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Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Unchanged Situation

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.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

1 Apr 2021
Putting a bounty on militant leaders’ heads, these types of policy moves, make negotiations and outreach [in Burkina Faso] quite a bit harder. Foreign Policy

Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel
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

Interim Vice President & 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

Deputy Program Director, 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

Report / Africa

Burkina Faso : sortir de la spirale des violences

La prolifération des groupes armés et l'implantation rapide des jihadistes a conduit, en 2019, à une intensification de la violence au Burkina Faso. Le gouvernement devrait adopter une approche intégrée de la sécurité et mettre fin aux crises du monde rural en résolvant notamment la question foncière.

Also available in English
Commentary / Africa

Burkina Faso: Safeguarding Elections amid Crisis

As Burkina Faso’s rural conflict rages, the country is also beset by urban unrest. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2020 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to lend support to election preparations and encourage the government to devote energy to the crisis in the countryside.

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.

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