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Amid rampant jihadist violence countrywide, volunteer fighters reportedly committed abuses against civilians, and authorities ordered French military contingent stationed in Burkina Faso to leave.
Jihadist violence continued to affect most regions across country. In Sahel region (north), suspected jihadists 12-13 Jan abducted dozens of women and children near Arbinda town (Soum province); authorities 20 Jan announced 66 had been released. Unidentified armed group attack 30 Jan in Falagountou town (Séno province) left at least 12 govt and allied forces, one civilian and 15 assailants dead. Suspected al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) combatants throughout month clashed with volunteer fighters allied with govt forces (VDPs) notably in Centre-East, East and Centre-North regions, with six VDPs and one civilian killed in Rakoengta locality (Bam province) 19 Jan. In Boucle du Mouhoun region (north west), suspected JNIM combatants 2-3 Jan killed at least seven civilians in Sourou and Nayala provinces; attacks by suspected jihadists 19 Jan also killed ten VDPs in Nayala province, and 12 civilians in Banwa province. Nearby in Centre-West region, unidentified assailants 26 Jan killed ten civilians in two attacks in Dassa commune (Sanguié province). In Cascades region further west, suspected JNIM militants 29-30 Jan reportedly killed 15 civilians near Linguekoro village (Comoé province).
Local NGO accused volunteer fighters of serious human rights abuses. Amid transitional authorities’ mass mobilisation of VDPs launched late 2022, civil society organisation Collectif contre l’Impunité et la Stigmatisation des Communautés 2 Jan accused VDPs of committing serious crimes and other abuses against civilians in Dec, including killings and kidnappings; authorities same day said investigation was under way into killing of 28 Fulani civilians night of 30-31 Dec in Nouna town (Kossi province, Boucle du Mouhoun region).
Tensions with France reached new heights. Ouagadougou 23 Jan announced requesting France to withdraw troops from Operation Sabre within a month; Paris 25 Jan confirmed 400-strong contingent stationed near capital Ouagadougou will leave as requested, and next day recalled Ambassador to Burkina Faso Luc Hallade for consultations.
Jihadist violence remained widespread, while ruling junta sought to control flow of information amid rumours of coup attempt and deal with Russian paramilitaries.
Insecurity remained rampant across country. In Sahel region, alleged Islamic State Sahel Province (IS-Sahel) militants 5 Dec attacked civilian convoy near Peteguerse locality (Seno province), killing four. In North region, govt forces and volunteer fighters (VDPs) 9 Dec conducted operation in Youba village (Yatenga province); between ten and 40 people reported dead, with some sources alleging victims were civilians. In Centre-North region, al-Qaeda affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 7 Dec killed at least 12 people in Boala village (Namentenga province). In Boucle du Mouhoun region (west), govt forces 2 Dec engaged suspected JNIM militants near Bondokuy village (Mouhoun province), leaving ten dead; 7 Dec killed 23 suspected jihadists in Bondokuy and Ouarkoye departments (Mouhoun), and 30 presumed JNIM fighters in Banwa province. Also in Boucle du Mouhoun, locals alleged VDPs overnight 30-31 Dec killed 28 civilians in Nouna city (Kossi province); govt announced investigation. In East region, passenger bus 25 Dec hit explosive device near Fada N’Gourma (Gourma province), leaving ten dead.
Authorities suspended French media outlet amid reports of coup attempt. Local and international media outlets 2 Dec reported govt forces had foiled coup plot; interim govt immediately denied claim, next day suspended French media outlet RFI for releasing “misleading information” about alleged coup attempt. Authorities 30 Dec reportedly reinforced military presence around presidential headquarters in response to “security alert”.
Ghana alleged Wagner presence in Burkina Faso, sparking diplomatic spat. In meeting with U.S. Sec State Blinken, Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo 14 Dec accused transitional President Capt. Traoré of hiring Russian paramilitary Wagner Group to fight jihadists near border with Ghana. Interim govt 16 Dec called allegations “grave and inaccurate” and summoned Ghanaian ambassador to Burkina Faso. Ghana’s national security minister 21 Dec travelled to capital Ouagadougou, met with Traoré in apparent attempt to mend ties.
In other important developments. Govt 23 Dec ordered expulsion of UN coordinator Barbara Manzi; UN Sec Gen António Guterres next day said Ouagadougou had no authority to expel UN officials.
Transitional leadership sought to consolidate power, while UN human rights office accused military of shelling villages amid countrywide insecurity.
New junta leaders installed transitional legislature. New 71-member transitional legislative assembly 11 Nov took office, same day elected previous legislature member Ousmane Bougouma as speaker; 19 Nov voted in favour of PM Apollinaire Joachim Kyélem de Tambela’s general policy statement, which emphasised securing “the territory and the populations”. Following late Oct nationwide civilian recruitment to fight jihadists, transitional President Capt. Traoré 14 Nov announced formation of six new rapid intervention units.
Tensions ran high with France, transitional govt sought regional support. Hundreds 18 Nov protested in capital Ouagadougou against French military presence in country. In speech before transitional assembly, Tambela 19 Nov vowed to diversify security partnerships; French Armed Forces Minister Sébastien Lecornu same day alluded to French forces’ potential withdrawal from Burkina Faso, as Barkhane Operation 9 Nov came to formal end. Meanwhile, Traoré 2 Nov travelled to Mali, met with counterpart Col. Assimi Goïta to discuss military cooperation. Ouagadougou around 3 Nov secured extradition from Togo of four Burkinabé officers close to deposed transition President Lt-Col. Damiba and suspected of “plotting” against Traoré.
Dozens reportedly killed in military operation as insecurity remained widespread. In Sahel region (north), army and volunteer fighters (VDPs) 6-9 Nov conducted counter-insurgency operation near Djibo town (Soum province); shelling and airstrikes on several villages reportedly left 42 dead, including civilians; after UN human rights office 10 Nov expressed concern, govt 12 Nov vowed to launch investigation. Also in Sahel, Islamic State Sahel Province (IS-Sahel) 15 Nov killed ten Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) fighters in Deou village and Erafnaman locality, while suspected IS-Sahel militants 21 Nov killed six civilians near Markoye town (all Oudalan province). In North region, troops 9 Nov repelled alleged JNIM attack on military patrol in Solle town (Loroum province), leaving 33 assailants dead. In Centre-North region, suspected JNIM elements 21 Nov attacked Safi village (Namentenga province) near Kaya city, killing eight VDPs. In East region, govt forces 4 Nov engaged alleged JNIM combatants near Tanwalbougou locality (Gourma province), leaving around ten dead.
Amid countrywide insecurity, new transitional leadership consolidated control following late September coup.
New coup leaders secured national and regional support. Supporters of new coup leader Capt. Ibrahim Traoré 2 Oct marched in capital Ouagadougou waving Russian flag and threw rocks at French embassy on allegations that deposed President Lt. Col. Damiba was hiding out at French base to plot “counteroffensive”; Paris immediately denied any involvement. Damiba same day agreed to step down and left for neighbouring Togo. Traoré 2-3 Oct reportedly secured support from military chain of command, 4 Oct met with West African regional bloc ECOWAS mediator for Burkina Faso, former Nigerien President Issoufou. New transition charter, released mid-Oct, maintained Damiba’s commitment to hold elections by July 2024, prohibited transitional leadership from running in polls and confirmed Traoré’s appointment as head of state. Traoré 21 Oct took office as transitional president, next day named jurist Apollinaire Joachim Kyelem de Tembela as interim PM, and 25 Oct named govt of 23 ministers, including three members of military and five former Damiba ministers. Authorities 24-25 Oct announced initiative to recruit 50,000 civilians as army auxiliaries to help battle jihadists. Hundreds 28 Oct demonstrated in Ouagadougou demanding end of French military presence.
