Tracking Conflict Worldwide

CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, an early warning tool designed to help prevent deadly violence. It keeps decision-makers up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises every month, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace. In addition, CrisisWatch monitors over 50 situations (“standby monitoring”) to offer timely information if developments indicate a drift toward violence or instability. Entries dating back to 2003 provide easily searchable conflict histories.



Burkina Faso

Jihadists launched one of deadliest attacks on military to date, amid reports of mutiny attempt within army, raising significant stability concerns.

Major assault shook military as security situation remained perilous. In what could amount to deadliest attack on army since country began anti-jihadist operations in 2015, al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 11 June raided military base in Mansila town, Sahel region, near Niger border; JNIM claimed to have killed 107 soldiers, while local sources reported over 100 dead and others taken hostage. Attack reportedly fuelled divisions within military, leading to speculation of threats to regime’s grip on power (see below). Security forces and militants conducted other deadly attacks during month, with high toll on civilians. Notably, JNIM 6 June raided Dasse village, Boucle du Mouhoun region, reportedly killing 63; group next day killed around 30 civilians and military auxiliaries (VDPs) in Kossodougou village, East region. In North region, soldiers 11 June allegedly killed around 24 civilians in Ouahigouya area, Yatenga province.

Rumours of mutiny attempt surfaced. Artillery fire 12 June hit state television headquarters near presidential residence in capital Ouagadougou, injuring two; military authorities stated incident was mistaken launch by soldier. Media reports, however, alleged previous day’s Mansila attack had provoked mutiny in army, which President Capt. Traoré 20 June denied on state television. Govt also refuted news outlet Radio France Internationale’s claims that dozens of Malian soldiers and Russian Africa Corps (formerly Wagner Group) paramilitaries 18 June arrived in Ouagadougou. 

Govt continued to limit international press. French network TV5Monde 18 June aired interview with Newton Ahmed Barry, journalist and former electoral commission president, where he openly criticised regime’s inability to combat jihadism since taking power in Sept 2022. Govt same day announced six-month suspension of TV5Monde for “intention to deceive public opinion”.

Diplomatic relations deepened with Russia, Sweden closed embassy. Russian FM Lavrov 4-5 June visited Ouagadougou, emphasised Moscow will continue to supply military equipment and training. Meanwhile, Sweden 20 June announced closure of embassies in both Ouagadougou and Malian capital Bamako and establishment of new embassy covering regional activity in Senegalese capital Dakar.


Burkina Faso

Extreme levels of violence caused hundreds of civilian casualties as insecurity raged; military authorities extended rule by five years.

Extreme levels of violence against civilians continued, leaving hundreds dead. Armed forces 3-9 May allegedly killed over 250 civilians across country; in Sahel region, troops reportedly killed 150 civilians in four villages between Dori and Mansila towns in Yagha province, while in East region, military allegedly killed at least 100 others between towns of Fada N’Gourma and Tankoualou, Komandjari province. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants reportedly attacked civilians across Centre-North, North, East, and Centre-East regions; notably, JNIM militants 2 May killed twenty civilians in Tagalla village, Sanmatenga province (Centre-North). JNIM also clashed against govt forces and civilian auxiliaries (VDPs); militants 5 May attacked security forces and VDPs in Tapoa-Barrage village, Tapoa province (North), leading to deaths of three JNIM militants, two soldiers and eighteen civilians. In Centre-North’s Namentenga province JNIM 9 May reportedly killed seven VDPs in Bonam village and same day killed six soldiers and 33 VDPs in Boko village. 

Govt delayed transition by five years. Ahead of 1 July supposed end of military rule and after 25 May national conference on state of transition, military authorities announced extension of their rule until 2029, dealing heavy blow to hopes of democratic transition; many civil society and political groups boycotted conference. Earlier, thousands of supporters of military govt 11 May gathered in capital Ouagadougou to endorse an extension of transition and acknowledge “positive results” of regime.

Amid tensions with Côte d’Ivoire, govt strengthened ties with Sahel neighbours. Foreign Ministers of Alliance of Sahel States (AES) 17 May convened in Nigerien capital Niamey to finalise alliance documents; AES 20 May began joint military exercises alongside Chadian and Togolese troops in western Niger. Tensions with Côte d’Ivoire remained high amid series of border incidents; after reported VDP incursions into Ivorian territory throughout May, Ivorian forces 16 May allegedly deployed for one day to Helintira town, Djigoué department, South-West region. 


