In a troubled region, Burkina Faso is a rare example of religious diversity and tolerance. But a perceived discrepancy between a significant number of Muslims and their low level of public representation has created tensions. To safeguard Burkina’s model of peaceful coexistence, the government must address this sensitive issue through careful reforms, particularly in the education system.
Violence likely involving jihadists continued in northern and western areas near Mali border. Gunmen 25 July killed five people wanted by security forces in Soum province in north in apparent score settling among members of jihadist group Ansarul Islam, amid possible infighting for leadership. Ansarul Islam late June posted on Facebook that Jafar Dicko had replaced Malam Ibrahim Dicko as leader, hinting that latter had died. Security forces repelled seven gunmen 12 July who fired shots at them in Doumbala, Kossi province in west; no casualties reported. Inhabitants fought nomadic Fulani herders after cattle damaged field in Doussoula, Sourou province in north west 11 July, one killed. At summit of G5 Sahel (Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania) in Bamako 1-2 July, members each pledged €10mn to finance 5,000-strong joint military force to counter jihadism in region (see Mali). National Assembly 4 July passed law on workings of High Court of Justice that paves way for resumption of trial of 34 former ministers under former President Compaoré for involvement in repression of Oct 2014 popular uprising. Arrest warrant against François Compaoré (former president’s brother) for his role in 1998 assassination of journalist Norbert Zongo issued early May revealed 28 July. UN working group on arbitrary detention early July said detention of former Foreign Minister Bassolé for alleged involvement in Sept 2015 military coup was arbitrary and that he should not be tried by military court because he was on leave from military at time of coup. Govt 7 July dismissed accusation, saying all civilians involved in coup would face military justice.
Burkina Faso’s democratically elected new government faces great challenges to deliver on justice, socio-economic needs and regional security. To succeed, authorities must resist the temptation to establish a new one-party hegemony. Instead, they should engage in social dialogue and political reconciliation, military reform, and friendly relations with neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire.
Burkina Faso’s faltering transition faces elections in less than four months amid political tensions and social agitation. A controversial electoral code could inject the poison of exclusion into a country that is attached to multiparty politics. It is time for political and civil society actors to begin a formal dialogue to reduce the risks.
Three months after Blaise Compaoré’s departure, Burkina Faso’s transition is moving forward in an uncertain context. The provisional government, with the help of its international partners, should initiate urgent reforms and ensure the October 2015 elections allow for peaceful, democratic change.
If President Blaise Compaoré fails to manage his departure well, the country could face political upheaval in an increasingly troubled region.
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.
With jihadists and armed groups exploiting political and security vacuums across the Sahel, Mali and neighbouring states will continue to face insecurity. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2017 annual early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to rethink international development strategies and to support local government initiatives that combat radicalisation.
Crisis Group's West Africa Analyst Cynthia Ohayon explains the challenges of the upcoming elections in Burkina Faso and measures how to mitigate the country's tensions after the failed coup in September 2015.
Le Burkina Faso, où des soldats du Régiment de Sécurité Présidentielle (RSP) refusent toujours de désarmer malgré l'échec de leur coup d'Etat, doit, pour sortir durablement de la crise, "trouver sa voie médiane" entre besoins de "justice" et de "réconciliation", estime Cynthia Ohayon, experte de l'ONG International Crisis Group, basée à Dakar.
Originally published in AFP
La fragile transition au Burkina Faso dispose de moins de quatre mois pour organiser des élections dans un contexte de tensions politiques et de forte agitation sociale. Dans cette vidéo, Cynthia Ohayon, analyste principal pour l'Afrique de l'ouest pour Crisis Group, analyse le processus électoral au Burkina Faso et recommande aux acteurs politiques et à la société civile de s’engager dans un dialogue formel.