June ambushed and killed two volunteers fighting alongside security forces in Liamou village, Gourma province, allegedly in retaliation for exactions against civilians committed days earlier by volunteers and Koglweogo in area. Hundreds of mostly Fulani local notables and civil society activists same day protested in Fada N’Gourma city against stigmatisation of their community. Locals mid-June accused security forces of arbitrarily arresting and killing three herders in Koalou locality, Kompienga province 15 June. Meanwhile, infighting between ISWAP and Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants continued to extend eastward from Sahel region in north into East region, with clashes reported late May-early June in Seno and Yagha provinces in Sahel, and Kompienga province in East.

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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

Senior Adviser 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

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
Commentary / Africa

The Sahel: Promoting Political alongside Military Action

Rural insurgencies across the Sahel are destabilising the region and undermining local security and governance. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to continue support for the Alliance for the Sahel and promote local dialogue to buttress law and order.