Insecurity remained rampant across country. In Sahel region’s Soum province, al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 24 Oct attacked army base in Djibo town, which has been under jihadist blockade for several months, leaving ten soldiers dead and over 50 wounded; 18 militants also killed. In Sahel region’s Oudalan province, presumed Islamic State-Sahel (IS Sahel) 11 Oct killed four people and kidnapped at least seven others in mosque in Gorom-Gorom commune; deadly clashes between IS Sahel and JNIM reported 8 and 10 Oct in Gorom-Gorom and Gountoure localities. JNIM continued sporadic attacks in Centre-North region’s Namentenga province. Notably, suspected JNIM 3 Oct seized Bouroum town, killing at least seven including three civilians; 15 Oct ambushed armed forces in Silmangué locality, leaving 12 security forces dead. In East region, suspected jihadists 29 Oct ambushed military convoy near Kikideni locality (Gourma province), killing at least 15 security forces.
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.
Govt forces increasingly targeted civilians as insecurity remained widespread despite notable reduction in violence in Sahel region. Military committed numerous abuses against civilians, notably ethnic Fulanis. Drone strike in Pognoa Sankoado village (East region) 1 Aug reportedly killed 37 residents; army in following days admitted to accidentally killing civilians in area. Soldiers 4 Aug allegedly arrested and summarily executed 14 civilians in Guilyende village (also East), and 8 Aug executed over 40 Fulani civilians in Tougouri locality (Centre-North region). Govt denied involvement in these killings and 18 Aug condemned calls circulating on social media for ethnic cleansing of Fulani community. In East region, govt-backed vigilantes (VDPs) 10 Aug routed attack by presumed al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) combatants near Otatougou village, killing 11 including one JNIM commander; unidentified gunmen 26 Aug killed at least seven civilians in attack on convoy coming from Boungou gold mine. In Centre-North region, presumed JNIM 4 Aug launched simultaneous attacks in several areas of Bam province, killing four soldiers and nine VDPs; govt forces allegedly killed 34 militants. Also in Bam, explosive device attack 9 Aug killed 15 soldiers near Namssiguia town. Amid lull in violence in Sahel region, jihadists continued to plant explosive devices in attempt to tighten their stranglehold around population centres, notably killing two soldiers in Djamana village 12 Aug. Insecurity increased marginally in North and Boucle du Mouhoun regions further west. Military-civilian convoy 4 Aug hit explosive device between towns of Gomboro (Boucle du Mouhoun) and Zogore (North), leaving three civilians dead. Suspected jihadists 8 Aug killed at least ten, including civilians and VDPs, in Sima village in North region’s Yatenga province. Govt sought to adjust response to insecurity amid public discontent as police 12 Aug dispersed anti-French demonstration in capital Ouagadougou with teargas. After transitional president, Lt-Col. Damiba, 1 Aug held National Defence Supreme Council meeting, Defence Minister Brig. Gen. Aimé Barthélémy Simporé 12 Aug announced military forces would undergo territorial reorganisation to better combat jihadists. Govt 6 Aug dismissed report from daily newspaper Aujourd’hui au Faso that it had agreed to 24-month ceasefire with jihadists.
Ruling junta reached agreement with West Africa’s regional bloc over transition timeline; former President Compaoré returned to Ouagadougou to mixed reception as part of govt’s push for national unity; insecurity remained rampant in several regions. Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) 3 July withdrew threat of sanctions after agreeing with Ouagadougou on 24-month transition starting 1 July. Former President Compaoré 7 July returned home for first time since his 2014 ousting to meet with Transitional President Lt-Col Damiba as part of latter’s reconciliation talks with five former heads of states scheduled for 8 July. Over 20 civil society organisations and political parties 7 July called on heads of states to boycott 8 July meeting, saying Compaoré, who was handed life imprisonment sentence in April for murder of predecessor Thomas Sankara in 1987, should be detained. Only Compaoré and Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo 8 July attended meeting with Damiba. Military reported successful counter-insurgency operations in Sahel region (north) as jihadists from al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) pursued efforts to isolate region from areas under govt control: two jihadist bases destroyed around 3 July in Yagha province and Seytenga town, with 34 militants reportedly killed; joint Burkinabè-Nigerien unit 8 July repelled presumed jihadist ambush near Sebba town (also Yagha), killing 22 militants. Jihadists however conducted deadly attacks in Yagha: up to 14 civilians killed 17 July in Guissendiori village, while army vehicle 27 July hit explosive device in Titabe area, leaving six soldiers dead. Jihadists continued to consolidate territorial control in Centre-North region, which could pave the way for attacks closer to capital Ouagadougou. Notably, presumed ISGS 3 July attacked artisanal mining site near Yeou village (Namentenga province), killing 18 vigilantes; and suspected JNIM militants 10 July killed at least five people in Barsalogho town (Sanmatenga province), prompting govt airstrikes in area. In Centre-East region, presumed JNIM militants 22 July reportedly attacked two villages of Koulpelogo province; 15 killed and others missing. Several incidents also reported in western regions. Notably, in Boucle du Mouhoun region, suspected JNIM overnight 3-4 July killed 22 civilians in Bourasso town (Kossi province).
Jihadist violence continued to rage across country, notably in north where militants killed over 80 civilians in one single attack and targeted mining areas. Jihadist raids left heavy toll on civilians in Sahel region (north). Suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 9 June attacked gendarmerie in Seytenga town (Seno province), killing 11 gendarmes; 11-12 June returned to Seytenga and killed 86 civilians over their perceived collaboration with security forces, leaving 20,000 displaced. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) continued to close in on Djibo town (Soum province, also Sahel), killing six people 2 June; security forces killed seven jihadists in response. In North region, JNIM 9 June attacked Karma gold mine (Yatenga province), killing two civilians and one soldier; security forces killed up to 27 assailants in counter-offensive. Jihadist groups continued expansion across Centre-North region notably in Bam province: presumed JNIM 11 June reportedly killed six civilians in Alga village, and unidentified group 18 June killed 13 people in Somlamisguima artisanal mining site near Biliga village. In Namentenga province, presumed jihadists 16 June killed two civilians and eight volunteer fighters in Boroum town. Security situation in East region remained precarious. Notably, JNIM 5 June killed 12 militiamen in ambush near Nagré town (Gourma province). In Boucle du Mouhoun region in west, presumed JNIM militants 9 June attacked joint army-gendarmerie position in Barani town; four soldiers and between ten and 20 militants killed. Transitional assembly 6 June granted govt rapid intervention powers in security matters, and authorities 20 June created two “military interest zones” where “human presence is prohibited” in Sahel and East regions. West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS 4 June postponed decision on imposing sanctions on Burkina Faso to 3 July; also appointed as mediator former Nigerien President Issoufou, who 18 June met with President Lt Col Damiba in capital Ouagadougou. Govt 29 June unveiled electoral calendar scheduling constitutional referendum for late 2024 and general elections for Feb 2025. Group of 58 political parties 17 June called for former President Kaboré’s release; Damiba 21 June met with Kaboré in effort to ease political tensions.
Jihadists launched deadliest attack in months in East region and violence spread to previously unaffected towns, notably in Boucle du Mouhoun region; transitional govt faced criticism particularly over human rights record. In East region, presumed Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants 14 May ambushed civilian convoy in Kompienga province, killing 14 civilians and three VDPs; 19 May took control of Madjoari military camp (also Kompienga), killing 11 soldiers; 25 May launched deadliest attack in months, killing over 50 people near Madjoari village. Severe insecurity persisted in Sahel region (north): JNIM 7 May killed at least nine volunteers fighting alongside security forces and two civilians in ambush near Bambofa village (Seno province); suspected jihadists 13-14 May killed 13 volunteer fighters and at least 13 civilians in Guessel and Salmossi communes (Oudalan province). Also in Sahel, armed forces operation 26 May reportedly killed 12 jihadists, including local commander, in Tongomayel commune (Soum province). In Centre-North region, encounter between presumed JNIM militants and gendarmes 5 May left five gendarmes and eight militants dead in Ouanobian village (Sanmatenga province); unidentified jihadists next day killed three volunteer fighters in Boroum village (Namentenga province). In North region, presumed JNIM militants 5 May killed three soldiers, four volunteer fighters and two civilians in ambush in Loroum province. In Boucle du Mouhoun region (west), presumed JNIM militants 7-8 May attacked prison in Nouna town (Kossi province), freeing over 60 prisoners; govt forces claimed killing 40 JNIM militants 9 May after group ambushed them in Barani area, Kossi province. Meanwhile, thousands 1 May reportedly protested in capital Ouagadougou, denounced ruling junta’s ineffectiveness and encroachment on civil liberties. NGO Human Rights Watch 16 May reported govt forces and allied volunteer fighters committed 42 summary killings and 14 enforced disappearances between Sept 2021 and April 2022. Amid tensions over transition duration, West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS 17 May sent mission to country to assess security situation in response to transitional govt’s late April request.
