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Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Unchanged Situation

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.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

8 Jan 2020
Burkina is a gateway to coastal West Africa and there is a real concern that jihadist groups may see it as a launching pad to gain other footholds in the coastal region. Financial Times

Comfort Ero

Program Director, Africa
6 Mar 2018
In Burkina Faso, the intelligence system did not rest on an institution but on the shoulders of one man, General Gilbert Diendere. We know that some of the 566 soldiers have joined jihadist groups. AFP

Rinaldo Depagne

Senior Adviser Africa & Project Director West Africa
20 Jun 2017
There is a strong sense [in Burkina Faso] that the state has never really done much for the north. [...] Strengthening its military presence isn’t enough – they need to establish trust. Bloomberg

Cynthia Ohayon

Former Analyst, West Africa
3 May 2017
The new rulers [in Burkina Faso] want to use justice when it serves them but they don't want to sink their own ship. Reuters

Cynthia Ohayon

Former Analyst, West Africa
27 Apr 2017
Justice is important for the Burkinabe, and the lack of justice and impunity is one of the reasons people rose against [Burkina Faso's President] Compaore. World Politics Review

Cynthia Ohayon

Former Analyst, West Africa

Latest Updates

Briefing / Africa

L’Afrique de l’Ouest face au risque de contagion jihadiste

Face à la percée jihadiste au Burkina Faso, porte ouverte sur les pays du Golfe de Guinée, ceux-ci craignent des attaques sur leurs territoires. Les Etats de la région devraient améliorer le partage du renseignement, renforcer les contrôles aux frontières et renouer un lien de confiance avec la population.

Also available in English
Report / Africa

Reprendre en main la ruée vers l’or au Sahel central

Au Mali, au Burkina Faso et au Niger, le boom aurifère représente une nouvelle source de financement, voire un terrain de recrutement pour divers groupes armés, y compris jihadistes. Les Etats sahéliens devraient rétablir leur présence aux abords des mines d’or et mieux formaliser l’exploitation aurifère artisanale.

Also available in English
Commentary / Africa

Tackling Burkina Faso’s Insurgencies and Unrest

Burkina Faso is suffering mounting insurgent attacks and social unrest. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2019 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU to support the return of some Burkinabé troops from Mali and to fund social programs that could ease discontent.

Also available in Français
Commentary / Africa

Burkina Faso’s Alarming Escalation of Jihadist Violence

Attacks on the Burkina Faso army headquarters and the French Embassy on 2 March 2018 were better organised, involved heavier weapons and were more sustained than anything seen so far in Burkina Faso. In this Q&A, our West Africa Project Director Rinaldo Depagne says the jihadist assault further exposes worrying weakness in the Burkinabé security forces.

Also available in Français
Commentary / Africa

The Sahel: Promoting Political alongside Military Action

Rural insurgencies across the Sahel are destabilising the region and undermining local security and governance. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to continue support for the Alliance for the Sahel and promote local dialogue to buttress law and order.