Burkina Faso

Govt renewed mobilisation orders as new civil society group launched criticism of military authorities; civilians continued to suffer amid widespread violence. 

Govt extended mobilisation decree amid criticism from new civil society group. Concerns continued over authorities forcing opponents into security forces including civilian auxiliaries (VDPs) after govt 31 March announced year-long extension to “general mobilisation” protocols to combat terrorism. Although most civil groups remained hesitant or unable to criticise govt amid repression, new civil society movement Front pour la Défence de la République (FDR) 4 April called for dissolution of military junta, elections and civilian transition, and criticised military authorities’ failure to free territory from jihadists as promised; FDR reported to be comprised of former politicians, civil society leaders and security officers, many of whom have taken refuge in Côte d’Ivoire. 

Clashes with jihadists continued, with high toll on civilians. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants clashed with govt forces and VDPs throughout month with major fatalities recorded across East, Boucle de Mouhoun, South-West, Sahel, Centre-East, North and Centre-North regions. JNIM militants 17 April attacked military near Barsalogho town, Sanmatenga Province (Centre-North), killing at least nineteen and wounding at least ten soldiers. Civilians continued to suffer; notably, JNIM militants 23 April launched attack on Séguénéma town (North) that killed 30 civilians; govt forces next day allegedly killed two civilians from same town. Islamic State Sahel Province militants also accused of launching attacks on civilians including 2 April assault on Woulmassoutou and Sakatemba villages in Seno province (Sahel), killing around twenty.

Govt expelled French diplomats, suspended broadcast of critical foreign channels. Foreign Affairs Minister 16 April expelled three French diplomats, including two political officers, for alleged “subversive activities”. After rights group Human Rights Watch 25 April released report alleging military “summarily executed” at least 223 civilians in two villages in Yatenga province (North) in Feb, govt in following days suspended various international media outlets including BBC and Voice of America for their coverage of report; U.S. and UK 29 April issued joint statement calling for investigation into allegations and reversal of media suspensions.


Burkina Faso

Jihadist-related attacks and counter-insurgency operations continued to exact high toll on civilians; govt used forced enrolment to silence opponents and signed security agreement with Mali and Niger. 

High-level violence persisted, with at least 100 civilians reported killed in one day. Following late Feb surge of violence that saw hundreds of civilians killed by jihadist fighters and reportedly state security forces, further conflict reported: special police and al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants 8 March clashed in Piela commune, Gnagna province (East region), resulting in four insurgent deaths, while same day drone strikes killed around ten Islamic State Sahel Province militants near Touka-Bayel village, Seno province (Sahel region). Next day, JNIM attacked Tessoague village, Koulpelogo province (Centre-East region), killing at least 27 including two civilian auxiliaries (VDPs). JNIM militants 26 March attacked govt forces in Sanaba town (Boucle du Mouhoun region), leading to deaths of at least eleven soldiers and twenty insurgents. Meanwhile, reports emerged that suspected soldiers 16 March allegedly killed at least 100 civilians in several villages in Kompienga province (East region) during apparent attempt to relieve area from JNIM blockades in place since 2022; observers suggested attacks may have been retaliation for locals’ alleged support to militants and Feb series of jihadist killings.

Govt continued repressive measures against civil society. Concerns grew over authorities forcing opponents to join VDPs following late Feb abduction of Rasmane Zinaba and Bassirou Badjo, activists and members of Balai Citoyen civil group, amid suspicions govt obliged them to enrol with civilian auxiliaries; UN 5 March condemned continued “enforced disappearances” and “forced mobilisation.” Govt 7 March released former FM Ouédraogo, who reported military keepers had told him to spread word about consequences of criticising military authorities; next day Daouda Diallo, another civil society actor forced into VDP enrolment in Dec 2023, also released. 

Security agreement announced with Mali and Niger. Alliance of Sahel States 6 March announced creation of joint counterterrorism force to combat regional jihadist insurgency and address shared security needs.