Deadly jihadist attacks and counter-insurgency operations continued in north; military junta announced local-level talks with jihadist groups and requested more time from West Africa regional bloc to finalise transition timetable. Jihadist violence increased in Centre-North region from late March. Presumed al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants overnight 31 March-1 April killed 20 civilians in Namentenga province and 8 April attacked military detachment, killing 12 soldiers and four volunteers fighting alongside security forces in Sanmatenga province. Residents of Bourzanga town (Bam province, also Centre-North), where jihadists established presence in March, early April said town running out of supplies. In Sahel region (north), military in cooperation with Nigerien forces 2-25 April conducted airstrikes and ground offensives against both JNIM and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, claimed about 100 combatants killed and 40 detained; local sources said most killed were civilians, which defence ministry 24 April denied. Coordinated jihadist attacks on two military detachments 24 April killed nine soldiers and six civilians in Pobé-Mengao department (Soum province, also Sahel). Suspected jihadists 26 April reportedly opened fire on civilians near Markoye town (Oudalan province, Sahel), killing 13. Amid mounting public pressure to address insecurity, President Lt Col Damiba 1 April announced dialogue with jihadists, with aim of “integrating Burkinabe youth from these groups back into society”; Council of Ministers 13 April created commission coordinating local dialogue committees. Interim govt 15 April announced recruitment, training and deployment of 3,000 additional soldiers by May. Deposed President Kaboré released from house arrest 6 April. Military junta 22 April requested more time to finalise “acceptable transition timetable” ahead of West African regional body ECOWAS 25 April deadline; ECOWAS 27 April announced it would send mission to country to determine next steps. Ouagadougou military court 6 April sentenced former President Compaoré to life imprisonment for 1987 murder of then-President Sankara. Sankara’s relatives and several civil society groups immediately welcomed trial’s outcome, with Thomas Sankara Memorial Committee hailing it as “great victory”; former National Reconciliation Minister Zephirin Diabré 10 April however said Compaoré’s conviction could be obstacle to future national reconciliation.
Surge in jihadist violence recorded in north and east after period of relative calm since Jan coup; international partners reacted cautiously to military junta’s three-year transitional plan. In Sahel region (north), presumed Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants launched raids on gold mining sites, killing at least 14 civilians in Seno province’s Seytenga department 10 March and another ten in Oudalan province’s Gorom-Gorom department 12 March; suspected jihadists 14 March killed three civilians and four volunteers fighting alongside security forces in Arbinda town, and air force 20-22 March reportedly killed 53 jihadists near Djibo town, both Soum province. In Centre-North region, presumed jihadists 6 March killed eight people in Sanmatenga province; al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants 13 March launched complex attacks in Namentenga province, reportedly killing 15 people including 13 gendarmes. In North region, local media 17 March reported security forces had killed approximately 40 jihadists in Loroum province 15-16 March. High levels of violence persisted in East region: army airstrikes in Kompienga and Tapoa provinces 3 March killed unknown number of JNIM militants; JNIM 20 March killed 13 soldiers in Gourma province’s Natiaboani area. In neighbouring Centre-East region, presumed JNIM militants 20 March launched complex ambush against military in Koulpelogo province, killing at least 11 soldiers. In Boucle du Mouhoun region (west), army 3 and 8 March conducted airstrikes on suspected jihadists after repelling sophisticated attack on Toeni military outpost (Sourou province) 28 Feb. Military junta leader Lt Col Damiba 1 March signed new transition charter allowing military to stay in power for three years; Damiba 2 March renewed oath of office as president under terms of new transitional charter. Damiba 5 March appointed new interim govt, with university lecturer Albert Ouedraogo sworn in as PM 7 March. In reaction to three-year transition plan, regional body Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) cancelled 3 March visit of regional leaders to capital Ouagadougou; 25 March threatened “economic and financial sanctions” should authorities fail to finalise “acceptable transition timetable” by 25 April.
Military junta approved three-year transition before elections; French and Burkinabé forces conducted airstrikes against jihadists in north and east. Lt Col Henri-Paul Sandaogo Damiba sworn in as president 16 Feb, pledged to “preserve, respect, uphold and defend the Constitution”. Junta early Feb set up 15-member technical commission tasked with outlining transition charter and roadmap; commission 23 Feb proposed 30-month transition led by Damiba before elections. After military junta 28 Feb opened “national consultation” to debate commission’s proposals, Damiba overnight 28 Feb-1 March signed charter outlining three-year transition. Amid lull in jihadist violence in Sahel region (north), military 2-3 and 11-13 Feb carried out airstrikes in Soum, Oudalan and Seno provinces. Centre-North region saw significant clashes between volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) and al-Qaeda affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) or Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) jihadists: at least four VDPs and one civilian killed in Namentenga province 2 and 11 Feb; seven dead including one civilian in Sanmatenga province 2-3 Feb. Explosive device attack on military convoy 8 Feb killed two soldiers in Centre-North’s Bam province. In North region, air force 11 Feb carried out two airstrikes on presumed JNIM positions in Yatenga province, causing unknown casualties. Also in Yatenga, French Barkhane forces 7 Feb launched airstrike on camp of JNIM-affiliated Ansarul Islam combatants suspected of involvement in Nov 2021 Inata attack; ten jihadists and four civilians reportedly killed. East region from late-Jan witnessed significant upsurge in violence. Barkhane forces 10 Feb carried out three airstrikes and one drone strike against presumed JNIM convoys in Tapoa province, killing around 40 militants; strikes reportedly targeted militants suspected of involvement in 8 Feb attacks in Benin (see Benin). Jihadists also flexed their muscles across East region despite stiff resistance from local volunteer defence groups; notably, presumed JNIM militants 11 Feb burned schools in several villages of Gnagna province.
Soldiers toppled President Kaboré in military coup amid growing public anger at govt’s inability to stem widespread violence. Hundreds 22 Jan protested notably in capital Ouagadougou to denounce insecurity and call on Kaboré to resign, defying gathering ban and erecting barricades; security forces responded with tear gas. Soldiers next day staged mutinies at several army barracks in Ouagadougou, Kaya city and elsewhere, and overnight 23-24 Jan attacked Kaboré’s residence. Soldiers under leadership of Third Military Region Commander Lt Col Henri-Paul Sandaogo Damiba 24 Jan declared military junta now in charge; also announced suspension of constitution, dissolution of parliament and govt. Hundreds next day celebrated Kaboré’s ouster notably in Ouagadougou. West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS 28 Jan suspended country from its governing bodies but stopped short of imposing sanctions, and African Union 31 Jan suspended country until constitutional order is restored. Military junta same day claimed it had restored constitution and appointed Damiba as interim head of state. Earlier in month, authorities 11 Jan said they had arrested Lt Col Emmanuel Zoungrana, leader of 12th Commando Regiment, alongside seven soldiers over alleged coup attempt. Meanwhile in Sahel region (north), suspected jihadists 11 Jan killed at least six soldiers in complex attack in Oudalan province. Clashes between al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) 2 Jan left at least nine dead (mainly ISGS) in Oudalan. Burkinabé and French forces 15-23 Jan reportedly killed around 60 suspected jihadists in country’s north. In Centre-North region, suspected jihadists 1-2 Jan killed four volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) in Namentenga province; 5 Jan killed 11 civilians in Sanmatenga province’s Pensa department. In East region, VDPs and Koglweogo community defence militia 21-23 Jan confronted suspected jihadists in Komondjari province; around 25 reportedly killed on all sides. In Cascades region (south west), JNIM 2 Jan killed two VDPs in Comoé province; military and VDPs same day dismantled presumed JNIM base in same area killing ten. In Boucle du Mouhoun region (west), suspected JNIM 1 Jan killed one soldier in Sourou province; army killed at least 29 militants in response.
