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Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Unchanged Situation

Amid slight decrease in jihadist violence in east and north, govt faced increasing international and domestic pressure to hold security forces accountable for alleged extrajudicial killings. In East region, Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants 4 July ambushed army convoy in Haaba area, Komondjari province, killing soldier and wounding five others; sophisticated IED attack 12 July targeted senior state official on Boudiéri-Kantchari axis in Tapoa province, with no casualties reported; suspected jihadists 20 July killed two soldiers in Tankoualou area, Komondjari province. In north, suspected JNIM combatants 6 July ambushed convoy escorting mayor of Pensa, Bam province in Centre-North region, killing him and wounding two volunteers fighting alongside security forces; later same day ambushed joint security forces convoy deployed to site, leaving six soldiers and three volunteers dead. Infighting between jihadist groups continued notably in northern Sahel region. Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) early July reportedly killed several civilians accused of being close to JNIM in Oudalan province. Three deadly ISWAP-JNIM clashes reported in same area during first three weeks of July. Meanwhile, security forces faced new allegations of extrajudicial killings. In East region, army 2 July reportedly killed six civilians at Tatiangou market, Tapoa province, and soldier was arrested next day after security forces late June reportedly extrajudicially killed seven members of Fulani community on outskirts of Tanwalbougou commune, Gourma province. In report published 8 July, NGO Human Rights Watch accused security forces of involvement in extrajudicial killings Nov 2019 to June 2020 of 180 “mostly ethnic Fulani” civilians, whose bodies were found in mass graves around Djibo town, Soum province in Sahel region; govt 10 July questioned findings, suggesting jihadists wearing stolen army uniforms may have staged attacks to incriminate armed forces. Ruling party Movement for People and Progress 11 July endorsed President Kaboré as candidate for presidential election scheduled for Nov. Other parties followed suit: head of Union for Progress and Change Zéphirin Diabré nominated 25 July, and head of former ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress Eddie Komboïgo next day.

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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.