Burkina Faso

Violence reached levels unseen since jihadist insurgency started in 2015, with hundreds killed in one day as militants launched nine simultaneous attacks and govt forces and allies reportedly conducted large-scale massacres.

Violence reached levels unseen since 2015, leaving hundreds dead. Jihadist militants from al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) and Islamic State Sahel Province 25 Feb launched nine attacks across country, notably targeting places of worship. Raid on mosque in Natiaboani town, Gourma province (East region), left up to 100 dead, including civilians, soldiers and civilian auxiliaries (VDPs), and attack on catholic church in Essakane village, Oudalan province (Sahel region) killed at least fifteen people. Jihadist militants same day also targeted military, notably killing 51 soldiers in Tankoualou area, Komandjari province (East region). Suspected army and VDPs also 25 Feb allegedly attacked three villages in Yatenga province (North region), with provisional toll of around 170 people killed. Reports of attacks on two villages in Gayéri area of Komandjari province (East) late Feb also emerged, with unconfirmed death toll of 150.

Silencing of dissent continued. National council of lawyers 15 Feb led countrywide strike to demand release of lawyer and civil society activist Guy-Hervé Kam, who was arrested in Jan on undisclosed charges. Rights defender Daouda Diallo, former FM Ablassé Ouédraogo and civil society leader Issiaka Ouédraogo 18 Feb appeared in videos circulated on Internet in combat gear, confirming they have been forcibly enrolled as VDPs since their arrest in late 2023.

ECOWAS urged govt to reconsider decision to leave group. After Burkina Faso alongside Mali and Niger late Jan announced withdrawal from Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), regional bloc 8 Feb called on trio to “prioritise dialogue and reconciliation”, and ECOWAS chairman, Nigerian President Tinubu, 24 Feb urged departing countries to “reconsider the decision”. Tinubu’s comments were made at extraordinary summit of ECOWAS heads of state, during which bloc lifted most sanctions imposed on Niger in 2023 (see Niger). Conciliatory approach has yet to bear fruit, however. Notably, Ouagadougou, Bamako and Niamey 15 Feb discussed framework to create three-state federation at Alliance of Sahel States ministerial summit, said decision to leave ECOWAS was irreversible.


Burkina Faso

Ouagadougou announced withdrawal from West African regional bloc alongside Mali and Niger, dealing blow to regional integration; authorities claimed foiling coup attempt and Russian troop deployment continued.

Junta announced leaving ECOWAS, defying pressure to restore constitutional rule. Junta leaders of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger 28 Jan announced leaving ECOWAS, denouncing “inhumane” sanctions imposed by regional bloc following coups. ECOWAS immediately said three countries were “important members of the Community” and bloc “remains committed to finding a negotiated solution to the political impasse”; also said it had not yet received formal withdrawal notification.

Deployment of Russian troops accelerated. Contingent of about 100 Russian military personnel 24 Jan reportedly arrived in capital Ouagadougou in what appeared to be initial phase of 300-member force deployment.

Authorities continued to silence dissent amid report of coup plot. Authorities 18 Jan announced foiling coup attempt scheduled to take place 14 Jan, accused network of military officers, as well civilians and activists, of conspiring to destabilise institutions. Meanwhile, silencing of dissent continued. Notably, men in civilian clothes 24 Jan arrested lawyer and political activist Guy-Hervé Kam in capital Ouagadougou on undisclosed charges; his political movement accused transitional authorities of orchestrating “kidnapping”.

Govt forces and civilian auxiliaries continued to clash with jihadist militants. In Centre-North region, al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants 3 Jan attacked military base in Gabou town, Sanmatenga province, killing seventeen members of state-sponsored civilian militia (VDPs). In Sahel region, army 21 Jan reportedly killed prominent leader of Islamic State Sahel Province, Harouna Oulel, near Oueldi village, Oudalan province. NGO Human Rights Watch 25 Jan accused security forces of killing at least 60 civilians in drone strikes between Aug and Nov 2023, said attacks may amount to war crimes. Transitional President Capt. Traoré 5 and 10 Jan shared details about previously announced tax hikes on salaries and govt bonuses and benefit increases for VDPs; new taxes illustrate Ouagadougou’s financial difficulties, while prospect of better conditions for VDPs may backfire if authorities fail to fulfil promises.