Military conducted joint counter-insurgency operations with neighbours but violence continued to run high in north, and President Kaboré reshuffled govt and military leadership. Lull in jihadist attacks recorded in Sahel region as military retaliated against al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) following Inata attack that left over 50 dead in Nov. Burkina Faso and Niger 25 Nov-9 Dec conducted joint offensive along shared border as part of second phase of Taanli operation launched last June, claimed to have killed around 100 jihadist militants; Burkinabé army said artillery strikes 2 and 4 Dec killed 14 militants in Sahel region’s Yagha province. Some 1,200 troops from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Benin also deployed in border areas as part of Operation Odalgou 4 launched 26 Nov to counter possible spillover of jihadist attacks into Gulf of Guinea. Violence ran high in North region’s Loroum province. Notably, alleged JNIM militants 9 Dec ambushed and killed 14 people including 13 volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) in Titao town, and suspected jihadists 23 Dec ambushed convoy of tradesmen traveling to Titao under VDP escort, reportedly killing 41 including prominent VDP figure Soumaïla Ganame alias Ladji Yoro. Presumed JNIM-affiliated combatants week of 4-10 Dec attacked four police and gendarmerie stations in Boucle du Mouhoun region (west), destroying three. Amid growing dissatisfaction within army ranks over govt’s management of security crisis, Kaboré 3 Dec appointed new heads for all three military regions and new special forces commander; move comes after appointment late-Nov of young officers to head all three regional commands in gendarmerie. Following protests in recent weeks against govt’s inability to stem widespread jihadist violence, PM Christophe Dabiré and cabinet 8 Dec resigned. Kaboré 10 Dec named former UN official Lassina Zerbo as PM, and 13 Dec appointed new, smaller cabinet of 25 members. National Reconciliation Minister Zéphirin Diabré 28 Dec postponed national reconciliation forum, initially scheduled for 17-23 Jan, to unspecified date, citing opposition’s withdrawal from reconciliation process after Inata attack.
Jihadists launched deadliest attack on security forces since 2015, fuelling anti-govt protests calling on President Kaboré to step down. In Sahel region, over 300 suspected combatants of al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 14 Nov stormed military camp in Inata area, Soum province, killing at least 49 gendarmes and four civilians; deadliest attack suffered by troops since start of Islamist insurgency in 2015 revealed jihadists’ ambition to clear out zone of military presence. Military document leaked same day highlighted dire living and working conditions at Inata’s base, including lack of food; document’s authentication still pending. Elsewhere in Sahel region, suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS)-affiliated combatants 1 Nov killed ten civilians and abducted another four in Markoye department, Oudalan province; three abductees found dead two days later. Amid significant increase in jihadist violence in Sahel’s Seno province since mid-Oct, suspected ISGS 5 Nov killed two civilians in Seytenga department, and 12 Nov killed at least seven police in Falagountou department. In Centre-North region, suspected JNIM attack against military in Foubé town, Sanmatenga province, 21 Nov killed at least ten civilians and nine gendarmes. Jihadist violence also continued to accelerate in Cascades region (south west), notably in Comoé province near border with Côte d'Ivoire. Notably, suspected JNIM militants 13 Nov vandalised gendarmerie position in Mangodara department, setting material on fire. Amid rising public discontent over govt’s failure to stem violence, hundreds 16 Nov took to streets in capital Ouagadougou calling for Kaboré to resign. Kaboré next day dismissed two senior military officials, 25 Nov promised series of measures including govt and security forces reshuffle. Renewed anti-govt protests 27 Nov erupted in Ouagadougou; at least 20 reportedly injured as police fired tear gas to disperse crowd. Opposition to French military presence also came to light when protesters mid- to late-Nov blocked French military convoy on its way to Mali from Côte d’Ivoire in several locations; four people 20 Nov suffered gunshot wounds during standoff between protesters and French and Burkinabé forces in Kaya city (Centre-North). Authorities same day shut down mobile internet before restoring it 28 Nov.
Islamic State affiliate launched deadly attacks on civilians in northern Sahel region as jihadists continued to consolidate presence in east and expand westward. In Sahel region (north), presumed Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 1-2 Oct killed 13 people including internally displaced persons and seized livestock in Oudalan province’s Markoye department. Unidentified assailants 29 Oct ambushed mining convoy in Seno Province, leaving two missing. Meanwhile, air force mid-Oct conducted air strikes on ISGS positions in Sahel region’s Seno province for first time since Aug; military also claimed air and ground operations against al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants in Sahel region, reportedly killing 30 in Yagha province 1 Oct, and another ten in Soum province next day. In Centre-North region, presumed JNIM 4 Oct attacked military camp in Sanmatenga province’s Barsalogho department, leaving 14 soldiers dead; three militants reportedly killed. In Boucle du Mouhoun region (north west) unidentified gunmen 31 Oct attacked police station in Sourou province, killing five policemen; subsequent clashes reportedly left 15 assailants dead. In Cascades region (south west), spate of jihadists attacks, which started in Sept, continued in Comoé province. Notably, presumed JNIM 5 Oct clashed with VDPs in Mangodara department, one VDP and two militants reportedly dead; IED attacks 2 and 11 Oct killed four soldiers in same department. In East region, JNIM and affiliates week of 9-15 Oct abducted several civilians in separate attacks; 11 Oct killed two volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) in ambush in Kompienga province’s Madjoari department. Jihadist gains in east reportedly pushed displaced communities to negotiate their return with militants, and led to defections among VDPs. President Kaboré revamped armed forces, notably appointing new military chief of staff 6 Oct and new defence minister 14 Oct.
Military stepped up aerial campaign against jihadists in north, while deadly violence persisted in several regions, including in east and south west.Air Force launched several airstrikes against presumed al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) positions in Sahel region’s Soum province 14-15 Sept, and Centre-North region’s Sanmatenga provinces 18 and 21 Sept; number of casualties unknown. Meanwhile in Sahel region (north), unidentified assailants 3 Sept shot civilian dead near Arbinda town, Soum province. Amid rise in violence in Soum since Aug, absence of direct clashes between army and JNIM in areas covered by 2020 ceasefire agreement may indicate pact still holding. JNIM and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 18 Sept clashed in Soum province’s Koutougou department. In Centre-North region, residents in Foubé locality, Sanmatenga province, 11 Sept called for help, said embargo imposed by armed groups since May will soon lead to starvation. Police 1 Sept fired tear gas against artisanal miners inside dugouts of Bissa gold mine in Bam province, killing eight. In East region, suspected JNIM 12 Sept carried out sophisticated ambush against security forces convoy in border zone between Gourma and Tapoa provinces, leaving six gendarmes and one civilian dead; overnight 15-16 Sept killed soldier in Foutouri department, Komondjari province. In Cascades region (south west), violence in Mangodara commune, Comoé province, starting early Sept reportedly forced thousands to flee; notably, unidentified gunmen 17 Sept reportedly killed six civilians in Noumoukiédougou village. France 16 Sept said French Barkhane forces mid-Aug killed ISGS leader Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui in strike in tri-border area between Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. G5 Sahel force’s member states (Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Chad) 31 Aug-1 Sept met in Niger’s capital Niamey, pledged to develop more multilateral and bilateral operations in tri-border area.
