Burkina Faso

Read this month’s CrisisWatch Conflict in Focus entry on Burkina Faso here.

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Deteriorated Situation

Conflict Risk Alert

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.

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In The News

30 Sep 2022
Tensions within the army [in Burkina Faso] have exacerbated over the past months because President Damiba has not been able to restore security in the country. Financial Times
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Mathieu Pellerin

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel

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