Burkina Faso

Civilians remained caught in crossfire between jihadists and govt forces, and Ouagadougou continued to draw closer to other military govts in Sahel region.

Levels of violence remained elevated, with heavy toll on civilians. Gunmen wearing military uniform 8 Dec allegedly killed over 30 civilians in Dongounani village, Hauts-Bassins region; local sources blamed attack on members of armed forces or army auxiliaries (VDPs). Suspected jihadist militants 14 Dec reportedly killed dozens of people in Balavé commune, Boucle du Mouhoun region. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 24 Dec attacked gendarmerie post in Gorgadji town, Sahel region; security forces claimed repelling attack with a dozen assailants killed. Unidentified jihadist militants 30 Dec attacked Nouna military base (Boucle du Mouhoun), killing unknown number of soldiers and civilians.

Ouagadougou pulled out of G5 Sahel, announced Sahelian confederation. Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger 1 Dec announced intention to form three-state confederation and to establish stabilisation fund, investment bank and eventually common currency. Burkina Faso and Niger 2 Dec announced withdrawal from regional anti-jihadist alliance G5 Sahel, following in Mali’s footsteps; two remaining members Mauritania and Chad 6 Dec acknowledged departure of three founding members, which paves the way for alliance’s dissolution. Meanwhile, West African regional bloc ECOWAS 10 Dec lifted travel restrictions on key transition officials.

Silencing of dissent continued. Unidentified individuals 1 Dec abducted rights defender Daouda Diallo, who was targeted in Nov by govt’s conscription order forcing dozen people into army including journalists, civil society activists and opposition party members; administrative tribunal of Ouagadougou 6 Dec deemed conscription order illegal. Authorities 2 Dec suspended all distribution methods of French newspaper Le Monde, citing “biased article” about large-scale jihadist attack on Djibo town (Sahel region) in late Nov. Unidentified individuals 24 Dec abducted another critic of transitional authorities, former FM Ablassé Ouédraogo.

In other important developments. Relations with France continued to worsen as authorities 1 Dec arrested four French citizens in capital Ouagadougou on suspicion of espionage, saying they were intelligence agents; France denied accusations. Transitional President Capt. Traoré 17 Dec reshuffled cabinet, notably replacing education and mine ministers. Russia 28 Dec reopened embassy in Ouagadougou after 31-year gap.


Burkina Faso

Amid widespread fighting between jihadists and govt forces, deadly attacks targeted civilians, leaving over 100 killed; Russian soldiers reportedly took charge of presidential protection.

Civilians remained at forefront of hostilities between govt and jihadist groups. In Centre-Nord region, unidentified gunmen around 5 Nov killed at least 70 and up to 100 people, mostly civilians, in Zaongo village (Namentenga province). EU 12 Nov and UN 15 Nov condemned massacre and urged Ouagadougou to open investigation and bring perpetrators to justice, and authorities 13 Nov announced investigation. Meanwhile, fierce fighting continued between jihadists and govt forces and allies. In Sahel region, al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 26 Nov launched complex, simultaneous attacks on army base, army auxiliary positions and camps for internally displaced persons in and around Djibo town (Soum province); UN Human Rights Office 28 Nov said fighting left at least 40 civilians dead, while military claimed killing up to 400 assailants before repelling them. In East region, govt forces and VDPs 2, 6 Nov killed around 30 presumed JNIM militants in Yamba town (Gourma province) and Tipoli village (Gnagna province).

Forced conscription of civil society activists sparked outrage. Military govt 2 Nov issued order to conscript into army a dozen people, including journalists, civil society activists and opposition party members. Several local civil society organisations denounced move and rights group Human Rights Watch 8 Nov accused junta of using emergency law to punish critics and silence dissent. Administrative court 20 Nov rejected petition filed by three conscripts and confirmed conscription order.

Media reported Russia deployed small military contingent. French-language magazine Jeune Afrique and newspaper Le Monde reported Russian plane with about 20 Russian soldiers on board 10 Nov landed in capital Ouagadougou; soldiers were reportedly deployed to support army’s efforts against jihadist groups, but also to protect transitional President Capt. Traoré, pointing to fragility of his rule as military remains divided.