Jihadists stepped up attacks, inflicting heaviest monthly death toll on military since 2019 and leaving scores of civilians killed. Series of deadly jihadist attacks reported in Sahel region (north) near borders with Mali and Niger. In Oudalan province, suspected jihadist militants 4 Aug killed 30 people – 15 soldiers, four volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) and 11 civilians – in Dambam, Gubda and Tokabangou localities; ten militants also killed. Clashes between al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) also continued in Oudalan, leaving ten militants killed in Déou department 15 Aug. In Seno province, VDPs 10 Aug clashed with suspected jihadist militants in Gorgadji department; five VDPs and 17 gunmen killed. In Soum province, jihadist combatants 18 Aug attacked military convoy escorting civilians near Boukouma village on Gorgadji-Arbinda axis, leaving 80 dead including 65 civilians; recent incidents in Soum reveal fragility of local non-aggression pact struck between govt and JNIM in late 2020. Rising insecurity also reported in Boucle du Mouhoun region (west). Suspected JNIM combatants 8 Aug ambushed military convoy in Toéni department, Sourou province, killing 12; attack may have come as retaliation for killing of JNIM leader Sidibe Ousmane and his spiritual guide Bande Amadou by defence forces in Kossi province previous day. Special anti-terrorism court in capital Ouagadougou 9-13 held first trials since its creation in 2017; 10 Aug sentenced two suspected members of JNIM-affiliated Ansarul Islam militants to 20 years in prison and next day sentenced suspected ISGS combatant to 21-year imprisonment. European Court of Human Rights 6 Aug temporarily suspended extradition from France of former President Compaoré's brother, François Compaoré, pending final decision; François Compaoré is wanted by Burkina Faso in connection with 1998 murder of journalist Norbert Zongo.
Thousands protested across country to denounce insecurity as jihadist attacks persisted in several regions. Amid mounting pressure following Solhan massacre which left over 160 dead in early June, President Kaboré 1 July sacked defence and security ministers, assuming defence portfolio himself. Thousands 3-4 July protested in capital Ouagadougou and other cities across country against insecurity and to demand govt action. Meanwhile, violence persisted albeit at lower intensity in Sahel region. In Soum province, IED allegedly planted by jihadists 5 July killed two women and one child on Liki-Arbinda axis (Arbinda department). In Oudalan province, suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 5 July killed three people in Tin-Zalayanane village (Tin-Akof department). Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) maintained attacks in North region, particularly Loroum province, notably killing four people and abducting two volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) in Nogo village (Titao department) 7 July; security forces and VDPs 13 July clashed with JNIM in Titao department, leaving two members of security forces and three VDPs wounded, and five VDPs missing. In Centre-North region, Sanmatenga province witnessed most violent incidents, including suspected JNIM attack on Niha-Mossi village (Pensa department) 10 July, which killed at least ten including seven VDPs. In East region, presumed JNIM militants 3 and 5 July killed three civilians and one VDP in Fada N’Gourma department, Gourma province. Military 26 July said troops had killed dozens of suspected jihadists in counter-insurgency operation in Kompienga province 19-25 July. Meanwhile, French Council of State 30 July cleared extradition of François Compaoré, brother of former President Blaise Compaoré, to Burkina Faso, where he is wanted in connection with 1998 murder of journalist Norbert Zongo; François Compaoré’s lawyers same day said he had appealed to European Court of Human Rights.
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.
Jihadist violence continued to run high; meanwhile, govt attempted to convince former President Compaoré to return to country to face justice. Jihadist violence continued in Sahel region reflecting broader security deterioration in tri-border area between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso: in Oudalan’s Tin-Akoff department, presumed Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 4 May attacked Menzourou village, killing eight including members of Kel Essouk Tuareg community; unidentified assailants 13-14 May attacked Wassakoré village, killing at least three, and attackers 18-19 May killed at least 15 civilians in Adjarara village. Also in Oudalan, several ISGS members 13 May reported killed in Déou department. In Seno province, unknown attackers 11 May killed eight civilians in Wiboria village. In Soum province, armed assailants 30 May attacked soldiers and volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) in Kelbo department, killing two VDPs. In East region, presumed Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants 3 May attacked Kodyel village, Komandjari province, killing at least 30 people, including two VDPs, and displacing over 4,400. In North region, govt early May conducted airstrikes targeting suspected jihadists around Koumbri and Sollé departments. Meanwhile, in Centre-North region, unidentified militants 18 May attacked VDPs in Firka locality, Pissila department, leaving four VDPs missing. During official visit to Côte d’Ivoire, Zéphirin Diabré, minister in charge of national reconciliation, 5 May met former Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré in first such high-level meeting since Compaoré’s exile in 2014, to discuss his return to Ouagadougou for judgement on complicity in 1987 murder of former President Sankara, key step for govt in national reconciliation process. Ivorian Defence Minister Téné Birahima Ouattara 10 May met President Kaboré in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou to discuss counter-terrorism efforts.
Jihadist violence persisted in several regions, with clashes between competing jihadist groups reported in north and spike in attacks against security forces in north and east. In Sahel region (north), al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) and JNIM-affiliated Katiba Macina 3-5 April clashed with Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants in Déou village, Oudalan province, leaving at least four ISGS killed; incidents followed similar confrontations which significantly weakened ISGS’s positions in Sahel in recent months. Also in Oudalan province, suspected ISGS combatants 8 April ambushed two vehicles on Markoye-Tokabango road, killing two civilians; raid likely motivated by group’s need for supplies. In Seno province, unidentified gunmen 26 April killed at least 18 civilians in several villages of Seytenga department, and ISGS militants 14 April killed at least ten volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) in Bouloye Siguidi village, Gorgadji department. VDPs also targeted in Centre-North region. Notably, suspected ISGS militants 1 April killed six VDPs in Dou village, Sanmatenga province, and suspected JNIM militants 6 April killed another in Koulwoko village, Namentenga province. Violence resumed in North region in late March-early April, including 7 April abduction of two miners by suspected Katiba Macina militants in Boussourdou area, Yatenga province. In East region, violence increased in Gourma province. After series of JNIM attacks on VPDs and civilians in Tanwalbougou area late March, suspected JNIM militants 5 April killed three gendarmes and four VDPs in ambush in Lopiengou village. In neighbouring Tapoa province, JNIM 27 April claimed previous day ambush of anti-poaching patrol in Arly National Park, which left three foreigners dead. Meanwhile, Ouagadougou military court 13 April indicted former President Compaoré, who has been living in exile in Côte d’Ivoire since 2014, for complicity in 1987 assassination of former President Sankara; national reconciliation minister, Zéphirin Diabré, had in March called for justice in Sankara case as step toward national reconciliation.
Jihadist attacks persisted in north and east, leaving scores dead, while govt denied negotiating with jihadists. Spate of jihadist attacks reported across Sahel region (north) early March. In Oudalan province, suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) 10 March clashed with soldiers and volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) in Tin-Agadel village, leaving two ISGS and one civilian dead. In Soum province, ambulance 2 March struck improvised explosive device (IED) likely placed by al-Qaeda-linked Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) on Mansila-Solhan road, killing six; unidentified gunmen next day killed five ethnic Fulani civilians including village chief and his son in Kabaoua. In Seno province, several incidents reported in Gorgadji department: suspected ISGS combatants 9 March attacked Guidé village, killing one civilian and seizing livestock; security forces 20 March clashed with suspected jihadists in Gorgadji commune, reportedly leaving five militants and one VDP killed. Meanwhile, clashes between JNIM and ISGS, notably near Ayagorou village, Oudalan province, 6-7 March continued to weaken ISGS’s positions in Sahel region. Centre-North region saw significant clashes between VDPs and jihadists. Notably, suspected ISGS 1 March killed two VDPs and one civilian in Poussoumpoudou mining site, Namentenga province; suspected JNIM combatants 5-6 March attacked VDPs and security forces convoy in Kourao area, Bam province, killing one soldier and five VDPs; further clashes 20 March reportedly left five suspected jihadists and one VDP dead in Ourfaré village, Namentenga province. Jihadist groups continued to demonstrate growing influence in East region: suspected jihadists 7 March abducted two, including member of Koglweogo self-defence group, in Kompienga village, next day killed one civilian in Tagou village, also Kompienga province. In Cascades region in south west, presumed JNIM-affiliated Katiba Macina militants 10 March attacked Gontiedougou village, Comoe province, wounding several residents. Govt 4 March denied it was negotiating with “terrorist groups”, after investigative newspaper L’Évènement late Feb claimed JNIM leader Iyad Ag Ghali negotiated release of 20 JNIM members with national intelligence agency.
