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.
Insecurity persisted in north, mostly in Soum province bordering Mali. In Soum province, unidentified assailants 4 Sept attacked Kourfadji and kidnapped two people; 7 Sept attacked town hall in Diguel, kidnapped local official releasing him a few days later; 15 Sept killed village chief, imam and third person around Baraboulé; 22 Sept killed civilian in Diadio; 23 Sept attacked police station in Mentao refugee camp; military vehicle same day hit IED in Woro Saba, four soldiers injured; 26 Sept assailants ambushed military vehicle escorting mining convoy after it hit IED, killing two gendarmes; 27 Sept killed local official suspected of complicity with jihadists in Nassoumbou, near Djibo; four bodies found at Touronata 28 Sept. Insecurity spread west: gunmen attacked gendarmerie post 27 Sept in Toéni, Sourou region, near Mali border. Facebook post allegedly by jihadist group Ansarul Islam 12 Sept claimed al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadist coalition Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM) responsible for 13 Aug attack in capital Ouagadougou. Human Rights Watch 8 Sept criticised security forces for human rights abuses.
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.
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.