In another important development. As Malian forces early to mid-Nov launched offensive and eventually captured Kidal town (see Mali), Ouagadougou reportedly provided material support as part of close security cooperation between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.


Burkina Faso

Junta purged disloyal elements within armed forces following alleged coup attempt in September, while violence remained widespread across country.

Authorities dismissed head of gendarmerie. After govt late Sept claimed to have foiled coup attempt, with several senior officials of national gendarmerie and army’s special forces among alleged plotters, interim President Capt. Traoré 4 Oct replaced gendarmerie chief of staff; defence minister same day suspended eight officers and three non-commissioned officers. Media outlets including Paris-based Jeune Afrique early Oct reported that Traoré boosted his personal security, including by stationing armoured vehicles around his office in capital Ouagadougou.

Govt continued to tighten control of civic space. Council of ministers 4 Oct adopted draft bill which would, among other measures, give head of state authority to appoint president of High Council of Communication. Association of Journalists of Burkina Faso next day dismissed bill as “total negation of press freedom”. President of transitional legislature, Ousmane Bougouma, 9 Oct submitted report on politico-institutional reforms to govt, notably calling for elections to be administered by Ministry of Territorial Administration instead of independent commission. General Confederation of Workers of Burkina Faso, most influential trade union in country, 18 Oct accused govt of taking “liberticidal” measures, including forced recruitment of civilians into govt-aligned vigilante groups and closure of media outlets.

Jihadist violence remained elevated across country. In East region, al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 11 Oct ambushed special police unit in Yamba town, Gourma province, killing 27 officers, with retaliatory govt airstrikes allegedly killing around 30 militants. In North region, presumed JNIM militants 2 Oct killed around ten civilians in Pogoro-Silmimossi village, Yatenga province, and next day killed unknown number of army auxiliaries (VDPs) and lost ten of their own fighters in attack on Tibou village, Loroum province. In Boucle du Mouhoun region, special police units and VDPs 3 Oct allegedly killed between ten and 40 presumed JNIM militants in Ouarinogo village, Sourou province, while presumed JNIM fighters 6 Oct killed 12 students in besieged town of Nouna, Kossi province.


Burkina Faso

Jihadists escalated attacks on military after a months-long lull, leaving over 50 security forces dead, and transitional authorities announced foiling coup attempt.

Jihadist attacks inflicted heavy losses on govt forces and auxiliaries. After taking over two military bases in East region in late August, presumed al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) combatants 4 Sept killed at least 17 soldiers and 36 civilian auxiliaries in attack on military position in Koumbri town, Yatenga province (North region). In response, govt launched series of airstrikes, with at least 30 JNIM fighters killed 11-14 Sept in Sahel, Centre-East and Centre-North regions. Civilians remained caught between jihadists on one side and state forces on the other. Suspected JNIM fighters 7 and 12 Sept killed eight civilians in Ouaboadi village and near Namagdou town, both Gnagna province (East region). Suspected Islamic State Sahel Province 12 Sept killed eight people in Wendou camp for displaced persons in Seno province (Sahel region).

Transitional authorities announced thwarting coup attempt. Military prosecutor 8 Sept announced arrest of three low-ranking officers, accusing them of plotting to “destabilize the conduct of the transition”. Transitional president, Capt. Traoré, 13 Sept appointed new heads of security services including at National Intelligence Agency, indicating concern about vulnerability to counter-coup. Thousands 26 Sept demonstrated in support of military rulers in capital Ouagadougou as new rumours of mutiny circulated on social media. Transitional authorities next day announced thwarting coup attempt by group of military officers and others, saying plotters planned to seize power and plunge country into “chaos”, and later arrested at least four military officers for alleged involvement.

Ouagadougou cultivated ties with military govts in Niamey and Bamako. As West African regional bloc ECOWAS continued to threaten use of force in Niger to restore constitutional order, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger 16 Sept signed charter creating Alliance of Sahel States in bid to establish framework for collective defence and mutual assistance. Transitional legislature 19 Sept approved govt’s proposal to deploy soldiers to Niger to defend against possible military intervention by ECOWAS. Meanwhile, Ouagadougou 14 Sept expelled French defence attaché, accusing him of “subversive activities”, and same day closed military mission in Paris.

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