Jihadist violence persisted mainly in north and PM Christophe Dabiré was sworn in. In Sahel region in north, jihadist activity continued. In Seno province, suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 1 Feb stormed Demni and Gountoudjie villages, killing two civilians and seizing livestock; 4 Feb killed imam and seized livestock in Adoudie village. In neighbouring Oudalan province, suspected ISGS militants 18 Feb killed at least nine civilians between Markoye and Tokabangou villages; army 23-24 Feb killed 11 suspected jihadists in ground and air operation in several areas. In Yagha province, IED 23 Feb killed two civilians near Mansila town. Also in Sahel region, clashes between al-Qaeda-linked Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) and ISGS militants 8-12 Feb left at least 17 ISGS and four JNIM combatants dead in Oudalan and Soum provinces. In Centre North region’s Sanmatenga province, suspected ISGS militants 3 Feb killed four in Raogo village; 10 Feb clashed with volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) in Kogowendé village, leaving two civilians dead. In Cascades region in south west, members of JNIM-affiliated Katiba Macina 9 Feb reportedly attacked Ouo gendarmerie in Comoé province, killing one gendarme. Authorities 8 Feb closed Tambili mining site in South West region following late Jan attack by armed villagers on Djikando mining site in South West region that killed eight. Meanwhile, PM Christophe Dabiré was sworn in 4 Feb; Dabiré same day presented govt’s roadmap with focus on peace and security, institutional reform and economic recovery; also expressed openness to dialogue with jihadist groups. G5 Sahel summit 15-16 Feb held in Chad’s capital N’Djamena; French President Macron announced Paris would not downsize military forces in Sahel until at least mid-2022, called for “civilian surge” to complement military efforts, and continued to oppose dialogue with jihadist leaders.
Jihadist violence continued unabated in north and PM Christophe Dabiré formed new cabinet following late-2020 elections. In northern Sahel region’s Oudalan province, army airstrikes 4 Jan killed ten Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants near Gountawola village; suspected ISGS militants next day assaulted civilians near Goungam town. In neighbouring Seno province, suspected al-Qaeda-linked Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) or ISGS combatants 5 Jan abducted one in Bani commune; suspected ISGS militants 8 Jan killed three in Gorgadji commune. In Soum province (Sahel region), ISGS militants and militants from JNIM-affiliated Katiba Macina and Ansarul Islam 2 Jan clashed in Tongomayel commune; at least ten fighters reportedly killed. Violence also persisted in North region. In Koumbri locality in Yatenga province, series of incidents took place early Jan: suspected Katiba Macina militants 4 Jan killed two volunteers (VDPs) fighting alongside security forces and four civilians; suspected VDP 7 Jan abducted two civilians at camp for internally displaced; suspected JNIM combatants 9 Jan clashed with security forces reportedly leaving one soldier and 11 militants killed. UN refugee agency 22 Jan said violence in and around Koumbri had displaced over 11,000 people, mostly women and children, since early Jan. French military 21 Jan said French troops 16-17 Jan killed over 20 jihadists in north near border with Mali. In Plateau-Central region, unidentified assailants 4 Jan stormed Loumbila village; six people killed, including two VDPs. In Cascades region in south west, body of Catholic priest Abbé Rodrigue Sanon, who went missing 19 Jan, was found 21 Jan in Toumousseni forest, 20km from regional capital Banfora. In East region, suspected JNIM militants 2 Jan abducted civilian in Kantchari commune, Tapoa province; suspected JNIM or ISGS militants next day abducted and killed councilman in Coalla commune, Gnagna province; suspected ISGS combatants 7 Jan abducted and next day executed two individuals in Foutouri commune, Komondjari province. President Kaboré, who was re-elected in late 2020, 5 Jan reappointed Christophe Dabiré as PM; Dabiré 10 Jan unveiled new 33-member cabinet featuring opposition figure Zephirin Diabré as state minister for “national reconciliation and social cohesion”.
Jihadist violence persisted mainly in northern regions, and President Kaboré was sworn in for second term. In Sahel region in north, suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants 7 Dec kidnapped resident in Beldiabe town, Oudalan province. Suspected jihadists 15 Dec also ambushed army patrol in Mansila commune, Yagha province, killing soldier; subsequent clashes reportedly left 13 attackers dead. In Centre North region, security forces 15 Dec killed two suspected jihadists in Silmangue village, Namentenga province. Clashes between volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs) and suspected jihadists 19 Dec reportedly left several jihadists dead and one VDP injured near Dablo town, Sanmatenga province. Situation remained fragile in East region: suspected al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) combatants 1 Dec kidnapped municipal councillor in Boula village, Gagna province. Policeman 9 Dec also shot dead farmer at checkpoint near Tanghin-Dassouri city in Centre region’s Kadiogo province; in response, protesters same day took to streets in Tanghin-Dassouri, briefly occupying unmanned police station and blocking road. Meanwhile, independent body National Human Rights Commission 7 Dec reported 647 incidents around 22 Nov general elections, which impeded human rights including freedom of movement, free speech and access to education. Constitutional Council 18 Dec confirmed re-election of President Kaboré, who was sworn in 28 Dec; Kaboré 30 Dec dissolved govt.
President Kaboré won re-election, and jihadists launched deadly attack on army in north. Presidential and legislative elections held 22 Nov without major security incidents. Opposition parties next day however said electoral process was “riddled with fraud” and threatened “not to accept results”. Electoral commission 26 Nov announced preliminary presidential election results, giving incumbent President Kaboré first-round victory with 57.87% of vote. Prominent opposition candidate Zéphirin Diabré 27 Nov acknowledged Kaboré’s win. Electoral commission overnight 28-29 Nov announced legislative elections results, giving ruling party 56 of 127 seats. Earlier in month, Constitutional Council 1 Nov called off elections in 1,645 sectors or villages, disenfranchising 5.79% of electorate; body cited major risk of jihadist attacks and lack of public services in these areas. Electoral commission 10 Nov called on all candidates to adhere to security protocols, after dividing national territory into three sectors according to jihadist threat levels. Meanwhile, jihadist attacks persisted in northern regions, with Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) gaining ground in several areas. In Sahel region, suspected ISGS combatants 2 Nov stormed artisanal mining site near Madouji town, Soum province, killing eight; 8 Nov killed eight civilians in Diobbou village and legislative elections candidate’s chauffeur near Goudoubo locality, both Seno province. In deadliest attack on army since Aug 2019, jihadists 11 Nov killed 13 soldiers and one gendarme in ambush near Tin-Akoff, Oudalan province. In following days, both al-Qaeda and Islamic State claimed responsibility for attack, highlighting competition between groups’ local franchises. Security forces faced new accusations of abuses of civilians, notably in Oudalan province: soldiers and volunteer fighters 6 Nov raided Kouna and Deibanga towns, reportedly killing several ethnic Fulani; same day reportedly killed ten ethnic Tuareg in Tin-Samane area.
Suspected jihadists launched major attacks against civilians in northern regions, and preparations for Nov general elections made progress. In north, jihadist combatants killed scores in largest attacks against civilians since early 2020. In Centre-North region, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) 5 Oct kidnapped and killed 25 internally displaced persons near Pissila city, Sanmatenga province. In Sahel region, suspected ISWAP combatants 14 Oct killed between 20 and 40 civilians in two villages of Gorgadji commune, Seno province; next day ambushed civilians in Gorom-Gorom area, Oudalan province, killing two. Meanwhile, security forces 12 Oct reportedly killed nine civilians in Bangao village, also Oudalan province. Security improved in Sahel region’s Soum province, with no major incident reported in Oct; lull in violence follows opening of negotiations in Sept between govt and local branch of Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) there. In East region, suspected jihadists 2 Oct abducted Fulani individual suspected of being member of Koglweogo community defence group in Gourma province’s capital Fada N’Gourma. Overall, violence caused by civilian volunteers fighting jihadists alongside security forces decreased in north and east. In western Boucle du Mouhoun region, suspected jihadists 2 Oct attacked Kona village, Kossi province, killing three civilians. Intercommunal relations improved in Kossi after ethnic Fulani and Dogon communities from Barani and Kombori communes 8 Oct reached peace agreement; local sources reported defence and security forces arrested and killed ethnic Dogon individual involved in communal violence as precondition for peace set by Fulani authorities; exclusion from deal of some armed actors may hinder its implementation. Constitutional Council 22 Oct approved 13 candidacies ahead of presidential election set for 22 Nov, including those of incumbent President Kaboré and opposition leader Zephirin Diabré. Political parties, all 13 presidential candidates, NGOs and media outlets 26 Oct signed code of conduct, committing to “avoid inflammatory rhetoric” and “resolve electoral disputes through legal means”. Campaigning started 31 Oct. World Bank 7 Oct warned COVID-19 outbreak could cause 500,000 people in Burkina Faso to slide into extreme poverty by end of 2020, and a million more by end of 2021.
