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Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Deteriorated Situation

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.

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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
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.

Impact Note / Africa

Burkina Faso : présenter les conclusions d’un rapport aux protagonistes

Un rapport de Crisis Group est le fruit de plusieurs mois de travail de terrain, de rédaction et de débats. En outre, comme le montre ce reportage photo, le moment où l'analyste présente cette nouvelle publication à ses lecteurs est également le point de départ d'un nouveau cycle de recherche.

Also available in English