CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, an early warning tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace. Entries dating back to 2003 provide easily searchable conflict histories.
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.
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