Jihadist insurgency and counter-insurgency operations continued to fuel intercommunal tensions across country, notably in east where jihadists gained ground. Army early Sept launched large-scale counter-insurgency operation in all three regions in north, but jihadists, mainly from Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM), continued to target military and volunteers fighting alongside security forces (VDPs). In Sahel region’s Soum province, suspected JNIM insurgents 11 Sept ambushed new elite regiment on Gaskindé-Djibo axis, killing four soldiers. Suspected JNIM insurgents next day attacked VDP unit in Boukouma area, wounding at least two VDPs. Local sources reported military 18 Sept killed about 40 civilians in operation in Tin Akoff area in Sahel region’s Oudalan province. In North region, JNIM 11 Sept attacked VDP unit near Tangaye commune, killing at least one and wounding many. In Centre North region, suspected jihadists 12 Sept stopped trucks coming from Kaya city, Sanmatenga province, in Tafogo, Namentenga province, and seized their shipment. Unidentified assailants 19 Sept ambushed military unit on Bourzanga-Namsiguia road, Bam province, death toll unknown. In East region, jihadist violence and counter-insurgency operations by VDPs continued to fuel tensions between Fulani and Mossi communities. VDPs 1 Sept reportedly abducted member of Fulani community on road between Fada (Gourma province) and Pama (Kompienga province). Suspected jihadists 17 Sept killed three VDPs in ambush on Fada-Nagré axis, Gourma province; in retaliation, VDPs same day killed three Fulanis in area. Jihadist groups also expanded in hitherto safe areas of East region. In Gnagna province, jihadists 15 Sept briefly kidnapped five NGO workers, and next day burned primary school in Bilanga area. Islamic State (ISIS) militants 15 Sept briefly occupied Tansarga town in Tapoa province, ransacking and burning several public buildings. Intercommunal and jihadist violence remained high in Boucle du Mouhoun region in west. In Barani commune, unidentified assailants 16 Sept killed two sons of Fulani Cheikh; suspected jihadists next day killed Dogon chief of Pellin 2 village, and day after killed at least one civilian in Pampakuy village. Ahead of presidential election scheduled for 22 Nov, several candidates late Sept submitted their candidacy, including President Kaboré 29 Sept.
Jihadist groups carried out several attacks mainly against civilians in east and north, in apparent strategic shift away from usual targeting of govt forces. Security situation remained precarious in East region, with several deadly attacks on civilians following late-July raids on schools in Tapoa province. Notably, in Gourma province, unidentified gunmen 1 Aug killed four and abducted two in Ougarou village, and 7 Aug stormed cattle market in Namoungou village, killing around 20 civilians; amid counter-insurgency operation in Namoungou area, army convoy 12 Aug detonated explosive device, four soldiers wounded. In north, explosive device 1 Aug killed six children and wounded four others in Bembela village, Yatenga province in North region; IED likely planted by Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) or Islamic State (ISIS) militants. Grand Imam of Djibo, Souaibou Cissé, was found dead 15 Aug after unidentified gunmen 11 Aug kidnapped him near Gaskindé town, Soum province in Sahel region. Unidentified assailants 22 Aug ambushed security forces convoy in Barsalogho area, Sanmatenga province in Centre-North region, killing at least three. In Boucle du Mouhoun region in west, unidentified assailants night of 11-12 Aug stormed camp hosting volunteers fighting alongside security forces in Barani commune, Kossi province, killing civilian. France 15 Aug designated area along southern border with Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire as “red zone”, highest level of security risk, which now covers entirety of country’s border areas. UN Humanitarian Agency (OCHA) 18 Aug said country now registers over 1mn displaced persons, fourfold increase in one year, and 2.9mn people need humanitarian assistance, twice as many as same period last year. Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme 21 Aug said more than 3.2mn people in Burkina Faso are facing acute food shortage due to conflict and COVID-19, 50% rise since March.
Amid slight decrease in jihadist violence in east and north, govt faced increasing international and domestic pressure to hold security forces accountable for alleged extrajudicial killings. In East region, Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants 4 July ambushed army convoy in Haaba area, Komondjari province, killing soldier and wounding five others; sophisticated IED attack 12 July targeted senior state official on Boudiéri-Kantchari axis in Tapoa province, with no casualties reported; suspected jihadists 20 July killed two soldiers in Tankoualou area, Komondjari province. In north, suspected JNIM combatants 6 July ambushed convoy escorting mayor of Pensa, Bam province in Centre-North region, killing him and wounding two volunteers fighting alongside security forces; later same day ambushed joint security forces convoy deployed to site, leaving six soldiers and three volunteers dead. Infighting between jihadist groups continued notably in northern Sahel region. Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) early July reportedly killed several civilians accused of being close to JNIM in Oudalan province. Three deadly ISWAP-JNIM clashes reported in same area during first three weeks of July. Meanwhile, security forces faced new allegations of extrajudicial killings. In East region, army 2 July reportedly killed six civilians at Tatiangou market, Tapoa province, and soldier was arrested next day after security forces late June reportedly extrajudicially killed seven members of Fulani community on outskirts of Tanwalbougou commune, Gourma province. In report published 8 July, NGO Human Rights Watch accused security forces of involvement in extrajudicial killings Nov 2019 to June 2020 of 180 “mostly ethnic Fulani” civilians, whose bodies were found in mass graves around Djibo town, Soum province in Sahel region; govt 10 July questioned findings, suggesting jihadists wearing stolen army uniforms may have staged attacks to incriminate armed forces. Ruling party Movement for People and Progress 11 July endorsed President Kaboré as candidate for presidential election scheduled for Nov. Other parties followed suit: head of Union for Progress and Change Zéphirin Diabré nominated 25 July, and head of former ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress Eddie Komboïgo next day.
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.
Amid continued jihadist attacks in north and east, fighting between competing jihadist groups persisted along border with Mali and security forces faced new accusations of exactions against civilians. In Sahel region in north, militants from jihadist Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) clashed in Soum and Oudalan provinces early month, reportedly forcing three ISWAP groups to flee region toward east; further clashes between militants 16 May in Soum province reportedly left several middle-ranking ISWAP officers killed. Meanwhile, clashes between militants and security forces continued in Sahel region: suspected ISWAP militants 11 May killed eight soldiers near Kankanfogouol artisanal mining site in Yagha province, army reportedly killed twenty militants in ensuing clashes. UN refugee agency 4 May accused security forces of injuring 32 Malian refugees suspected of complicity with jihadists in Mentao camp, Soum province 2 May. Violence also persisted in North, Centre-North and East regions, exacting heavy toll on civilians. In North region’s Loroum province, suspected JNIM explosive devices 14 and 18 May killed at least one soldier and seven local volunteers fighting alongside security forces in Banh district; suspected jihadists 29 May killed at least fifteen civilians in attack on Titao-Sollé axis. In Centre-North region, civilian volunteers fighting alongside security forces 3 May reportedly killed nine civilians in Bam province. Suspected jihadists 30 May attacked humanitarian convoy on Foubé-Barsalogho axis, killing at least ten including five civilians. In East region, suspected jihadists same day attacked Kompiembiga livestock market, killing 25 civilians. Civil society accused security forces of summary executions after twelve individuals arrested 11 May near town of Fada N’Gourma, also East region, died in custody. Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire 11 May launched first joint military operation in border area, reportedly killing eight suspected jihadists and arresting 38 on both sides of border by 24 May.
Amid continued jihadist violence in north and east, fighting flared between competing jihadist groups and security forces faced allegations of extrajudicial killings. Jihadist attacks in north continued to spread southward in border areas between Sahel, North, and Centre-North regions, and westward in Boucle du Mouhoun region. Suspected jihadists 1 April attacked Toéni military base, Sourou province in Boucle du Mouhoun region, reportedly killing soldier; fifteen jihadists also killed. Also in Toéni area, military vehicle 3 April detonated explosive device, three soldiers killed. Suspected militants of jihadist Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 9-10 April killed at least nineteen soldiers in Solle area, Loroum province in North region. In East region, suspected jihadists 4 April killed police officer near Kantchari, Tapoa province, 20 April abducted another in southern Kompienga province near Benin. Security forces continued counter-insurgency operations, reportedly killing at least 36 suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants in Sahel region in April. Violence flared mid-April between Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and JNIM after latter called on its militants to fend off ISWAP; clashes between militants 14, 16, 20 and 30 April in Soum province, Sahel region reportedly left at least 100 dead. Security forces faced allegations of summary executions of civilians. NGO Human Rights Watch 20 April said security forces 9 April allegedly killed 31 ethnic Fulani civilians during counter-insurgency operation near Djibo town, Sahel region; govt same day announced investigation. Govt 2 April said it would unblock $650mn to mitigate social, economic, and health impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid ongoing jihadist violence in north, security forces, Koglweogo community defence groups and volunteers stepped up attacks against civilians, especially targeting ethnic Fulani, whom they accuse of supporting jihadists, killing over 100; and jihadist attacks against security forces and civilians continued to spread southward. In north, suspected Koglweogo 2 March killed nineteen Fulani civilians in Cisse village, Soum province. Security forces 6 March reportedly killed 32 civilians in Mansila area, Yagha province. Suspected Koglweogo 8 March killed 43 Fulani in Dinguila and Barga villages, Yatenga province. Suspected soldiers 9 March killed ten Fulani civilians in Gountouwa-Oola village, Oudalan province. Jihadist attacks persisted in Sahel, North and Centre-North regions. In Sahel region in north, suspected Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) militants 1 March killed seven Tuareg civilians in Beiga village, Oudalan province; suspected Jihadist Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) roadside bombing 8 March also killed two civilians between Petalkoulerou and Baraboulé towns, Soum province. In North region, suspected explosive device from JNIM 3 March killed four soldiers between Banh and Koumbri villages, Loroum province; and suspected jihadists 18 March killed four civilian volunteers supporting security forces in Robolo village. In Centre-North region, civilian volunteers fighting alongside security forces 6 March repelled suspected ISWAP attack on Namssiguia village, Bam province, killing three; suspected jihadists 14 March attacked Namisguima military camp, Sanmatenga province, killing soldier, one militant also killed; unidentified assailants 28 March killed sixteen civilians in Moméné village, Bam province. France 5 March authorised extradition of François Compaoré, brother of former President Blaise Compaoré; François was arrested in Paris in 2017 after Burkinabè authorities issued international arrest warrant on charges of involvement in 1998 murder of journalist Norbert Zongo. In response to COVID-19, govt 20 March closed borders and imposed curfew.
Jihadist and intercommunal violence continued in north. In Sahel region in north, suspected Islamic State-affiliated militants night of 1-2 Feb killed eighteen civilians in Lamdamaol town, Seno province; suspected jihadists 6 Feb attacked Barakana village, Soum province, reportedly killing ten civilian volunteers fighting alongside security forces, and volunteers next day attacked neighbouring Gargaboulé town, reportedly killing 22 suspected jihadists; suspected jihadists 18 Feb killed three soldiers in attack on military detachment in Kelbo town, Soum province; suspected jihadists 18 Feb killed 24 in attack on protestant church in Pansi village, Yagha province; unidentified gunmen 29 Feb attacked police station in Sebba town, Yagha province, ten policemen reportedly killed; unidentified gunmen 26 Feb killed gendarme in Tin Akoff village, Oudalan province. In Centre-North region, unidentified gunmen 24 Feb ambushed and killed three police officers and one civilian in Sanmatenga province. In Boucle du Mouhoun region, Dozo militiamen 6 Feb killed twenty Fulani civilians in Madiama area, Kossi province; apparently in retaliation, suspected jihadists next day attacked nearby village of Siewali, killing ten Dozo. African Union 27 Feb announced temporary deployment of 3,000-strong force to combat jihadist groups in Sahel. UN refugee agency 21 Feb said violence was displacing 4,000 people daily throughout country and over 765,000 already displaced, a sevenfold increase relative to same time last year. Govt 5 Feb set date of 22 Nov for presidential and legislative elections, said municipal elections would follow in 2021. Electoral commission 10 Feb launched 10-day voter registration process.
Suspected jihadists stepped up attacks especially against local population in north, leaving over a hundred civilians dead, and continued their attacks in east and south west, while govt moved forward with plan to recruit civilian volunteers to counter jihadist threat. In north near border with Mali, suspected jihadists increasingly targeted civilians: twelve killed in Gasseliki 10 Jan and at least 39 killed in Silgadji 25 Jan, both Soum province, Sahel region; ten killed in Solle, Loroum province in North region 11 Jan; 36 killed in two villages in Sanmatenga province, Centre-North region 20 Jan; explosive device killed fourteen civilians on Toeni-Tougan road, Sourou province in Boucle du Mouhoun region 4 Jan; possibly in retaliation, security forces 6 Jan killed nine suspected Katiba Macina militants, arrested cell leader in Kolerou area in neighbouring Kossi province. In Soum province, security forces 3 Jan repelled attack on gendarmerie in Inata, killing at least ten assailants; explosive device killed five soldiers in Gorguel 17 Jan. Islamic State’s local affiliate 9 Jan claimed past attacks in northern areas where its presence was unconfirmed, including Sanmatenga and Kossi. In East region, suspected jihadists continued attacks, despite lull in clashes with Koglweogo community defence group: civilian killed in Kankandi, Tapoa province 10 Jan; explosive device 28 Jan killed six soldiers on Madjoari-Pama road, Kompienga province. In south west near border with Côte d’Ivoire, suspected members of jihadist Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 5 Jan set Ouo gendarmerie on fire in Comoé province, Cascades region; security forces 14 Jan arrested four suspected Katiba Macina militants in Galgouli, Poni province, South-West region. National Assembly 21 Jan passed law enabling security forces to rely on civilian volunteers to fight armed groups. G5 Sahel heads of state including President Kaboré met with French President Macron in Pau, France 13 Jan, agreed to step up military cooperation with France to counter jihadist threat in Sahel.
Suspected jihadist attacks and intercommunal violence surged in east and north. In East region, suspected jihadists late Nov-early Dec killed at least 30 people in string of attacks reportedly in retaliation for late Nov attacks by Koglweogo community defence group that killed twenty Fulani in Gourma province: suspected jihadists 1 Dec killed five Koglweogo in Nagare, Gnagna province and fourteen Protestant worshippers in Hantoukoura church in Komonjdjari province. Security forces 11 Dec killed fifteen suspected jihadists in Pama, Kompienga province. Unidentified assailants 14 Dec killed seven civilians including five Koglweogo in Kantari, Tapoa province. In north, jihadist attacks targeted security forces and civilians. Suspected members of jihadist Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 3 Dec attacked military positions, killing three soldiers in Toeni, Boucle du Mouhoun region, and wounding four in Banh, North region; army said it killed twenty assailants. In retaliation, army killed 28 suspected militants in three airstrikes in Yatenga province, North region 4 Dec. Suspected jihadists 24 Dec attacked Arbinda town, Soum province in northern Sahel region, killing 35 civilians and seven military; security forces reportedly also killed 80 assailants. Suspected jihadists 26 Dec ambushed military patrol in Hallele, 60km from Arbinda, killing eleven soldiers. Parliament 5 Dec approved 16% increase in defence spending in 2020. Relations with France grew strained after latter 18 Nov raised its assessment of insecurity in country and French President Macron early Dec invited G5 Sahel leaders to Pau in south west France “to clarify their expectations of France” amid growing anti-French sentiment in region.